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Tips for Cleaning an Alpaca Skin Rug

Laurie Brenner
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One of the most attractive features that alpaca skin rugs possess is that they do not fade or yellow with age. A smaller relative of the llama, the alpaca is a South American domesticated species in the same family as camels. Alpaca wool is prized for sweaters, hats, soft children's toys or socks.

South Americans have domesticated alpacas to use their wool.

The pelts are also used as rugs, and usually have the fur attached on one side.

Do Not Wash

Alpaca skin rugs or pelts are like leather, but softer, so you cannot wash them, steam-clean them or get them wet. If you do, you could cause the pelt to discolor, stiffen or change its shape completely. Washing causes the natural oils in the hide to dry out and may ruin the rug or make its fur less soft. The hide also hardens with washing.

Powder Clean

Lightly douse the rug with baby powder or cornstarch. Place it outside where it can hang in the sun for a couple of hours. Brush the powder into the hide with a hairbrush or other soft-bristle brush. After brushing, shake the rug to remove excess powder or cornstarch. Repeat the process as needed to restore your rug.

Vacuum Lightly

Use the soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner wand to pull any loose debris out of the rug's fur. Do not run the vacuum cleaner over the rug; use only the attachments to avoid damaging it. To restore the rug's fur, brush it vigorously with a hairbrush.

Liquid Spills

Blot up the spill with a paper towel or soft cloth. Apply cornmeal, salt, flour or baking soda to clean the area and absorb excess liquids. You can spot-clean some stains to remove any discoloration. Create a cleaning solution comprising a few drops of shampoo or mild soap mixed in a cup of warm water. Add a small bit of cornmeal to the soapy water and thoroughly mix. Clean the spill with a cotton cloth dipped in the mixture, but avoid saturating the area with the liquid. Wipe with a damp cloth to remove soapy residue. If the liquid created a stain, add a bit of oxygen bleach to the mix. Dry with a hair dryer set on warm, without overheating the pelt.

Not for Wet Areas

Alpaca rugs are not meant for use in a bathroom or an area where they can get exposed to water; this exposure can harden the pelt or make it smell. After cleaning any liquid spills and drying it, powder and brush the hide to revitalize it. Lightly powder your rug before storing it in a dry area.