Alpaca has no lanolin or oils in its fleece whatsoever. It is considered one of the cleanest “natural” fleeces produced in nature. Thus most people who are allergic to lanolin (found in sheep’s wool) or other animal “oils” can easily wear 100% alpaca products with complete comfort or concern for negative reactions. Most are made from our own alpacas’ fleece – from animals loved and cared for as members of the family. They are bred, born, and loved right here in Aquasco, Maryland. They are also shorn yearly by our owner (Angel) who then skirts the fleece, does some processing, and then sends the fleece to different mills to be made into yarn and specialty textiles. Villa de Alpacas Farm owns two specialized commercial looms just for making alpaca textiles. So eventually, every aspect of our textile generation can be done in Aquasco as well!
Alpaca is considered a “hypo-allergenic” product; thus many folks who cannot wear sheep’s wool, can easily wear alpaca. Alpaca has also been scientifically shown to be 40% warmer than sheep’s wool by weight. Thus light-weight items can keep you super warm without being heavy or bulky.
Care of Alpaca Products
Alpaca fiber is extremely precious, so it’s important to take good care of it. Below are a few guidelines below to help you care for your new alpaca product. Please know that I have pre-washed all of our fiber and resulting textiles, so you can feel very good about the cleanliness of your purchase.
Alpaca fiber is also naturally antimicrobial and stays cleaner than other natural fibers due to its smooth cuticle on the hair shaft and the lack of oils in the fiber to begin with. Fortunately, taking care of alpaca is easy, since it only needs to be washed once in a while—even socks!
The cuticle on the alpaca hair shaft is very, very smooth, and thus has an inherent property to repel dirt on its own. Generally, just letting your textile “air out” in the sun for a few hours will freshen up your garment enough. But if you feel that you need to wash your alpaca textile, you can easily wash it in cold water using human hair shampoo, rinse in cold water only, and lay flat to dry. You can also dry your textile in the dryer using no heat or very, very little heat. Never hang up “wet” alpaca, as it will lose its shape. If your alpaca textile has wrinkles after washing and drying, you can use a hot iron to easily get them out. You can also have alpaca textiles dry-cleaned.
Blends with bamboo and other natural fibers
Alpaca is one of the most wonderful fibers in the world and produces exquisite softness in clothing and textiles. Most of our high-end clothing items are 100% alpaca. However, some of our other products also contain small percentages of complementary natural fibers which increase durability and wash-ability. For example, all of our blankets and throws now contain a small percentage of bamboo fiber. Our proprietary blend gives our textiles more strength, durability, and memory. This makes our alpaca blankets and throws much easier to wash and helps them to maintain their appearance over time. Bamboo fiber is also super-soft and hypoallergenic—just like alpaca fiber.
Since alpaca fiber has no memory or stretch, it’s impossible to make stretchy items like cuffs, necks, and sock bands. This is why 100 percent alpaca socks just don’t work—they would constantly fall to your ankles! The addition of bamboo fiber gives socks the stretch needed for a perfect fit.
Storing Alpaca Fiber Products
If you will not be using your alpaca textile for a long period of time, needing long-term storage, then we suggest storing it in a cedar lined closet or in a sealed box with cedar blocks (which Villa de Alpacas also sells).
We know you are going to love your new alpaca textile! You have something special and most unique!