When I took the first tentative steps to starting my business, I spent countless hours researching the best way to wash and clean alpaca products. As I discovered, it’s far easier than you might at first think. If looked after correctly, your alpaca items will actually improve with wear and age. And because alpaca doesn’t pill like wool or cashmere, it can stay looking pristine for many years. Since launching Tuwi, I’ve been asked many times by customers for tips on how to look after alpaca blankets and garments. I’ve put the most commonly asked questions together here in this definitive guide to alpaca fabric care.
How often should I wash alpaca garments?
Alpaca doesn’t need regular washing or cleaning because it actively repels dirt and liquids. Spills don’t sink into alpaca fibre like they do with wool or other materials. Instead liquids will form as beads and run off the surface. Dry dirt can simply be shaken off. So you needn’t worry about spills on those baby clothes, blankets or sofa throws. In most cases, the natural qualities of alpaca fibre will do the hard work for you.
Can I spot clean alpaca?
Yes, absolutely. When all you need to do is clean a small area rather than wash the whole thing, spot cleaning makes life a whole lot easier. Stains can be gently spot cleaned with a small amount of wool wash detergent and cool water. Make sure you apply enough water to completely get rid of any lingering detergent and then gently pat the area dry. Leave to dry flat.
Do I have to dry clean alpaca?
On many of our blankets, we suggest dry clean only due to the form of the weave. Woven items like our Pure throws, Quilla throw and classic scarves and stoles can only be dry cleaned. Knitted blankets like Wave, Qori and Inti can be dry cleaned as well as hand washed or washed on a gentle wool cycle.
Can I wash my alpaca blanket or garment?
Yes, you can wash knitted blankets and babywear. Pop them into cold or lukewarm water with a soft detergent or a wool & cashmere shampoo. Even a gentle baby shampoo can be used. Don’t soak the item, washing for no more than five minutes. Rinse thoroughly and press the item to squeeze the water out – don’t wring it. Finally lay the fabric flat and wrap in a clean dry towel to absorb any excess water. Reshape if needed and leave it to dry flat – never hung up, as it could dry misshapen. Warm iron if necessary. Our knitted items, including our babywear and knitted blankets such as Inti or Wave, can be safely hand washed. You can machine wash alpaca pieces on a delicate wool cycle – we just recommend that you remove them from the machine as soon as the cycle is finished and lay flat to dry.
To summarise, we often say to customers that they look after their alpaca purchases as they would take care of their hair. Think about what you would or wouldn’t use on your hair and apply the same rules to your beautiful alpaca garment. That way, it should give you many years of enjoyment.