Alpaca blankets are known for their luxurious feel, warmth, and durability, but keeping them in pristine condition requires proper care. Washing an alpaca blanket can be a delicate process, as these blankets are made from natural fibers that can be easily damaged if not handled correctly.
There are several methods for cleaning an alpaca blanket, including hand washing and using a washing machine on a delicate setting.
The key is to choose the right method that best suits your needs, while ensuring the temperature, detergent, and drying process used are appropriate for the alpaca fibers. This will help maintain the quality and longevity of your alpaca blanket.
Why Alpaca Blankets Need Special Care
Alpaca blankets are prized for their numerous qualities, including the natural softness and warmth of alpaca wool. The fibers used in these blankets are known for their durability, which contributes to the long-lasting nature of alpaca products.
Alpaca wool, in general, is known for its low grease content and being relatively dirt-resistant. It is also a highly absorbent fiber which requires particular consideration when exposed to water.
To ensure the blanket maintains its inherent qualities over time, it is vital to adhere to gentle washing methods and avoid overly aggressive cleaning techniques.
Preparing to Wash an Alpaca Blanket
Checking for Stains
Inspect your alpaca blanket for any stains, such as food or beverage spills, before washing. Identifying these stains is important because they may require special treatment.
If you find any stubborn stains, gently rub a small amount of mild soap or detergent on the area and let it sit for a few minutes before proceeding to wash the entire blanket. Be careful not to scrub too hard, as this can damage the delicate fibers of the alpaca wool.
For persistent or severe stains, consider taking the blanket to a professional cleaner for specialized treatment.
Removing Excess Dirt and Dust
Before washing, it is crucial to eliminate as much dirt and dust as possible from the alpaca blanket. Give your blanket a good shake outdoors to dislodge loose dirt, dust particles, and debris that might have accumulated on the surface.
If you have access to a soft-bristle brush or a lint roller, use it to gently brush the blanket in the direction of the fibers to further remove any lingering particles. This process will not only make the washing process more efficient but also help protect the delicate alpaca fibers.
Try brush a blanket like in this video:
Hand Washing Method
Hand washing an alpaca blanket is a gentle and effective way to clean it without causing damage to the delicate fibers.
This method can help extend the life of the blanket and maintain its softness and quality.
Steps to Hand Wash
Follow these steps when hand washing your alpaca blanket:
- Prepare the washing solution: Fill a bucket, sink, or bathtub with cold water and add a small amount of mild detergent, such as Eucalan, baby shampoo, or mild liquid soap.
- Submerge the blanket: Gently submerge the blanket in the soapy water, ensuring that the entire blanket is completely wet. Let it soak for 10-15 minutes.
- Agitate gently: Use your hands to carefully agitate the blanket in the water, working out any dirt or debris. Do not twist or wring the blanket, as this can damage the fibers.
Rinsing and Removing Excess Water
Following the hand washing process, thoroughly rinse and remove excess water from the blanket:
- Rinse thoroughly: Drain the soapy water and refill the container with cold water. Rinse the blanket with water at the same temperature to avoid temperature shocks to the fibers. Repeat this process until all soap residue is removed, and the water runs clear.
- Remove excess water: Gently press the water out of the blanket without twisting or wringing. You can also lay the blanket out flat on a clean, dry towel and carefully roll it up to absorb more water.
Drying on a Flat Surface
- Lay the blanket flat: Find a clean, dry, and flat surface, such as a drying rack, clean table, or bed. Spread out the blanket and reshape it to its original dimensions, ensuring that there are no wrinkles or folds.
- Avoid direct sunlight: Place the blanket in an area with good air circulation, but away from direct sunlight, as the sun can cause the colors to fade and the fibers to weaken.
- No spin drying: Do not use a dryer or attempt to spin dry the blanket, as this can cause damage and shrinkage.
Watch this whole process in the video:
Machine Washing Method
Delicate Cycle Settings
When using a washing machine to clean your alpaca blanket, it is essential to select the appropriate settings.
Set your washing machine to the most delicate cycle, ideally a woolen or gentle setting, to ensure the fibers do not suffer any damage.
Using cold water is crucial, as hot water can instantly ruin your alpaca blanket.
Adding Detergent and Soap
Choose a mild detergent or soap for washing your alpaca blanket in a machine, as harsh chemicals can harm the fibers. Make sure not to overuse the detergent, as too much can negatively impact the blanket. A small amount of mild laundry detergent should suffice.
Using the same temperature throughout the process helps preserve the blanket’s fibers and prevents shrinking or stretching.
Avoid wringing the blanket or using a dryer, as this can cause damage. Instead, gently press the water out of the blanket and hang it up to dry.
Drying an Alpaca Blanket
Air Drying Options
To dry an alpaca blanket, first remove any dirt or debris by shaking it out or using a vacuum. If the blanket is wet, there are a few air drying options to consider. One option is to use a flat drying rack.
Simply place your alpaca wool blanket on top, ensuring no parts overlap and the blanket isn’t stretched. If you don’t have a flat drying rack, you can also lay a few towels on a flat surface and place the blanket on top so all moisture can be absorbed.
Another alternative is to hang your alpaca blanket on a clothesline in a cool, well-ventilated area. Make sure that the blanket isn’t stretched or overlapping when hung on the line.
Avoiding Damage from Direct Sunlight
When drying an alpaca blanket, it’s crucial to protect it from direct sunlight. Prolonged exposure to the sun can damage the fibers and cause the colors to fade.
For this reason, it’s best to choose a shaded or indoor area when air drying your blanket.
Once the blanket is completely dry, brush it with a soft brush to restore the nap and maintain its softness.
Additional Care Tips
For odors, consider using a natural and mild deodorizer, such as white vinegar. In a spray bottle, mix equal parts water and white vinegar, and lightly mist the alpaca blanket.
Allow the blanket to air dry, and the vinegar scent will dissipate, taking the odors with it. Make sure not over-saturate the blanket during this process, as too much moisture can damage the fibers.
Dealing with Shedding and Pills
Alpaca blankets may occasionally shed or develop pills, small balls of fiber that can form on the surface of the fabric.
To address shedding, gently brush the blanket with a soft-bristled brush in the direction of the fibers. It is best to do this before and after washing to prevent excessive shedding and help maintain the blanket’s softness.
For removing pills, you can use a fabric shaver or gently trim them with small, sharp scissors. When doing so, be careful not to damage the blanket’s fibers.