Alpaca wool is taken from the natural fiber Alpaca. It has two types namely Huacaya which is fluffy and Suri which is similar to natural silk. The first type Huacaya is warmer and has no lanolin which can make it hypoallergenic. Hence this type of Alpaca wool shares some qualities with sheep wool. In general, Alpaca wool is water repellant as well as fire resistant. Even though the Huacaya is suitable for knitting and has natural crimp, Suri has no crimp. Interestingly, the reputed manufacturer of Armani is using Suri Alpaca wool for his fashion industry. As you can already notice, Alpaca wool has marked its place on the fashion world. Therefore, it is also important to learn what the disadvantages of Alpaca wool are. Let us discover by reading this article.
What Are the Disadvantages of Alpaca Wool?
The reputed and widely preferred Alpaca wool has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here, I am going to reveal potential disadvantages of alpaca wool and the possible solutions.
- Possibly itchy
- Not vegan
- Sensitive to moths
- Industrially dyed
- Long-distance shipping negatively impacts environment
- Fair labor and wages aren’t always guaranteed
- Animal friendly treatment isn’t always guaranteed
Despite these downsides, you can still be satisfied with Alpaca wool. Because it a very conscious selection among other woolen materials. Moreover, you can find solutions for most of the drawbacks.
Why Alpaca Wool is Itchy?
One of the frequent complaints of Alpaca woolen products is its itchiness for sensitive skin. As mentioned above, hypoallergenic quality of Alpaca wool provides a perfect alternative to people who are allergy to wool. Sadly, this non allergy material is not free of itchiness. Therefore, Alpaca wool is not for people with sensitive skin.
|Type of Alpaca Wool||Micron Level||Level of Itchiness|
|Royal and baby Alpaca||Less than 20 microns||Itch-free|
|Ranges between 18-23 microns||21-29 microns||Mostly Itch-free|
|Common Alpaca Ranges between 23-40 microns||More than 30 microns||Itchy|
As you can see, low levels of microns indicate low levels of itchiness and vice versa.
Can people with sensitive skin wear Alpaca Wool items?
For people with extremely sensitive skin, this type is itchy. However, there is something you can try. If you choose baby alpaca (21- 23 microns), there won’t be any itchiness or skin irritation as it is soft enough to wear.
Besides Royal (18 and 20 microns) Alpaca is softer than baby alpaca. However, it is more expensive than the latter. And make sure you buy non blended 100% Baby Alpaca or Royal Alpaca items.
|Type of Alpaca Wool||Micron Level|
Is Alpaca Wool Expensive?
Yes. This is why Alpaca wool becomes a luxury good. Sometimes, it is a downside for people with limited budget. However, Alpaca wool is not an unaffordable good too. In comparison to synthetic and unsustainable fiber, Alpaca wool is expensive. But it seems cheaper when compared to other luxury fibers.
The list of items below will give you a slight idea of Alpaca price ranges.
|Type of Garment||Online price|
|Sweaters||$ 110 – 150|
Why should you buy Alpaca wool items?
For this, let us go for an economic perspective. Now answer me how many years are you planning to wear an alpaca woolen item? You might have different answers. But I can give you a hint. Actually, you can wear it for around 20-25 years. If you compare the cost of buying a new scarf or a sweater every year, your alpaca woolen item will save your money for 25 years.
Is Alpaca wool vegan?
If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, you may know the difference between the two terms. Vegetarians are not consuming animal products. But vegan is stricter than vegetarians in this regard. They refuse all the animal-derived substances including wool. Obviously, Alpaca wool is not vegan. If you want more insight into veganism, I can brief you as follows.
|Type of Veganism||Description|
|Dietary veganism||Not consuming any meat, dairy, eggs, or other animal-derived products.|
|Ethical veganism||In all parts of life, refrain from using animal derived products.|
|Environmental veganism||Attempts to decrease the negative impact of the animal-industries on the environment.|
However, producing alpaca wool does not kill the alpacas. But vegans have started to raise awareness and reject alpaca wool items.
Alpaca Wool Is Sensitive to Moths
As a strong mammal fiber, Alpaca wool attracts moths, and it shortens the lifetime of alpaca woolen items. A small unattractive hole in any woolen item can ruin its quality. Therefore, moths can harm your knitted or woolen items. But there is a potential solution for this as well. People who are good at knitting, can fix their items with what they already know about knitting. But what others can do?
Make sure you store your alpaca items in air-tight bags until next winter. And also, you can add natural cedar wood inside your wardrobe as it kills moth larvae. Sadly, cedar wood cannot kill eggs or older moths.
Is Alpaca Wool Industrially Dyed?
Did you know the original color range of alpaca wool? They are black, white, brown and grey. However, their shades and blends together count 22 different colors. But any other bright and vibrant color that is missing in the above range is not natural, but industrially dyed. In earlier times, indigenous people have used herbal coloring techniques to dyeing purposes.
But today, this has developed to an industrial process. Further, alpaca wool is very responsive to colors. But the coloring process gives rise to another disadvantage of alpaca wool as it is no longer biodegradable.
How to choose biodegradable alpaca wool?
hopefully, the best way to choose a natural alpaca woolen item is to choose its natural-colored items.
Grey and their shades
Any other color will be artificial. Last but not least you can refer reputed organizational assistance (GOTS, USDA Organic, OEKO-TEX, Fairtrade International and FAIR-TRADE USA etc.,) in selecting original alpaca wool. These organizational standards ensure best quality alpaca wool. Therefore, you can prevent possible disadvantages of alpaca wool.
So, today our focus was on disadvantages of alpaca wool. So let us meet with another article on advantages of alpaca wool. Until then enjoy our articles How to Stretch Linen? and How to Unshrink Linen?