Home Cleaning Tips: Safely Clean a Sheepskin Rug Without Causing Any Harm

There is a widespread concern when it comes to washing cherished items, particularly those that have come with a significant price tag. This anxiety often stems from the fact that these pieces are made of natural fibers, which are perceived as more challenging to wash compared to their synthetic counterparts.

Wool and sheepskin fall into this category, but in reality, they are both incredibly easy to maintain. The unique composition of wool gives it a natural resilience and sturdiness, making it highly effective at repelling and removing dirt. As a result, your sheepskin products do not require frequent washing as you might assume.

Can sheepskin be washed?

Image: Sheepskin Cushions (Matuki) displayed on a One Half Sheepskin Rug (Glen Dene)

Sheepskin can indeed be washed, but it should be your last resort when it comes to tackling dirt or spills. Instead, the best starting point is to regularly vacuum and shake your sheepskin products outside to ensure a thorough overall cleaning.

If there are specific areas or stains that require attention, it's recommended to try spot cleaning before anything else. For detailed instructions on how to remove specific stains, refer to my guide on stain removal. If you still feel that your sheepskin product needs further cleaning, consider taking it to a professional dry cleaner.

While washing a sheepskin using water at home can benefit the wool fibers, it can cause the suede on the back to harden and eventually distort the shape over time.

How can you clean a sheepskin rug at home?

Vacuuming, vacuuming, vacuuming! Sheepskin craves regular and thorough vacuuming. By incorporating this routine and complementing it with a good shake and some time in the fresh air, you'll find that you rarely need to do much else to keep your sheepskin rug clean.

In the event of an unexpected accident, as we all experience from time to time, the most important thing to remember is to contain the stain to prevent it from spreading. Avoid pouring water or other liquids directly onto the stain as this will only make matters worse and potentially damage the sheepskin backing. Instead, use a clean dry towel or paper towels to blot the excess liquid firmly. Then, utilize a commercial wet stain remover, which can be easily purchased from most supermarkets.

If the stain covers a large area, we recommend placing a towel down and applying pressure through standing on it to quickly absorb the excess liquid. It is crucial to remove as much liquid as possible in the initial step, as this will reduce the amount of stain remover needed and yield the best results. Apply the wet stain remover according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

How can you eliminate the odor from a sheepskin rug?

Image: Quarto Sheepskin Rug (Minaret)

Sheepskin rugs naturally possess odor-fighting properties. The wool fibers absorb odor molecules, effectively trapping them and making them less noticeable to the human nose.

If, for some unknown reason, your sheepskin rug starts emitting an unpleasant odor, it may be due to a spill or moisture absorption. As always, begin by thoroughly vacuuming and shaking the rug outside to eliminate any surface dirt or debris.

Another effective solution is to hang the sheepskin rug in a shady area on a dry day. Allowing it to breathe and be exposed to fresh air for several hours can help eliminate any lingering smells. If these methods fail, you can consider using a commercial dry stain remover or opting for a dry cleaning service.

Is it safe to wash a rug in a washing machine?

Although it may be tempting, it is not recommended to toss your sheepskin rug into a washing machine if you want to preserve its luxurious appearance for years to come. Even on a cold and delicate cycle, submerging the rug completely in water can have a negative impact on its overall look.

While the wool fibers might come out looking beautiful, the skin beneath could become hardened, causing the rug to lose its original shape. However, with appropriate caution, a sheepskin rug can withstand a few washes throughout its lifespan, though it may acquire some additional character in the process.

Is it safe to use bleach on sheepskin?

If you notice a yellow stain on your sheepskin rug that can be spot cleaned, you can attempt to remove it yourself using a diluted mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water. Apply this solution sparingly and blot the stain gently. This method can significantly lighten the stained area, but be cautious, as a stronger peroxide solution can damage both the wool and leather components. Alternatively, white vinegar can be used as a milder alternative, although it may leave behind an undesirable odor.

How can you restore the whiteness of a yellowed sheepskin rug?

Above: Check out the Quarto Sheepskin Rug (Cardrona) here.

Sheepskin rugs naturally have a wool color that tends more towards a grayish tone rather than bright white. Additionally, prolonged exposure to UV rays from the sun can cause a slight yellowing effect. If the rug has been treated or colored during the tanning process, it may gradually revert back to this natural hue. However, you can slow down this process by reducing direct sunlight exposure.

If your rug has yellowed due to age or sun exposure, seeking professional cleaning services that specialize in wool whitening solutions can partially reverse the staining. However, it's important to note that complete reversal is rarely possible, so taking preventive measures to avoid yellowing for as long as possible is recommended. This includes keeping the room well-ventilated and minimizing direct sunlight exposure through windows and doors.

Furthermore, it is advisable to keep the rug away from high humidity areas such as near air conditioning ducts. When not in use, store the sheepskin in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated cupboard or chest.

How can you soften sheepskin after washing?

After washing a sheepskin rug with water, the leather will never regain the same level of softness as it had when it first came from the tannery. Various factors, such as the age of the sheepskin, the tanning process employed, the cleaning agents used, and the drying method, can influence how the sheepskin dries after washing. Some sheepskins may still retain their excellent appearance after washing, depending on the tanning process used.

Effective Techniques for Maintaining the Optimal Condition of Your Sheepskin Rug:

- Opt for a specialized detergent designed specifically for sheepskin/wool. It is crucial that the detergent is non-biological and pH neutral to prevent any damage to the rug. To ensure a successful outcome, it is advisable to conduct a patch test on a discreet area before proceeding.

- When drying the rug, choose a slow drying method in a shaded area. Lay the rug flat on the floor, away from direct sunlight.

- Once the rug is completely dry, enhance its suppleness by employing a wooden stick to gently beat the back of the sheepskin. Hang the rug on a clothesline and strike the leather side. This step is reminiscent of the original tanning process and contributes to achieving a pliable leather texture.

Can a Sheepskin Rug Be Tumble Dried?

Under no circumstances should a sheepskin rug be placed in a tumble dryer. The natural leather of the sheepskin will become dry, distorted, and prone to developing cracks over time. It is best to treat the leather side of your sheepskin with the same care as you would your own skin. Excessive dryness may lead to creasing and cracking. For optimal results, allow your sheepskin to air dry in a shaded area or lay it flat on a towel until it is completely dry.

How Can You Maintain the Fluffiness of a Sheepskin Rug?

Above: Explore the Quarto Sheepskin Rug (Gladstone) here.

Nothing compares to the luxuriousness of a brand new sheepskin rug. Its silky, soft texture is truly exceptional. While sheepskin rugs are durable, their appearance and feel can be preserved for a longer period with consistent maintenance.

Regular vacuuming is the key to maintaining fluffiness. By staying on top of this task from the beginning, you will notice that your sheepskin is less prone to flattening. Vacuuming doesn't have to be an additional chore; simply run the vacuum over the rug while doing your regular floor cleaning. Additionally, giving the rug a good shake outdoors contributes to preserving its fluffiness.

The level of usage your rug experiences on a daily basis influences how frequently you should shake it out and how quickly the fibers become flattened. Over time, you might need to provide some extra assistance to the fibers. In such instances, a brush with metal bristles can be beneficial. However, be cautious as it may result in a "fizzy" appearance. Test the brush on a small corner before brushing the entire rug. To minimize the "fizz," lightly mist the rug with water from a spray bottle and scrunch the fibers with your hands after brushing.

How Can I Restore the Softness of My Sheepskin Rug?

Above: Discover the Quarto Sheepskin Rug (Matuki) here.

If your sheepskin rug has lost its loftiness and no longer feels light and airy, it is likely that it has been cherished as a valuable part of your family for many years. If vacuuming, shaking, and airing the rug have not yielded the desired results, consider taking it to your local dry cleaner to revive its charm.

Alternatively, you can try using a sheepskin-specific shampoo to wash the rug at home. Follow the instructions provided with the product to effectively restore its softness.

Can Sheepskin Rugs Be Made Waterproof?

There are protective sprays available in the market that have been formulated to establish a layer of water resistance on the suede side of sheepskin. These particular products are primarily intended for the application on sheepskin footwear, wherein the wool is located on the interior of the said shoe or boot. However, it is worth noting that these products could also have a favorable effect if applied on the underside of a sheepskin rug.

It is important to acknowledge that the wool fibers of a sheepskin possess a natural resistance to water. Consequently, any liquid that comes into contact with these fibers will accumulate on the surface, allowing it to be easily removed without causing any staining.

Now, the following question arises: How should one go about storing sheepskin items? Thankfully, one of the major benefits of sheepskin is that it does not require delicate handling. When it comes to storing any sheepskin product, there are a couple of cardinal rules that ought to be followed. Firstly, it is imperative to ensure that the item is completely dry before it is put away. Secondly, it is crucial to store the item in a dry environment.

Sheepskin rugs can be rolled up in a neat manner, and it is recommended to roll them with the suede side facing outward. This method of storage serves to safeguard the wool fibers and ensures they maintain their luscious appearance for an extended period of time.

By devoting a small amount of regular care and attention, one can effectively preserve the pristine condition of their sheepskin rug, allowing it to retain a brand new look for years to come.

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