Merino wool and cashmere are popular fabrics for winter clothing such as sweaters, scarves and socks because of their soft texture and warmth. While both are highly prized and sought-after, there are a few differences between the two fabrics.
Merino wool comes from a breed of sheep called the Merino, which are widely considered to have the finest, softest wool of any breed of sheep. Of the three different strains, the Delaine has the smoothest wool.
While several breeds of goats produce cashmere fibres, Cashmere (or Kashmir) goats produce the most cashmere fibre. Unlike wool, which is sheared, cashmere fibres are brushed or combed. Cashmere is generally regarded as being softer and warmer (per ounce) than wool.
Merino Wool Care
Merino wool is more durable than cashmere, and is usually less expensive. A Merino wool sweater can be spot-cleaned or hand-washed in warm or cold water, depending on the soap being used. There are special soaps available for cleaning Merino wool.
A cashmere sweater or scarf can be hand-washed, but spot cleaning is usually not recommended because rubbing at the fibres to remove a stain changes the texture of the fabric.