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One of the first questions you´ll think about after buying your first alpaca garment is, how do I wash this? And it couldn´t be more accurate. How to wash an alpaca item? What´s the difference with other kinds of fabric?
Alpaca wool, renowned for its luxurious feel and unmatched durability, deserves special attention when it comes to maintenance. Washing your cherished alpaca garments might seem like a delicate task, but fear not—we're here to guide you through the process and ensure your investment stays pristine.
Before you embark on the washing journey, the key lies in choosing a gentle and delicate shampoo, yes, shampoo. Keep in mind that alpaca fiber is the fur or hair of the alpaca, strong products like any regular washing machine detergent or soap is too much for it´s delicate nature. Opt for a product with minimal detergent to preserve the natural fibers of your alpaca garment. Neglecting this crucial step may lead to disappointment despite other precautions, so pay attention to this essential element.
While alpaca wool can withstand machine washing, it's often wise (and recommended) to opt for hand washing. This method allows for a gentle touch and better preservation of the fiber's integrity. If you choose to machine wash, ensure it's on a delicate/wool cycle, in cold water, and with spin cycle (centrifugation) disabled.
Maintaining a consistent washing temperature between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius (rather cold) is paramount for alpaca wool. Fluctuations in temperature can lead to felting, shrinking, stretching and potentially altering the texture of your cherished garment. Whether hand or machine washing, keep the water within this zone.
An extra detail about dyed alpaca vestments is that they may bleed color on the first washes. But don´t worry, to fix the colors and set them, soak your clothes in water with approximately 20% white vinegar the first time.
After the washing process, resist the urge to wring, twist or shake your alpaca garment. Gently press to remove excess water, you can also use a towel to absorb some more, lay it flat for drying and let it drip. This careful approach, away from direct sunlight, ensures optimal results in preserving the natural shape and texture of your alpaca piece.
When it comes to storing your alpaca treasures, opt for folding instead of hanging. This simple choice preserves the fibers' natural shape, preventing unnecessary stretching and ensuring your garment maintains its original allure.
Washing your alpaca apparel, after all this, may seem like a great deal of work. But always remeber, before embarking yourself on this laundry journey, to ask yourself. Do I really need to wash this piece? When did I use it?, For how long? Many times you´ll find out that you haven´t really used it as much as you would use a t-shirt or an everyday jumper. And letting that barely used alpaca piece to air out is also a good way to maintain it flawless. Judge yourself!