Is Alpaca Wool Wrinkle Free? (Non-Iron and Easy Care)
Updated: Feb 10
The Incas used to call it the fiber of the gods: alpaca wool. With an endless list of amazing qualities, like durability, extreme softness, wind, water, and fire resistance, alpaca is admittedly pretty awesome. What else would gods possibly wish for? Perhaps… could alpaca wool be wrinkle free, too?
Alpaca wool is naturally wrinkle free. Garments made of alpaca wool resist external stress and hold their shape. The alpaca fiber has a natural structure that does not retain wrinkles and will remain its shape naturally. Alpaca wool does not need to be ironed to be brought into shape.
Wrinkle-resistant? Non-Iron? Easy Care? Really? All natural? No wonder it is called the fiber of the gods! And no wonder gods got lazy!
Wrinkle Free, Is It Real?
It must be a dream for mothers with big families, mothers with small families, for women who iron their hubby’s shirts, or for women who just don’t like ironing in general. In fact, wrinkle free is probably a dream for most people.
Well, here’s the good news: it is naturally available for everyone. Ladies, put those irons out and start enjoying the perks of alpaca wool: a super soft fiber that is naturally wrinkle free, non-iron, and easy care.
Yes. That means you don’t need to iron alpaca woolen items.
And for the men out there, you can finally walk around in a nice sweater without looking all ungroomed and un-ironed. Hurray!
Wrinkle free fabrics, or wrinkle-resistant, are textiles that resist external stress and hold their shape.
In the early 20th century, when soccer moms finally reached their limits, the need for more user-friendly (read: mom-friendly) materials grew. Luckily there are different options when it comes to fabrics and their degree of wrinkles.
Natural materials such as cotton, linen and rayon are naturally very wrinkly, and require ironing to be put back in shape. Natural fibers do have the greatest qualities, like strength, isolation and comfort; however, the maintenance and cleaning of the fabrics can be labor intense.
Synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon, and acrylic are more resistant to wrinkling and have greater stability.
Synthetic fibers have the great disadvantage of being possibly harmful for the environment. Not all synthetic fibers are sustainably sourced and produced, and they are often not biodegradable.
Another downside of synthetic fibers is its quality: synthetic fibers are not as breathable, soft, and don’t absorb sweat. They are also more prone to burning than natural fibers.
To keep using natural fibers, people invented a chemical treatment to make fabrics that are vulnerable to wrinkling more (or completely) wrinkle free. This treatment increased the maintenance and made cleaning of products simpler.
However, chemically treating the fiber caused the wearer some discomfort. A technique that is used (more in the past than nowadays) is to stiffen the fabric. You’ll see this still being done in hotels with towels and bed linen. Stiffened fabrics are not always soft to the touch.
Another disadvantage is the decreased quality of the clothes: the chemicals made the fibers thinner and more vulnerable to being worn out or breaking faster.
Wash and Wear
Technology has caught up with the flaws of chemically treating fibers to make them wrinkle free. Nevertheless, wash and wear products can still cause skin irritation, decrease fabric strength, and increase flammability.
Another recent option to make fabrics wrinkle free is to spray fabric softener onto a garment, or use a conditioner during the washing cycle. The spray will allow the fibers to stay closer to each other, keeping their shape in place.
A downside of fabric softeners is that they can cause irritable skin.
What kind of material is naturally wrinkle-free, does not cause skin irritation, is super strong, and has breathable, inflammable, and durable qualities? Yes, my dears… As always: alpaca wool.
Oh and yes, did I say naturally? That means without chemical treatment.
And the winner is… ALPACA WOOL!
Alpaca Wool is Wrinkle Free
The alpaca fiber is luxurious: it is soft, silky, shiny and strong. The alpaca fiber also has a scale-like texture, which is why it is so soft, silky, shiny and strong. And wrinkle-resistant.
You will find that alpaca wool is very elastic and that the fibers will fall into place as soon as they get a chance. Imagine something that is soft and causes very little friction, any movement will immediately be put back into place.
Any garment, accessory or item that is made of alpaca wool will not lose its original shape and form.
Alpaca Wool Is Natural
By natural, I mean natural. Alpaca wool comes as the silky soft fiber that it is, without adding chemicals to it or treating it in any way to make the fabric stiffer. This is great news for the environment! A lot of industrially treated fabrics require chemicals and lots of water to become wrinkle free.
Natural also means that it does not contain chemicals that potentially cause irritable skin or rashes.
Alpaca wool does not need to be blended with other fabrics or fibers to become wrinkle free. In fact, 100% alpaca wool is more wrinkle-resistant than a blend.
Alpaca Is Non-Iron
Alpaca wool does not need to be ironed. In fact, ironing an alpaca woolen item will possibly cause it to change shape and to lose its form.
The heat from the iron can also cause damage to the fibers. Damaged fibers mean decreased quality, reduced softness, and potential misshaped forms. Ironing is therefore not only unnecessary, it is also highly discouraged.
Alpaca is Wash and Wear
Sometimes, items require ironing, steaming, fabric softeners, etc. etc. before you can wear it again. Other times, you wash it, you wear it. Those times are alpaca times.
To start with, alpaca wool barely needs any washing at all, and if you do decide to wash an alpaca woolen item, all you need to do once you’re done is to let it dry flat.
As long as you put an alpaca woolen item to dry in its original shape, there is no further action required. It really is wash and wear.
The best way to do this is to place the wet item between two towels. Then, you can gently squeeze out the water. Gently roll the item (if big enough) to squeeze out excess water. Make sure to maintain the original shape of the item. Replace the towels if the item is really wet and place the item flat, on a flat surface (a table works great).
I wrote an entire article on the best ways to wash alpaca woolen items. Read more about How To Wash Alpaca Woolen Items, here.
Can Alpaca Wool NEVER Lose Its Form?
You might wonder, does alpaca ever lose its form? It actually does. Nothing is perfect, even though alpaca wool gets really close to being it.
If an alpaca woolen item gets wet, and you leave it hanging dry or in any other way out of shape, it might cause the item to lose its form. This is mostly because of the weight of the water that the fibers will absorb when it gets wet.
In another article I wrote about whether Alpaca Wool Is Water Resistant, which it is. However, once an item gets soaked, the fiber will absorb the water. As you can imagine, that can be a lot of added weight for an item.
The same silky texture of the fiber that causes alpaca wool “to never lose its form” can cause it to actually lose its form when it gets wet. The lack of friction and the added weight will reshape an alpaca woolen item if it is improperly hung to dry.
What Can You Do If Alpaca Wool Actually Loses Its Form?
The best thing always, is to prevent, rather than cure something. Same goes for alpaca wool. Just don’t let it get out of shape.
If worst comes to worst, you can steam alpaca wool and gently put it back into place. This requires special care and attention, and you might want to check with your dry-cleaning service if they can help you with this. As I said before, alpaca wool might be strong and durable, you don’t want to risk treating it inappropriately.