If you are here, you already know all the benefits of Alpaca Clothing, Gloves, Hats, Socks, Blankets, and anything made from this natural fiber that tends to outperform other fibers like wool and synthetics. Alpaca fleece has been around for millennia. Even the ancient Incan kings recognized the Alpaca’s unique qualities and reserved the “fiber of the gods” for use by only the wealthy and influential. Care of alpaca products is essential in order for them to last as long as possible. Items created from Alpaca Yarn need proper care and cleaning.
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 won’t shrink if given the proper care which makes it possible to keep your alpaca clothing for years, even decades!
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 sensitivities.
How to Clean Alpaca Clothing
- Fill a clean sink or tub with cold water 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 or even Woolite. 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. 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.
- While supporting the weight of the garment, lay it between two towels. Roll up the towels and set aside for a few minutes allowing towels to absorb excess moisture.
- 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 wrinkles.
If you don’t have the time to hand wash your alpaca garments, or in the event of stubborn stains, 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. We do not recommend machine washing as a good way to care for your alpaca products.
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 or moth balls.
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. Like any other knit garment, alpaca clothing should be folded rather than hung to prevent stretching and distortion.
Washing Alpaca Socks
Our Alpaca socks are machine washable in cold water. The Alpaca in our socks has been blended with other fibers to create durability, longevity, and to allow for machine-washing. To extend the life of your socks further, we highly recommend letting them air dry and to avoid putting them in the dryer.
Cleaning Alpaca Teddy Bears
Use a wire pet brush to restore the fur on Alpaca Teddy Bears and other stuffed animals made from Alpaca. You will be impressed how easily the fur is restored with a light brushing. For more serious cleaning or when something has been spilt on the fur, cover the spot with talcum powder and gently but deeply rub it in. Leave it for an hour or so, then brush away the excess powder. This will lift dirt and and restore the fluffiness of the fur.
Did you throw your new Alpaca Sweater in the washer by mistake? Find out how to Unfelt a Felted Sweater. We haven’t tried this, so cannot guarantee that it works. Sometimes people felt things intentionally. Find out more about felting. See our Felting Kits and Felted Creations by Julie Petty.
We hope this helps you take the best care of your products so that you can enjoy them for years to come. Perhaps you’d like to do a little shopping in our Online Store or meet our Alpacas and visit our Farm Store in Mansfield, Ohio!