Alpaca fiber is a unique gift of nature. South American ancient cultures have used it for centuries to endure the cold weather of the Andes highlands. Under microscope, alpaca fiber shows air pockets which make it thermic and three times more silky and lightweight than sheep wool. As if that were not enough, this premium fiber is hypoallergenic.
In order to enjoy all the benefits of this special fiber, it’s important to acknowledge how to properly take care of it. Although 100% alpaca garments are long lasting products, way too many people damage them in their first attempt of washing. Fortunately we have all the tips to keep your alpaca clothing perfect for the years to come.
RECOGNIZING REAL ALPACA
First of all, it is important that you recognize if your garment is in fact real alpaca. This special fiber is sought by many but offered by few. Imitations are all over the globe. But, how can you recognize its
• Cut a little thread of your item.
• Use a lighter to burn it. If it burns like human hair (all in one), then it’s pure natural alpaca. If you get a residue, we have bad news for you; your garment has synthetic materials.
CLEANING ALPACA PRODUCTS
Stating the obvious, despite your alpaca product doesn’t look dirty, it needs to be cleaned regularly. If it’s a large item, like a comforter, choose dry cleaning. For smaller items like clothing you can also wash them by hand. Follow the next steps:
• Use a plastic basin and make sure there are no residues of cleaning products that could stain your alpaca garment.
• Pour lukewarm water on the basin and add small amount of gentle detergent or baby shampoo. It should be fully dissolved in the water before washing.
• Turn your garment inside out.
• Don’t wring or rub the garment while washing, instead gently squeeze the fiber.
• Rinse with abundant water.
• When drying, don’t twist the garment to remove excess water, and definitely do not tumble dry. Lay the item out on a towel, roll up and delicately press.
• Unroll and leave it to dry laid flat. If you hang it, the water weight will stretch your alpaca garment out of shape.
• Keep it away from heat sources like radiators and sunlight. Allow it to air-dry naturally.
TAKING CARE OF YOUR ALPACA GARMENTS
It’s likely that any alpaca item will fall victim to pilling over time. This is not symptomatic of inferior quality, but rather an inevitable consequence of use. Here are some things you can do about it:
• De-pill your garment regularly. Use an electric or manual depiller. Never use a razor.
• De-crease your item, so that when next winter comes, it looks as good as new. Iron inside-out on the lowest heat setting. Use a damp cloth between the alpaca item and the iron. You can also, use a hand-held steamer.
STORING ALPACA ITEMS
As a general rule, any storage area needs to be completely clean and damp-free. Regular housekeeping is essential to keep alpaca items brand new. Additionally follow these tips:
• Wrap your alpaca item in acid-free tissue paper.
• Do not use cardboard boxes or plastic bags to store your alpaca garments. The change in temperature (central heating going on and off) can cause condensation and chemical reactions. Stains can appear on your alpaca garments as a consequence.
• Keep your item well-aired and away from sunlight.