Did you know that natural sheepskin rugs are very easy to care for and when washed they can look like new again?
It's true, let's show you how easy sheepskins are to wash if you have the right tools and knowledge.
I recently washed my two natural ivory double long-wool sheepskin rugs that I used beside our bed and are about five years old.
This is what my sheepskin looked like before washing. It was dirty, and it looked a bit grey when it should be ivory/off-white, the wool was matted and it had things stuck in it.
When's the best time to wash sheepskins?
It is best to wash sheepskins in the spring, summer or autumn (or use a dehumidifier inside in the winter).
Here's a pro tip to make the whole process much easier.
I gave my sheepskin a good brush with a proper sheepskin wool carding brush to get out as many knots as I could before the sheepskin got wet so that the wool did not matte up even more during the washing process.
I washed the double sheepskins in a bath using lukewarm water (38°C/100°F) and using a small amount of the Gorgeous Creatures sheepskin wool wash which is a non-ionic detergent and safe to wash leather.
Single or double sheepskins can also be washed on a gentle wool cycle in a washing machine if you don't want to hand wash. But I like the control that hand-washing gives me.
This is one of the most important things to remember.
Please ONLY use detergents that are non-alkaline, non-iconic and do not contain biological enzymes: DO NOT use Woolite or laundry detergents such as Tide or you will damage the sheepskin leather. DO NOT use a regular wool-wash - this is NOT safe for the leather.
The Gorgeous Creatures sheepskin wool wash is formulated to be safe to use on both the wool and the leather.
This is a very important point of difference, as most normal wool washes will harm the sheepskin leather and older sheepskins might fall apart if you use the wrong type of soap or detergent.
Another great pro tip is...
Don’t agitate or massage the sheepskin wool too much while washing; you just want a gentle action of water moving through the wool to dislodge dirt particles. But not so much movement that the wool mattes up like felt.
Swish the water gently for about 3 to 5 minutes. Release the dirty water and refill the bath with fresh warm water to rinse the last soap and dirt away. Repeat the rinse if needed until the water stays mostly clear. A double or triple rinse is recommended.
The next thing that you do is...
Roll the sheepskin rug up and squeeze out as much water as you can, let the skin drain for about 20 minutes and then transfer to a washing machine (if it fits) to spin out most of the excess water gently on a slow spin.
You could use a laundromat to spin out the excess water for larger sheepskins or let it drips dry but this will take a lot longer.
To dry the sheepskin rug I used a clean towel to lay it on (after spinning out excess water), and gently pulled the leather into shape making sure it is laying flat.
This bit is really essential.
It is important that the leather dries really slowly away from direct heat like direct sunlight and artificial heat or the leather could shrink or harden (I chose an overcast but warm day). Or if drying inside a dehumidifier on fan (cool air circulation - not hot) can help the drying time as well.
You CAN tumble dry your sheepskin on a LOW HEAT setting (if you use the hot setting you will ruin your sheepskin - this is critical).
I recommend a mixture of allowing the skin to dry naturally for about 3 days followed by the cool dryer to finish off the last little bit of dampness.
Take care not to place the sheepskin directly on a radiator, steam pipe or in front of a fan heater as this may damage the sheepskin rug leather or scorch the wool.
Don’t be tempted to speed up the drying process. Natural air flow can help the drying process as well.
Use a metal bristle wool carding brush (we sell the wool brush here) to brush the wool while it is still damp.
If it is a warm day the wool will dry very fast. Give the sheepskin wool another good brush as it dries and a final brush once completely dry.
The end result should be fluffy and knot free. Don't worry if some wool comes out in the wool carding brush - this is perfectly normal.
So what are the right tools for the job? Our Gorgeous Creatures woolskin wash and carding brush kit of course!
Another piece of advice worth sharing with you.
Dyed sheepskins should be dry cleaned because washing will most likely remove too much dye colouring.
If you do wash a dyed sheepskin rug use a teaspoon of table salt in the water to help fix the dye and to stop too much washing out.
Our two toned kids sheepskin rugs should not be washed in case the colourful dye runs into the white sheepskin areas.
Our important disclaimer and words of warning.
All sheepskin washing using these instructions is done at your own risk, as we have no way of knowing how your sheepskin was tanned or how old it is. Or if it has been exposed to excessive sunlight which can weaken and perish the leather fibers. We don't recommend that you wash a sheepskin rug if it is more than 10 years old. It might fall apart if it is perished and you won't know until you try. If your sheepskin has yellowed with age this is sun damage or oxidization and washing will not remove the yellow colour.
We do recommend our non-ionic sheepskin wool wash to wash all sheepskin rugs (10 years old or younger), sheepskin pet beds, sheepskin UGG boots and our wool wash is also great for any woolen blankets, throws or knitted garments.
This special Gorgeous Creatures wool wash is safe for the wool AND the leather which is what makes it unique.
This wool fleece & natural fibre shampoo is so versatile it can be used for a wide range of purposes.
Safely wash sheepskin & lambskin rugs (safe for the leather), baby Lambie rugs, UGG boots, sheepskin wool underlays, cashmere, mohair, angora, alpaca or any type of wool blankets, all woolen garments and knitwear.
- Wash your sheepskin and lambskins rugs knowing the leather will be soft and unharmed
- Wash your woollen clothing, jumpers, sweaters - anything made from knitted wool
- Wash cashmere or mohair throws and blankets
- Wash your sheepskin UGG boot, Lambie blankets and wool underlays
- Wash children's toys and favourite blankets (and know that they are really clean and sanitized!)
- Wash duvet inners, pillows and bedding - to insure a safe, clean and sanitized place to sleep for the whole family
- Wash gym clothes and shoes - reduces occurrence of body odour and fungal infections
- Wash delicate underwear & lingerie - reduces occurrence of fungus/thrush and skin infections
- Low sensitively laundry detergent - great for people who are allergic to normal laundry detergents
- Suitable for either machine or hand-washing
- Effective against house dust mite & pet allergens
- Non-ionic detergent, non-toxic, antibacterial & biodegradable
- Colour safe & natural - a pleasant mild Tea-tree oil scent
- Can be safely used with septic systems and grey water outlets