If you have decided to wash your alpaca fiber, you will want to make sure that you use a method that will not felt the alpaca fiber in the process. In
order to do this, you can choose to wash it in your washing machine or you can do it by hand.
As far as detergent, Dawn liquid detergent is probably the best. Always use the philosophy that less is better than more. (I'd
start by just using 2 teaspoons).
If you decide to use your washing machine, you will need to have the type of washing machine that will let you select to use only the soak and spin cycles. If you agitate your alpaca fiber, you will end up with felted alpaca fiber. So, select the cycle for hot water, let the alpaca fiber soak for 30 minutes, spin it, fill it with hot water, add a little detergent this time, let it soak for 30 minutes again, spin it, fill it with hot water again, let it soak for 30 minutes and then spin it for the last time.
If, on the other hand, you decide to wash it by hand, you can use either your kitchen sink or your bath tub depending upon how much alpaca fiber you plan on washing. As with the washing machine, you will add the hot water and let the alpaca fiber soak for 30 minutes. Drain the water, refill the basin, add a little detergent this time, let it soak for 30 minutes, drain the water, refill the basin and let it soak for another 30 minutes, drain the water and carefully squeeze the water out of the alpaca fiber.
Now, you're ready to dry your nice clean alpaca fiber. The best and quickest method is to lay it outside on a table or chair and let the sun dry it. If that is not an option, you can use a sweater rack. Note that it will likely take 24 hours to dry using this method.
Once its dry, you will definately see the difference washing makes.