Now that you know all of the reasons why alpaca is so amazing (check out our previous blog posts), here's how to properly care for it so that it lasts for years to come. It’s easier than you'd think!
So alpaca has these unique antibacterial fibres, which means regular washing is not required. Which is awesome because who doesn’t love less laundry?
With any new piece you should always wash it before using. This helps to ensure anything from production and shipping are cleaned away (think excess dyes and such).
Washing Your Alpaca Products
The method for washing alpaca will vary based on the item, but there are some fundamentals to always keep in mind:
- Water temperature: use cold water to avoid shrinkage and shocking or matting the fibres.
- Only use a small amount of very mild detergent, like a baby shampoo, a detergent that is meant for alpaca, and/or a detergent without the strong artificial scents and dyes that may cause skin rashes to people with sensitivities to chemicals.
- Lay flat to dry
- Never wring, squeeze, pull, or stretch your alpaca
So there are three methods to wash your alpaca, let’s look at each option and when you would use them.
This is the best method to ensure a gentle cleaning. You should always hand wash sweaters, scarves, and hats, but not all alpaca has to be hand washed. To wash your piece, place it in a wash bin, gently pushing it into the water to ensure it gets wet. Let the piece sit in the water for up to thirty minutes.
Rinse time! Empty the wash water and rinse by adding in clean water and pushing out the wash water; continue until the water runs clear.
Great for items like blankets and socks. Larger items like blankets should be washed on their own, while smaller items like socks, should be placed in a wash bag to protect from rubbing against other items causing the alpaca fibres to mat. Wash on the delicate, wool, or hand wash cycle. Do not machine wash your items if your machine has an agitator, this could damage the item.
This is another option but make sure you have done your research to ensure your dry cleaner is capable of handling alpaca properly. Some dry cleaners advertise their environmental practices as well.
Even though you don’t need to wash your piece regularly, it is important to take care of any spills or stains as soon as they happen. Spot clean the piece with cold water and the same mild detergent used to wash. Push out the excess water and lay flat to dry.
Drying Alpaca Products
The most important thing is to NEVER put your alpaca in the dryer. Got that? Ok, cool!
Drying after hand washing
Push out as much water as you can after rinsing. Take a towel, lay it out on a clean surface and place your piece on the towel.
Gently begin to roll the towel up, the towel will soak up the remaining water from the alpaca.
Unroll the towel and repeat if a significant amount of water is left in the piece.
Once complete, remove the item from the towel and lay flat on a drying rack across multiple bars to ensure the item is fully supported.
Drying for machine washed pieces
You'll love this...take the piece out of the machine and place it on a drying rack. Nailed it.
A drying rack provides the best option as air will freely circulate the item and dry it more thoroughly.
If you don’t have a drying rack, place the item on a dry towel, on a flat surface, make sure to turn the item over occasionally for even and faster drying time.
Combing your Alpaca
You may find at times some matting has occurred or your alpaca looks a little frazzled. This is simple to correct, take a very soft brush and brush the piece in the direction of the fibres to realign them and prevent further matting.
Before storing your alpaca, wash it and fully dry, then place in a cotton pillow case. This will avoid dirt, and dust from gathering on the piece. Store away from light and temperature changes, and place some cedar balls or lavender with it to keep pests away, like moths.
Now wasn’t that easy? It may seem like a lot of work to keep your alpaca in great shape, but it really isn’t! Because of the durability and nature of our alpaca products, separate from your initial wash, alpaca really is something that you will enjoy for years to come, with intermittent maintenance of your noble alpaca fibres with proper care.