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How to Clean and Store Alpaca Sweaters

Alpaca wool from Peru

If you recently bought an Alpaca sweater, you likely fell in love with the soft, pliable wool and the beautiful, rich color. Like any beloved article of clothing, you’ll want to make it last as long as possible.

Although alpaca wool is a luxurious material, it’s easy to clean and preserve. You just need to understand the wool’s characteristics and follow the tips below. Then, you’ll get to enjoy your beautiful sweater for years to come.

 

Alpaca Wool Characteristics

A natural fiber harvested from alpacas, alpaca wool can be either heavy or light weight. It just depends on how the fibers are spun. Also, the breed of the Alpaca, and the region where they live, creates a variation in wool quality. If you want to know more about the origins of a particular garment, just ask the seller. They can usually tell you more about where the wool was harvested.

Alpaca wool is similar to sheep’s wool but is warmer, softer and has no lanolin. The lack of lanolin makes it naturally hypoallergenic. Other notable characteristics include:

  • Soft
  • Durable
  • Silky
  • Water-repellent
  • Resistant to pilling

Many products are made from alpaca wool using a similar process for other wood. This includes preparing, carding, spinning, weaving and finishing. The end result is a soft, rich knit that most people prefer over “itchy” sheep’s wool.

How to Clean Alpaca Sweaters

After you purchase an Alpaca wool sweater, proper cleaning can extend the wear. In general, this soft wool requires gentle cleaning. So, be careful to use cold water and soft cleaning products. Also, a professional dry cleaner can easily clean your sweater. Just be sure to specify that it’s Alpaca wool when you drop it off.

  1. Fill a clean sink or tub with cold water and a small amount of mild liquid detergent. Avoid products like chlorine bleach or normal detergents.

Pro Tip: Hot water will “shock fibers. They will mat together or start turning into felt.

  1. For 5 minutes, soak the sweater. Gently work the suds through.

Pro Tip: Don’t twist, wring or scrub the sweater.

  1. Rinse the garment in clean, cold water. Run the water two times to remove all of the soap.
  2. Gently squeeze your sweater to remove extra water. Don’t wring it!
  3. Lay the sweater in between two soft, clean towels. Roll them up and set aside for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the sweater from the towels and place on a dry towel or sweater rack. Carefully shape the sweater.
  5. Allow the sweater to dry while laying flat. Keep away from sunlight and direct heat.

If you have any specific questions about your sweater, talk to the seller. They can give you tips on how to care for your item.

How to Store Alpaca Sweaters

During the off season, you may choose to pack away your Alpaca clothing. Clean it first, using the instructions above. Then, you can carefully store it for the warm weather months.

  1. Identify the most common pests in your area and select repellants. Cedar chips repel most insects. Lavender bunches, or chemical mothballs, discourage moths.
  2. Pack the sweater in a shirt box, pillow case, paper bag or cardboard box. This will keep the air circulating. Avoid plastic bags as this encourages moisture.
  3. Fold your garment carefully to avoid stretching or misshaping.

If you store your sweater carefully, it should last much longer. Then, you’ll get to enjoy an alpaca wool sweater that is as soft as the day you bought it.

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