Disadvantages of Alpaca Wool

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Disadvantages of Alpaca wool
Disadvantages of Alpaca wool

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?

Disadvantages of Alpaca wool: Photo by Alec Favale on Unsplash

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.  

  1. Possibly itchy
  2. Expensive
  3. Not vegan
  4. Sensitive to moths
  5. Industrially dyed
  6. Long-distance shipping negatively impacts environment
  7. Fair labor and wages aren’t always guaranteed
  8. 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?

Disadvantages of Alpaca wool: Photo by Kate Hliznitsova on Unsplash

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 WoolMicron LevelLevel of Itchiness
Royal and baby AlpacaLess than 20 micronsItch-free
Ranges between 18-23 microns21-29 microns  Mostly Itch-free
Common Alpaca Ranges between 23-40 micronsMore 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?

Disadvantages of Alpaca wool: Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash

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 WoolMicron Level
Alpaca  23-26.5
Baby Alpaca  21-22.5
  Royal Alpaca  18-20  
Merino  15-25  
Cashmere  15-19 

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 GarmentOnline price
Scarf$ 80
Shawl$ 90
Ruana$ 230
Sweaters$ 110 – 150
Hats$ 30 
Blankets$ 100

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.

Why should you buy Alpaca wool items? :Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

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.

Is Alpaca wool vegan?: Photo by Roam In Color on Unsplash
Type of VeganismDescription
Dietary veganismNot consuming any meat, dairy, eggs, or other animal-derived products.
Ethical veganismIn all parts of life, refrain from using animal derived products.
Environmental veganismAttempts 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?

Disadvantages of Alpaca Wool: Photo by Jazz Bainbridge on Unsplash

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.

              Black

              Brown

              White

              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?

6 COMMENTS

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