How to clean your alpaca clothing:
Fill a clean sink or tub with cold water and a small amount of mild liquid detergent like baby shampoo or a fine fibers formula.
(Using hot water, or even two different temperatures of water, will “shock” the fibers, making them mat together and start turning into felt.) Do not use chlorine bleach or even gentle Woolite, as these harsh cleaners will cause damage.
Soak the garment for 3 to 5 minutes, gently squeezing the suds through the garment. Avoid twisting, wringing, scrubbing, or otherwise agitating it, as this will cause felting. Dyed garments will have some chance of bleed, but since alpaca fiber takes dyeing better than most other fibers, this shouldn’t be a problem after the first wash.
Rinse the garment twice in clean, cold water and gently squeeze out the excess.
Be gentle handling it to avoid wrinkles and distortion.
Lay the garment between two towels, roll up the towels and set it aside for a few minutes.
Place the garment on a dry towel or sweater rack and reshape (do not hang to dry). Let it dry away from sunlight and direct heat.
If the garment is wrinkled after drying, you can steam it lightly with an iron, or simply hang it up in the bathroom, run the shower, and let the steam ease away the creases.
If you don’t have the time to hand-wash your alpaca garments, you can always take them to a professional dry-cleaner. Bring along any labels or care tags that came with the garment, and be sure to point out any spots and stains so they can use the best method to remove them.
How to store your alpaca clothing:
Alpaca clothing can last for decades, but its greatest enemies are moths and other pests that cause damage during storage. (Although certain dogs have been known to love the scent of alpaca!) If you need to put your alpaca away during warmer months, give it a good clean first following the instructions above — pests are drawn to dirt and body oils on fibers.
You can keep pests away from any garment by storing it in a chest of inspect-repelling Spanish cedar, or by placing cedar chips in the storage area. To keep away moths, use lavender bundles (although chemical moth balls will do as well). A shirt box, clean pillow case, clean paper bag, or cardboard box will keep the air circulating around the garment. Never use plastic or dry cleaning bags for your alpaca, as this will cause moisture to build up and the fibers will felt. And like any other knit garment, alpaca clothing should be folded rather than hung to prevent stretching and distortion.
What about shrinking?
You might find that your product stretches out after wearing a long time without washing. If you want your product to get smaller, simply add steam to the product (from iron or steam machine) and then scrunch up your product and let it dry completely flat. If you find that you need your product to be slightly larger, add steam and stretch it out. You can add weights on the corner and lay it completely flat until dried.