How to Care for Your Alpaca Treasure
WASHING, DRYING AND RESHAPING YOUR ALPACA CLOTHING
Alpaca, like sheep’s wool and cashmere, is a natural fiber and is usually a hand wash or dry clean item. Always check your garment’s label for care instructions. Dry clean large, bulky items like coats. However, do not dry clean alpaca fur items. See below for more information on how to clean alpaca fur.
Hand wash your alpaca garments in cool or tepid water. Extremely cold water may shock the natural fibers and is unpleasant for you. Do not agitate or hard squeeze the garment as this may cause felting of the fabric. Gently run water through the garment by picking up and immersing the garment in and out of the water. Use a natural fiber wash; we suggest Eucalan Natural Fiber Wash which you can purchase at our store or from our website. Eucalan does not need to be rinsed out, saving you time and causing less trauma on your garment. Plus, it leaves a scent that can be cloth moth deterring.
Eucalan comes in various sizes
- one-time travel packets
- 3.3 oz
- 16.9 oz
- gallon jug
and several scents:
- jasmine (Wrapture)
Remove excess water from the garment by rolling it in a towel and then putting pressure on the rolled towel. If the item is larger, you can place it along the outer edge of your washing machine basket and using the spin cycle. NO NEED TO ADD ANY ADDITIONAL WATER AND DO NOT AGITATE – SPIN CYCLE ONLY.
Drying and Reshaping
Lay the garment flat on a towel or drying rack to air dry out of direct sunlight or near heat sources like radiators or air vents. Block or reshape your damp garment back to the natural size and shape desired. Do not use a hot hair dryer on your alpaca garment as heat shrinks natural fibers.
ALPACA SOCK CARE
Your cherished alpaca socks are usually 40-50% alpaca blend and can be machine washed, especially if they contain acrylic. Some socks are higher alpaca fiber content, 60-80% and are usually hand wash items. Always check the label for specific recommended care instructions for any alpaca item. Even if your alpaca sock label says they can be machine dried, we still recommend air drying them as dryer heat can cause elastic deterioration. I have a tent card that has ALPACA written on it and place it on the washer when alpaca socks are in the load. That way anyone removing the clothing to put in the dryer can pluck the alpaca socks out of the load and place them on the drying rack. If you choose to machine dry your alpaca socks, use low heat.
CLEANING YOUR ALPACA FUR TEDDY BEARS, TOYS AND FUR ACCESSORIES
There is nothing cuter or softer than an alpaca stuffed fur toy. But how do you clean this stuff? They are not machine washable or dryable.
- Avoid using soap or dry cleaning as this removes the fur’s natural oils.
- Instead, wipe with a damp cloth, white muslim works well.
- Do not agitate or rub in circles but go up, down, right and left.
- If the toy is soaked, blot with a towel and leave to dry naturally away from heat sources.
- Do not use a hot hair dryer or iron as the fiber will felt.
- Once completely dry (and it can take 24 hours), shake the toy or use a cold hair dryer to separate the fibers.
- A light brushing will restore your fur toy to its natural beauty. Use brushes that are tight bristled or plastic bristled that have a ball end. To remove particles stuck in the fiber, you can use a pet slicker. Always brush gently, especially with a pet slicker.
MOTH PROTECTION AND STORAGE
All natural animal fibers (sheep’s wool, cashmere, alpaca, etc.) are subject to damage from cloth moths. Some areas of the country are more prone to cloth moths than others. However, care should always be taken to protect your cherished alpaca clothing from moths. Cloth moths are tiny silvery colored flying insects that lay eggs on natural fiber. The adult moth does not eat the fiber, but their presence means eggs have probably been deposited on your clothing. The eggs hatch, and the larvae emerge hungry and start eating fiber. They then cocoon and emerge as an adult moth, repeating the cycle.
When you find damaged cloth, especially dark fabric, you may see silky webby cocoon material around the edge of the hole left by the larva. I have seen infestations of cloth moths in a bag of raw fiber that has been totally consumed and reduced to a grainy dusty mess with the cocoons left behind in that mess.
To protect your alpaca clothing from cloth moths, store items in plastic bags, air tight clear sweater boxes or zippered clear garment bags or any combination of items. Use clear storage devices as moths like dark quiet places. Clear sweater boxes and garment bags allow light which makes the environment less inviting to moths…and you can see your clothes, making it easier for you to decide what to wear. If using sweater boxes, take a picture of the items in the box and tape it to the outside of the box to make it easier for you to find your items. Deterrent scents like lavender, cedar, eucalyptus can be helpful to deter months, but they do not kill them. You can place these scented sachets or cedar balls in these storage items as an added deterrent. We do not recommend mothballs as they contain harmful chemicals to humans and pets and are EPA regulated. They are nearly 100% active ingredient, containing either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, that turn from solid to toxic vapor. Yes, they can kill moths, but they can also harm humans and pets. And they stink. See https://www.thespruce.com/get-rid-of-moths-1388158 for more information on herbs that deter moths Cedar sachets can be made from cedar shavings used in hamster cages.
I have found large framed zippered clear garment bags that allow several items to be hung in them. I also use clear zippered garment bags that have shelves to store my alpaca accessories and folded sweaters.