Sheepskin rugs are natural because they are made from the skin of sheep and are permanently fixed to the wool fibers in the tanning process. These rugs are popular for their fluffy texture and softness. To keep it in pristine condition, you must learn how to clean sheepskin rug at home the safe way.
Wool and sheepskin are tricky materials to maintain their softness while deep cleaning. They get damaged with too much washing, so wash when required.
This guide will show you safe cleaning methods for your sheepskin rugs.
At a Glance – How to Clean Sheepskin Rug?
- Shake the sheepskin rug well to remove the dirt particles.
- Comb its wool with the right brush – specially made for wool.
- Use a simple suction vacuum to pick up residues of dirt and dust.
- If there are stains, clean them.
- Soak it in a large tub by mixing water with a safe cleaning solution.
- Rinse and air dry.
Tools and Materials Required
- Mild detergent
- Knife or spoon
- Large tub
- Baking soda
- Washing machine
- White cloth
- Paper towels
- Sheepskin brush
- Hair conditioner
- Wool wash
Cleaning a Natural Sheepskin Rug
Use the following tips to clean the sheepskin rug and keep it shiny.
Shaking and Brushing
Take the lambskin rug to an open area and shake it thoroughly. Usually, small sheepskin rugs are easy to shake by holding them. Repeat this step several times to remove the dust and dirt properly.
Large sheepskin rugs can be hung on a wall and beaten with a long wooden stick. Shaking will also restore its fluffy texture. Use a wire wool brush to remove the remaining soil from the rug’s fibers.
Vacuuming these rugs is easy, but ensure you are not using them with brushes and turbo because their fur will get tangled. Use a simple suction vacuum to remove the residues of dirt and soil. It will suck out the dust effectively.
Spot Cleaning the Stains
If any solid messes or spills happen on the rug, clean it as soon as possible before becoming a stain. Use a scraper to remove the mess as much as possible and blot the liquid residue with paper towels.
Nevertheless, you can use different methods to clean your sheepskin rug and get rid of various stains from it.
Removing Oily Stain
- Sprinkle cornstarch on the stained area. It will absorb the oil.
- Let it work on the stained area for 5 – 6 hours.
- Now, scrub it with a brush.
- Vacuum the area.
Remove Food and Mud Stains
- Make a mixture of warm water and lamb skin cleaning solution according to the instructions written on the label.
- Take a white cloth, dip it in the solution, and slightly wring it.
- Blot the stain with this cloth and keep pressing it.
- Repeat the blotting process until the stain is transferred into the cloth.
- When the stain disappears, dip another cloth in the clean area and blot the area to remove the residues of the solution.
- Let it dry.
- After drying, brush it to restore its fur.
Removing Bad Odors
Baking soda works best in getting out the bad smells from fibers.
- Generously, sprinkle baking soda on the entire rug.
- Spread it into the rug’s fibers thoroughly using a hand or brush.
- Leave the baking soda overnight to get better results. However, if you can’t leave it overnight, let it sit for a few hours.
- Now, shake the rug repeatedly and vacuum it to remove the residues of baking soda.
Before Washing, Read the Label
Mostly washable sheepskin rugs require extra attention. Read all the instructions written on its label before washing it. Many rugs require dry cleaning because they are dyed; directly washing them will discolor them.
Furthermore, small-sized rugs come with a machine-washing option on their label. If you select machine washing, you should keep a few things in mind. Use a top or front load washer, safe wool rug cleaning solution, cold water, and a gentle cycle to clean effectively.
Then, repeating the cycling in the machine can cause the discoloring of rugs, and their fibers will get curled. One can safely clean a white sheepskin rug via handwashing.
Preparing a Washing Solution
No matter how much you have protected your sheep rug from soil as well as dirt, a time will come when your rug will require washing. You must select the right detergent for it.
In addition to that, Read the manual of sheep rug cleaner; if it does not contain any enzymes, that could ruin your rug. Many cleaners are filled with lanolin, an organic fat in wool. It brings back the softness of its furry fibers after washing.
Lastly, fill a large tub with lukewarm water and mix sheep rug cleaner into it according to the guidelines written on its label.
Dip the Rug
Dip the rug into the cleaning solution properly and spend ten minutes squeezing the rug’s fibers.
Rinsing and Drying
Now, take out the rug and wring it slightly. Refill the tub with clean water and put this rug into the clean water.
Squeeze its fibers thoroughly in the water, take it out, and wring it slightly. Repeat this process until the residues of the cleaning solution disappear.
Remember that too much wringing can harm it, so always wring it a little bit. You can dry these rugs using towels. Hang them on a firm clothesline to air dry. Do not use a dryer to dry these rugs.
Brushing its Fibers
After drying the rug completely, comb it with a brush to bring back its fluffiness and softness. Use a brush when it’s dry, not on wet rugs.
Sheepskin Rug Washing Procedure
The washing procedure of natural and artificial sheepskin rugs is the same. Hand washing is the best way to clean them.
The natural sheep rug should be washed with the recommended cleaner, while you can use any mild detergent to wash the artificial sheep rug.
Never use a spinner to dry the rugs. Always hang them in any open air to dry. After drying, you can use the sheep skin brush to comb its tangled fibers. Furthermore, shaking them also restores their fluff.
Sometimes the fibers do not get smooth by shaking or brushing; you can use a hair conditioner to fix this issue.
- Take a bowl.
- Pour two cups of warm water and two teaspoons of hair conditioner.
- Mix it well.
- Fill a spray bottle with this solution.
- Apply it slightly to the fibers of the rug.
- Now comb the fibers with a soft brush.
- Wipe the rug’s surface using a soft dry cloth.
- Leave it to air dry.
Steam Method to Clean a Sheepskin Rug
The steam cleaning is a gentle method to clean sheepskin rugs; its results are the same as washing them. Steam cleaners or mops with nozzle attachments work best in removing dirt and dust.
If you steam in the direction of the fiber’s growth, you will also notice that the fibers are getting untangled.
Factors to Consider Before Washing Sheepskin Rug
The Softness of the Leather Backing
The softness of the leather backing will be no more as good as new. If you have dried it nicely and used a safe shampoo while washing, you will find it good so far. However, the result will not be as nice as the tanning process.
After drying, you can use a wooden stick to beat the back of the rug by hanging it on a clothesline. It will create softness in its fibers. During the manufacturing process of the sheepskin rug, they use this method to create softness.
Yellow Aged Color Will Never Remove
After using rugs for many years, their color changes, and they will become yellow-colored. This is called the aging of the wool. During the oxidizing process of wool, cellulose starts appearing, which is why the rug’s yellowing.
Exposing a sheepskin rug to sunlight or leaving it in an open area will turn it yellow. It occurs in twenty years, but the color changes gradually. Any cleaning solution or bleaching cannot remove the yellow color.
More than 15 Year Rugs are at a High Risk of Wash
The sheepskin rugs that are more than 15 – 20 years old are at high risk of damage by washing. Over time, the leather of sheepskin rugs slowly worsens and expires.
The leather may look fine, but after washing, it starts decomposing. If you have never washed a sheepskin rug and decide to wash it after 20 years suddenly, its leather will be removed.
In the whole life of the sheepskin rugs, if you have washed them a few times, their chances of damage are less. You can clean old leather with a leather-safe non-ionic cleaning solution; to lower its damaging risk.
Don’t spin an old rug in a machine because too much force will tear the leather apart. Older sheepskin rugs become delicate while wet and require a lot of care.
Impossible to Fix if Leather Backing Get Hard
When sheepskin leather gets brittle and hard, it is impossible to fix them. There are no oils and creams to soften the leather of the rugs. There are many reasons for the hardness of the leather. Some of them are given below:
- The fibers of the leather might be dried out by getting old. If you wash old leather, its fibers will shrink and tighten.
- The tanning process may not be appropriate for leather washing. Before washing it, you should know how sheepskin was tanned. The sheepskin tanned by chrome or white tanning is suitable to wash.
- Using a shampoo that is not recommended for leather can ruin it.
Brushing the Fibers is Necessary Before Washing
Most people ignore the step of brushing the fibers of the sheepskin rug thoroughly before washing it. It is a very important step before beginning the process of washing. If you didn’t comb the wool of the sheepskin rug, the untangled fibers would become knotted.
These knotted fibers will never be tangled again, even if you brush them after drying. The secret to getting lovely fluffy wool on these rugs is combing with the right brush.
Dyed Sheepskin Rugs Must Not be Washed
It’s not easy to check if the rug is dyed. The natural sheepskin rugs always have an off-white ivory color. You can observe its color; if it is a sparkling light cream, they are dyed.
Washing a dyed sheepskin rug will damage its color, and there is a high chance of chemical reaction between the cleaning solutions and the dye. Darker color rugs show that they are dyed, so avoid washing them.
The darker colors leave color during washing, and plenty of its color is lost with the cleaning products. You can fix this issue by adding one tablespoon of table salt into the cleaning solution. This will not allow color damage to these rugs.
The chemical reactions associated with lighter colors are easily visible, and their maintenance is difficult.
You can dry clean the dyed rugs instead of washing them as the risk of color damage is low in this way. But, hire an expert that has experience in sheepskin rugs dry cleaning.
Drying Process Must be Slow
Leave the sheepskin to dry slowly to get better results. In this way, the leather will not get hard. Allow it to air dry for around a week, and then spin it in the dryer with low warmth. Clean out the lint filter frequently; otherwise, it will be overheated by the dryer.
You can create a dry environment for your sheep skin rug using a dehumidifier. It also pulls extra humidity from the leather.
Maintenance of Sheepskin Rugs
- The sheepskin fibers can be kept straight, standing upright, and fluffy by brushing them regularly.
- Vacuuming helps in maintaining the appearance and hygiene of these rugs. But it should be run in the direction of the fur. Use a vacuum with a standard nozzle’s attachment and avoid using a rotating brush.
- Most frequently, shaking your rug will add more fluff to its wool.
- Avoid exposure to sunlight.
- Remove stains and spills as quickly as they happen.
- When they are wet, don’t comb their wool.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Method of Cleaning a Sheepskin Rug at Home?
Follow these steps to clean a sheep rug yourself.
- Remove dust by shaking and vacuuming.
- Clean out stains.
- Wash in a large tub.
- Rinse and air dry.
Is Machine Wash Safe for Cleaning a Sheepskin Rug?
Read the label that is attached to the rug. If the machine wash is written on the label, you must wash it by following all the given instructions.
Pour cold water into your washing machine and select woolen cycle on it. Always keep it on the slowest spin.
How Do You Deep Clean a Sheepskin Rug?
You can clean it deeply by shaking it in an open area to remove the dirt and dust. Repeat this process several times.
Now use a simple suction vacuum with a nozzle attachment to suck the deeply embedded dirt. Now wash it in a large tub with a safe cleaner.
Is Washing Good for Sheepskin?
A waxy substance is present in sheepskin which is called lanoline. It is discharged by the glands of animals that have wool. It delivers disinfected self-cleaning properties.
Whenever sheepskin is washed, it loses lanolin gradually. Therefore, these rugs become dull with time. So, it is not recommended to wash it every so often.
How to Restore the Fibers of a Sheepskin Rug?
You can refresh your sheepskin rug after washing it via a simple method. Add two teaspoons of hair conditioner to two cups of warm water and make a solution by mixing it.
Pour it into a spray bottle. Apply it slightly over the wool and comb with the brush in the right direction. Let it air dry.
Can You Wash Sheepskin with Woolite?
Woolite contains harsh chemicals like bleach and enzymes, so it is not recommended for sheepskin rugs.
In this article, you have learned how to safely clean a sheepskin rug at home. Protect it from dirt and dust and clean the spills and stains quickly as they happen.
This way, you will not be washing it too much because washing it most frequently can damage it. In case your rug is dirty enough that you have to wash it, always select the hand washing technique.
Avoid machine cleaning the sheepskin rug and combing before washing is important to bring back the softness of its wool.