How to wash alpaca wool?

Alpaca wool is also called the gold of the Andes. This wool is obtained from alpacas, which live in large numbers in South America. The wool of an alpaca is incredibly soft, warm and does not sting. This is because the scales of the wool fibers of alpaca wool are many times smaller than those of sheep's wool. So when wool stings or itches, you feel the scales of the fiber against your skin, and the smaller the scales are, the less it bothers you. Only if you are very allergic to wool can it bother you. 

Almost all of our products are made from alpaca wool, such as our large alpaca wool native plaids , ponchos and scarves .

Larga aplaca blankets hanged

We buy the native plaids directly in Otavalo, from small local communities. The plaids contain 70% wool, 20% cotton and 10% acrylic. The wool makes the product wonderfully soft and warm. The cotton provides breathability and the acrylic makes the material extra strong.

Airing or washing?

I can hear you think, "can you wash wool?", a question we are asked every day. 

Most of all, we tell everyone, let wool products air. In fact, wool is self-cleaning. So if there are no (big) stains on your wool blanket, sweater or scarf, let it air outside. Perfect conditions are fog and no direct sunlight.

But fortunately, you can also wash wool. However, there are some rules for this.

  1. Always use the wool wash or hand wash program at 30 degrees or colder
  2. Centrifuge wool products at up to 600 rpm
  3. Use as little detergent as possible, or use a special wool detergent
  4. Always wash clothes inside out
  5. Always wash with similar colors

If you only have a small stain on a wool product, you can also choose to wash it away by hand.

Is your wool product dyed and do you want to preserve the colors as much as possible? Then soak your product in cold water with 1/5th natural vinegar before washing. The vinegar will make the colors fade less quickly and thus keep their beauty longer. By the way, this trick is also very good to do with your (new) jeans.

alpaca wool washing intructions and advice

Drying wool

Another subject that can cause confusion. But there are a few basic rules for this as well.

  1. Never put your wool products in the dryer
  2. Let your wool products dry flat, for example on a towel or wash rack
  3. Don't use clothes pins

The dryer makes your clothes hot and wool can't handle that very well. The fibers will shrink and so will your beautiful wool sweater. It varies by product whether you can hang it or not. Some wool products you can hang dry, such as our alpaca native plaids , scarves and ponchos . You can hang dry these because the material is so tightly woven that it (almost) doesn't stretch. A wool sweater often cannot be hung to dry, and will stretch tremendously due to the weight of the water if you do. Also beware of using clothespins, if you use them you will see prints in the product after drying.

Ironing wool

Alpaca wool does not crease easily so ironing is not necessary. If you still have wrinkles you can iron it with a cloth between the iron and the product. preferably without steam and at a low temperature so that the fibers are damaged as little as possible. What also works well is to hang your wool sweater, scarf or blanket in the bathroom after you shower. The hot steam can remove shallow wrinkles. 

Wool is a wonderful material, as long as you know how to handle it. If you treat (alpaca) wool properly you will enjoy it for years. 

Daniëlle Zandbergen