How to clean and take care of your alpaca garments
If you are here, you already know all the benefits of Alpaca Clothing and how it tends to outperform other fibers like wool and synthetics. Alpaca fleece has been around for centuries, even the ancient Incas recognized the Alpaca’s unique qualities and reserved the “fiber of the gods” for use by only the wealthy and influential.
But in order for Alpaca garments to last as long as possible, they need proper care and cleaning.
Although an alpaca sweater can last for years, people tend to shy away from buying Alpaca clothing in the first place because they don’t know how to clean and care for them.
How to take care of your alpaca garments in the best way possible.
Alpaca is different
Alpaca is a breed apart when it comes to natural fibers. Stronger, softer, lighter, and warmer than either merino wool or cashmere, it’s a natural choice for winter clothing and accessories. It’s also resistant to pilling and won’t shrink given proper care, making it possible to keep your alpaca clothing for years, even decades! (You can read HERE about all the benefits of Alpaca fiber).
Alpaca fleece is famous for its luxurious softness and doesn’t scratch or “prickle” the skin like wool products. It’s also hypoallergenic since it doesn’t contain lanolin, an oil generated by sheep that can cause sensitivity in people with dermatological disorders.
How to clean your Alpaca clothing
- Fill a clean sink or tub with coldwater and a small amount of mild liquid detergent like baby shampoo or a fine fibers formula. (Using hot water, or even two different temperatures of water, will “shock” the fibers, making them mat together and start turning into felt.). Do not use chlorine bleach even gentle Woolite, as these harsh cleaners can cause damage to the structure of the garment.
- Soak the garment for 3 to 5 minutes, gently squeezing the suds through it. Avoid twisting, wringing, scrubbing, or otherwise agitating it, as this will cause felting. Dyed garments will have some chance of bleed, but since alpaca fiber takes dyeing better than most other fibers, this shouldn’t be a problem after the first wash.
- Rinse the garment twice in clean, cold water and gently squeeze out the excess. Be gentle handling it to avoid wrinkles and distortion.
- Lay the garment between two towels, roll up the towels and set it aside for a few minutes.
- Place the garment on a dry towel or sweater rack and reshape (do not hang to dry). Let it dry away from sunlight and direct heat.
- If the garment is wrinkled after drying, you can steam it lightly with an iron, or simply hang it up in the bathroom, run the shower, and let the steam work out the creases.
If you don’t have the time to hand-wash your alpaca garments, you can always take them to a professional dry-cleaner. Bring along any labels or care tags that came with the garment, and be sure to point out any spots and stains so they can use the best method to remove them.
How to store Alpaca clothing
Alpaca clothing can last for decades, but its greatest enemies are moths and other pests that cause damage during storage. If you need to put your Alpaca away during warmer months, give it a good cleaning first following the instructions above — pests are drawn to dirt and body oils on fibers.
You can keep pests away from any garment by storing it in a chest of inspect-repelling Spanish cedar, or by placing cedar chips in the storage area. To keep away moths, use lavender bundles (although chemical moth balls will do as well).
A shirt box, clean pillow case, clean paper bag, or cardboard box will keep the air circulating around the garment. Never use plastic or dry cleaning bags for your alpaca, as this will cause moisture to build up and the fibers will felt. And like any other knit garment, alpaca clothing should be folded rather than hung to prevent stretching and distortion.
We hope that this article helps you take the best care of your products. If you are not yet familiar with our store, have a look at our YAPA SHOP for the best offers available!