How To Clean A Sheepskin Rug {Explained!}

Sheepskin rugs are wonderful things, aren’t they? Warm, snuggly, and great at hiding dirt and footprints! You may be wondering how to clean a sheepskin rug – after all, you can’t just stick them in the washing machine, can you?

Let’s have a look into the best ways to do this.

How To Clean A Sheepskin Rug?

Your sheepskin rug won’t actually need too much cleaning, thanks to the natural substances that repel dirt, grease and dust.

However, you want to keep it as nice as you can, for as long as you can, right? You can keep it clean without resorting to a washing machine or an expensive trip to the dry cleaners.

  1. Give it a good shake outside every day, to remove dust, dirt and bits that may have landed on it.
  2. Vacuum it once a week with a standard suction unit (avoid turbo or rotation units).
  3. Mop up any spills as soon as you spot them, using kitchen towel or a clean cloth, to prevent any staining.
  4. Avoid exposing your rug to too much sunlight for long periods of time, to prevent it from fading.
  5. Keep it dry. Wool takes forever to dry, so you should definitely avoid getting it damp or wet for long periods of time.

Can A Sheepskin Rug Be Washed?

Sheepskin is actually a really clever substance; wool is made from fibres coated in Lanolin. Lanolin naturally repels dust and dirt, so you probably won’t have to wash your rug nearly as often as you think you will!

The first thing to establish is whether your rug has a suede back  or a pelt back. If it is suede then it should be dry cleaned only. If it is pelt then it can be washed, but extra care must be taken.

If you machine wash your pelt backed sheepskin rug, the backing may harden and end up a different shape to when it went into the washing machine.

This is called boarding, and it can be a difficult thing to avoid! If you are desperate to machine wash your sheepskin rug, then read on…

  1. Wash it in water that is not too hot. 40 degrees C/104 degrees F is as hot as you want to go.
  2. Use a very mild washing detergent; one that is suitable for hand washing is ideal.
  3. Opt for as gentle a washing cycle as you can, to avoid distressing the fabric too much.
  4. Once it is washed, you will need to air dry it. Pegged on the line or laid out flat is the best option, to try to keep its shape.
  5. It may take a couple of days to dry as the wool fibres are very thick.
  6. You absolutely cannot tumble dry a sheepskin rug, although it seems like the convenient option. This will definitely ruin it!

How Do You Deep Clean A Sheepskin Rug?

As we have discussed, you won’t need to really wash your sheepskin rug too much, or too often.

If you have a disaster with your sheepskin rug however, you might need to do an emergency deep clean.

Blotting spills and stains as soon as they happen is all very well, but if you have a spill that covers your whole rug you might have to try something else:

  1. Place the rug into a bowl of lukewarm water with a little hand washing soap and gently swirl it around.
  2. Rinse it in another bowl of clean, lukewarm water to get the soap out, then remove it from the bowl.
  3. Allow the majority of the water to drip away, then very gently squeeze it. Spread it out to dry flat, or peg it on the line – it will take a long time to dry!
  4. Another thing you can do to keep your rug sparkling is to vacuum it. This will get rid of any dust and dirt, and will make the fibres lovely and fluffy too.
  5. If your sheepskin starts to smell, you can pretty easily solve this – wool is a natural odour suppressor, but it can get smelly if it gets damp.
  6. Simply give it a really good shake, then hang it outside on a sunny day to allow the fresh air to get to it.
  7. If your rug is in real need of some TLC, you can take it to a dry cleaners as a last resort.

This in depth video will show you how to give your sheepskin rug some real love and make it look its absolute best:

How Do You Bring A Sheepskin Rug Back To Life?

Sheepskin tends to wear very well, and it will generally last for a very long time. However, sometimes (like all of us!) it can look a little tired.

If you want to revitalise your sheepskin rug, there are a good few things you can try in order to bring it back to its former glory:

  • Brush it. Use a metal toothed comb (a pet comb will work just fine) to fluff up the wool fibres and make them look like new again.
  • Give it a good bashing. Hanging your sheepskin rug over the line and beating it with a flat paddle will remove all the dust that a daily shaking doesn’t remove.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner. Giving your sheepskin a bit of a hoover every couple of weeks will freshen it up no end.

It should be noted that these tricks should not be tried with a nursing sheepskin (ie one that is in a baby’s crib) or a medical sheepskin.

These are much shorter cropped sheepskins and should only be professionally washed, to maintain their efficacy.

Final Words

Now you now how to clean a sheepskin rug, you can keep all your furnishings as clean and sweet smelling as they can possibly be.

Cleaning a sheepskin rug isn’t too hard – once you know how to do it so that you don’t damage your favourite rug!