Before purchasing one, it’s worth considering how to clean sheepskin rugs. Genuine sheepskin rugs are actually very easy to care for. Washing your rug using the proper methods can make it look as good as new.
It’s important to note that every sheepskin rug is different and that submerging your rug in water normally leads to some shrinkage. So, it’s always best to consult any instructions that arrived with your rug or the brand’s website before beginning.
1. Prepare your sheepskin rug for cleaning
Step number one is to prepare your rug for cleaning. You want your sheepskin rug to be in the best possible condition before washing it.
Start off by shaking it outside to dislodge any dust, dirt and animal hair. Give it a light ruffle using your hands as well. Don’t worry about removing every molecule of dust; this step should just remove any large pieces of dirt.
Next, use a wide-tooth comb or a sheepskin brush to remove any knots or tangles. This is also a good way to remove hair and extra dirt from the rug. Be sure to work slowly so as not to damage the sheepskin. If you have a pet, using a clean grooming brush for this step could work.
2. Wash your sheepskin rug
Step number two is washing your sheepskin rug. The first thing to do here is to check the instructions that accompany your rug. They might be sewn into the rug’s underside, displayed on the brand’s website or enclosed when you receive your rug. If your rug didn’t come with any instructions on how to clean sheepskin rugs then always hand wash, just to be on the safe side. Some rugs should be cleaned by professionals only.
If you are washing your sheepskin rug at home, we recommend buying a natural sheepskin detergent and hand-washing it.
Hand-washing your sheepskin rug
First, choose where you’re going to clean your rug. Depending on the size of your rug, you may use a bathtub, sink or large bucket to clean it in.
Second, fill your chosen vessel with the recommended quantity of detergent and cool or lukewarm water. Hot water could damage your rug so it’s important the water isn’t too warm. If you aren’t sure, err on the side of caution and make the water colder.
Third, use your hands to move the rug around in the water for about five minutes. This should be long enough to dislodge any dirt. Use this time to target any stubborn stains you might have using a clean rag. Do not wring it and try to be as gentle as possible so you don’t create lots of knots.
Finally, drain the water and refill the container with cool, clean water. Swish the rug around the clean water to remove any excess detergent or dirt. Repeat this process as many times as it takes until the water runs clean.
3. The drying process
When drying your sheepskin rug, tumble dryers are out of the question. The most important thing to do it let it dry flat. Whilst it’s drying, regularly brush out any knots that may have been created in the cleaning process. This helps your rug be as fluffy as possible once dry.
Be careful not to wring or twist the rug as this may affect its shape. Instead, squeeze it or blot it using a towel. Leave the rug to dry flat in a warm environment. It should be out of direct sunlight and not directly next to a heater.
4. Looking after your sheepskin rug
Once it’s clean, there are a few things to remember when it comes to everyday maintenance of you sheepskin rug. All rugs like a bit of TLC every now and then, so treat it well to get the best out of it.
Consider where you are placing your rug. Never position it on a damp surface as this can encourage rot over time. Long-term exposure to sunlight may discolour your rug. To avoid this, turn it every couple of months so that all corners are regularly exposed to sunlight.
Arrange it carefully alongside your furniture. Coffee table and sofa legs will leave indentations on rugs and crush the carpet fibres. To avoid damaging your rug, add some form of protection under the legs and move your furniture around regularly.
Protect it from insects. More specifically, protect your sheepskin rug from moths. Moths love to eat natural fibres. Lift your rug every six months or more regularly if possible. This will discourage insects from settling.
5. How not to care for a sheepskin rug
Don’t place heavy items of furniture on it. If you must, make sure you move both the rug and the furniture regularly to avoid damaging its natural fibres.
Never use biological washing powders when cleaning a sheepskin rug. Only use specialist shampoo.
Try to wash it as rarely as possible. Washing a sheepskin rug can lead to shrinkage so only wash it when it’s essential. If there are small marks, try spot cleaning them instead of cleaning the whole rug.
Never dry your sheepskin rug in hot places, like on top of a radiator, in bright sunlight or in a tumble dryer.