Handmade clothes are generally not as durable on repeated washing / cleaning as factory made. They have a tendency to stretch, shrink, or lose shape. Especially if you machine wash them. How sensitive they are depends greatly on the type of yarn used. Things made from pure wool can be felted if not handled with care.
Untreated wool and alpaca need not be washed frequently. Wool contains lanolin and is self-cleaning. Many times it is enough to take a damp cloth and dry a little on the stain. The alpaca contains sulfur and is self-cleaning. But sometimes you still need to wash them in the machine, especially when they are newly made.
Do not forget to do a test tag that you wash in the same way you will do with your finished project. Then you can see if it keeps the shape, shrinks, stretches or felt. If the yarn is superwash-treated or alpaca, you should hang it up to see how much it stretches.
The banners around the yarn usually have washing thread and care information, it is a good idea to save a banner from each project so you can go back and see. If you are giving away handmade items, consider sending with a small washcloth so the person who knows how to best handle the gift.
If you want to be sure that the garment will not be destroyed you should wash by hand, but there are several yarns today that are designed to be machine washable. If you are washing machine, there are special detergents to use (eg Y3).
When you hand-wash your homemade garments, you start by filling water in a tub. The water must be max 30 degrees so it will feel cold. Use a detergent for wool, preferably one with lanolin. If the garment is of alpaca, you can use a mild shampoo. 2-3 teaspoons are sufficient and the detergent should be dissolved in the water before the garment is added.
Lay the garment gently, gently pressing on the garment until it is soaked. Don't be too harsh because it can be felt. Leave it on for 10-20 minutes, then gently squeeze again and lift it up. It is important to be careful and not to turn the water off without pressure.
If you have used a wool detergent without lanolin or shampoo, the garment should also be rinsed.
Fill the tub with new water max 30 degrees. Let the garment get soaked again, squeeze gently. Lift up and squeeze out of the water. Repeat this until the rinsing water is completely clear. If you want to keep the colors you can have a little vinegar in the water, it also helps to keep bad odors away. Use a clean towel and gently squeeze out the water.
Place the garment on a dryer, stretch it in the correct shape, turn the garment several times and change the towel underneath when it becomes too moist. Homemade garments should be plant dried.
Alpaca garments usually stretch and become longer if they are hung up. When dry, fold it together and keep it lying down. Angora needs air and is therefore best stored at the top of the shelf. Use cedar balls or lavender to avoid getting moths in your garments.