How to Store an Alpaca Garment? (Summer Maintenance Tips)
When you use woolen products, you might not want to wear them all year round. You are probably wondering what you should do with a woolen garment when summertime arrives!
Alpaca woolen garments need to be stored in an airtight container or moth-proof bag. You always need to fold alpaca woolen items to prevent them from losing their shape. Make sure to add cedar wood or another (natural) moth repellent with it. Wash all alpaca woolen items before storing them.
While storing your alpaca woolen items over summer, you have to make sure that moths and mold don’t get the better of them. On the other hand, you could consider wearing your alpaca woolen items year-round!
Make Sure You Use AIRTIGHT Boxes or Bags for Storing
Alpaca wool is best stored in airtight boxes or bags to keep it safe from moth infestations.
One of the downsides of alpaca wool (and wool in general) is that it is very much liked by moths. Moths are insects that look a lot like butterflies, although they aren’t always as pretty. They also have the nasty habit of destroying our clothes.
Moths are unwelcome guests in closets and attics, but they love the dark, moldy and humid environments where clothes are often stored. Once they find a nice place to settle, they can leave holes in your clothes, bags or coats, as their larvae grow on the fabric.
So to start with, you actually want to prevent moths from laying their eggs on your woolen sweater, because that is how the real damage is being done.
To prevent moths from getting close to your clothes, it is important that you store your items in an airtight container - one that has no holes in them through which moths could enter. Consider adding gel-balls to the box to prevent moisture.
Clothing bags can also work, but make sure that the material is moth-proof, meaning that:
they can’t bite through it
they can’t enter the bag through the hole at the top for the coat hanger to pass through.
Make Sure You WASH Your Items Before Storing Them
It is important to freshen up your woolen items before storing them. Who knows what kind of smells and dirt has gotten the better of your woolen sweater after a warm and cozy winter.
While alpaca wool is odor and stain-resistant, it might still be smart to give your item a wash before storing it over summer. Moths love dirty clothes and will make sure to find their piece of soil no matter how clean you and your sweater are.
Another reason to wash your items is because you’re going to be storing them for a while. Since your items will be stored in an airtight container, you want to make sure that there is no leftover dirt that can cause the entire content of the box to start developing mold.
Better safe than sorry? Click the link to read my step-by-step guide on How To Wash Alpaca Woolen Items.
As a bare minimum, you want to air an alpaca woolen garment before storing it. Placing it in the sun for an hour or so can also help freshen up the garment.
Make Sure Alpaca Woolen Items Are DRY Before Storing
To prevent mold from growing in your airtight container, it is very important to make sure your items are 100% dry before you store them.
If an item is stored while still being (slightly) wet, it can cause moisture to appear. When that happens, it is only a small step away from smelly, devastating mold to ruin your clothes.
Alpaca wool has a special fiber texture (very little lanolin!) that will protect it from mold to some extent, but if you store clothes for a prolonged period of time in such a closed-off environment, you don’t want to take the risk.
Make Sure to FOLD Alpaca Woolen Garments
It is important to fold alpaca woolen garments when you are storing them during summer. Hanging the clothes for such an extended period of time can cause it to lose its shape and form.
Alpaca wool is renowned for its elasticity. Nevertheless, imagine you would leave it hanging for an entire summer, the weight will have pulled the garment down for such a long time that it might lose its original shape permanently.
The best way to store alpaca woolen items is folded and laying flat. By making sure they are put in shape you will prevent any item from deforming.
Make Sure to Add a Natural MOTH Repellent
When storing an alpaca woolen garment over summer, it is important to add a moth repellent to the box or bag that you are using.
Luckily, there are plenty of natural moth repellents available, and you can even make some at home. While chemical moth repellents might be more effective, they can also leave a nasty smell behind.
The better option is to stick with a strong-smelling piece of cedar (they come in balls, blocks, rings, and probably any other kind of shape you can imagine). The shapes don’t really matter, although you might want to consider something you could sandpaper to revive the smell after a few months.
There are more scents that are moth-repellent and you can easily make your own sachets using some nice herbs. Click the link to read how you can make this super easy DIY moth repellent sachet from Apartment Therapy.
Alpaca Wool Is SUMMER-PROOF
If you don’t feel like putting away your alpaca woolen garment, you could actually consider wearing it during the summer months. Despite the idea that woolen items are only for the cold winter months, (because wool is insulating) alpaca wool is also great for warm weather (because alpaca wool is also isolating).
The alpaca fiber is hollow (it is a medullated fiber), which means that there are tiny air pockets on the inside of the hair, that can trap air.
The fibers, put together, form an insulating and isolating layer at the same time, meaning that the temperature of the air inside remains constant, and the air outside stays outside, without either of them transferring to the other side of the wool.
Triggered your curiosity? Read more about how and why You Can Wear Alpaca Wool in Summer in another one of my awesome articles :)
Storing Alpaca When TRAVELING
If you are going on a trip and you want to know how to store an alpaca woolen garment in a jam-packed backpack (or neatly organized suitcase), you might wonder what to watch out for.
Well, the rules for short-term storage are a little simpler, because alpaca wool does not wrinkle, is odor-resistant and you probably don’t bring any moths when you go traveling. However, there are things you can do to secure the safety of your garment.
Personally, I like to roll my items before I put them in a suitcase, not only to safe space, but also to make absolutely sure there are no wrinkles! It’s a fun little trick :)
I also like to put special, vulnerable items in a separate bag, to make sure nothing gets hooked into my knitted piece that might tear it apart when unpacking.
Adding a little sachet of dried lavender is another great way to prevent your bag (and everything inside it) from getting smelly.
The best way to “store” alpaca for a trip, is to just wear it. Read more about it in my article: 8 Reasons Why Alpaca Wool Is Good for Traveling.