How to Clean a Sheepskin Rug — The Ultimate Guide

How to Clean a Sheepskin Rug — The Ultimate Guide

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How to clean a sheepskin rug is a question you ask around five minutes after bringing one into your home for the first time. Sheepskin rugs haven?t gone out of fashion yet, and we?re willing to bet that they won?t for a long time.

They add a touch of warmth to a bedroom or a touch of class to a living room. With the right care, they can be an enduring addition to your home, but how do you clean a sheepskin rug whilst keeping it looking as beautiful as the day you unwrapped it?

The Importance of Sheepskin Rug Care

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To understand why quality sheepskin rug care is vital to keeping your rug in shape, you first need to remember that sheepskin isn?t just one material or the other. Most of us have effective ways of cleaning wool and leather, but what about when you have both in one rug? Simply putting your sheepskin into the washing machine and utilising the ?wool wash? setting might work for the wool, but what about the leather? We?ve heard plenty of horror stories about rugs literally falling apart once they?ve been through the washing machine. While some manufacturers still recommend wool wash cleaning, we wouldn?t advise you to risk it. Instead, you have a couple of options.

To understand why quality sheepskin rug care is vital to keeping your rug in shape, you first need to remember that sheepskin isn?t just one material or the other. Most of us have effective ways of cleaning wool and leather, but what about when you have both in one rug? Simply putting your sheepskin into the washing machine and utilising the ?wool wash? setting might work for the wool, but what about the leather? We?ve heard plenty of horror stories about rugs literally falling apart once they?ve been through the washing machine. While some manufacturers still recommend wool wash cleaning, we wouldn?t advise you to risk it. Instead, you have a couple of options.

If you?re feeling confident, you can wash your sheepskin rug at home ? providing you have a big enough tub. Some people are happy to give DIY sheepskin cleaning a go, while the very idea horrifies other people. After all, a sheepskin rug can be a once-in-a-lifetime purchase, and they?re terrified of ruining it. If this is you, then you also have the option to have your rug dry cleaned. Most dry cleaners, especially bigger companies, have plenty of experience in cleaning them and will ensure that they look after them properly. Indeed, dry cleaning may be your best option if you have a coloured rug or it?s too large for you to clean at home.

Whichever way you decide to wash your sheepskin rug, just remember that it needs to be treated with care. Sheepskin cleaning is a tricky business and you don?t want to damage the centrepiece of your room when it still has a long life ahead of it.

Reasons for Cleaning Your Sheepskin Rug

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One of the first questions you need to address is whether washing your sheepskin rug is necessary. While we?re used to just putting things in the washing machine when they?re slightly dirty, washing sheepskin is altogether different. So, to start off with, always try and protect your rug, wherever it is in the home. Keep sticky fingers away from it and ensure that people don?t bring their muddy boots into the vicinity. The best form of sheepskin rug cleaning is prevention, so bear that in mind before you even consider buying one.

It?s true, though, that accidents happen. In the first instance, immediately treat any small spillages to prevent them growing into bigger problems. Spot cleaning with a damp cloth is the best way to attack small spillages. Add a tiny amount of wool detergent to the cloth if necessary, but definitely don?t overload it. Catching small spills early saves time and trouble later on.

Dirt is another common issue that can be handled without subjecting the sheepskin to a complete wash or dry clean. For example, flakes of mud that have attached themselves to the fibres can be brushed away gently with a specialist brush. Investing in a metal bristle sheepskin brush could be a rug saver for your home, allowing you to keep the rug smooth and soft whilst getting rid of any troublesome dirt lurking amongst the wool.

Unfortunately, spot cleaning and brushing won?t always do the trick. If stains are larger and you feel as though your rug needs a deep clean, proceed with caution. Knowing what to avoid when cleaning your sheepskin rug will go a long way towards keeping it safe and keeping you happy.

Cleaning Methods to Avoid When Cleaning Sheepskin

Image for postA Clean sheepskin rug

Opinion is divided on detergent options for washing sheepskin. Our advice is to steer clear of normal wool wash products, simply because they?re designed for wool but not leather. You may get away with it if you?re spot cleaning, but using it for a full wash risks damaging the leather beyond repair. Using detergents which are non-alkaline and non-bionic is going to be best for the sheepskin. There are several reputable sheepskin cleaning products on the market that ensure the rug is treated as gently as possible. The wrong soap or shampoo has led to rugs stiffening and cracking after washing, and there?s also the danger that the wool will matt up too. Gently does it when it comes to sheepskin washing.

The gentle approach should also be taken when the washing process gets underway. We?ve already mentioned that it?s best not to use a washing machine for sheepskin cleaning. Just remember that it?s not necessary to replicate the action of a washing machine when you?re handwashing the rug. Violent motions can damage the fibres and the leather, so be careful as you move water in and around the rug. It?s a fine balance between moving the sheepskin around gently enough to protect the integrity of the rug and moving it with enough force to remove any dirt particles that are hanging around. Start agitating the rug gently with your hands and then gradually increase the motions if the dirt remains stubborn. Don?t try and rush through the cleaning process ? that?s a step on the road to damaging your rug beyond repair. Take your time and you?ll be grateful when the rug?s clean and dry.

How to Clean Sheepskin Rug

Image for postHow to clean sheepskin rug

So, if you?ve decided to clean your sheepskin rug at home using quality sheepskin cleaning products, how do you go about it? As mentioned above, you?ll need to set aside plenty of time for the washing and drying process. You?ll know from how luxurious sheepskin feels against your feet that it?s a thick, sumptuous material, and that takes time to dry.

You?ll need a vessel large enough to wash the rug in. Some people use washing tubs, although the bath is also a popular choice for home washing sheepskin. Since you?ll be treating it with gentle detergents, the usual concerns about mixing personal hygiene with cleaning products are minimised. When you?re thinking about how much water to put in the tub, there?s no need to go mad. Add enough water to cover the rug comfortably, ensuring that your hands can move around without constantly pulling the rug in and out of the water. The water should be lukewarm ? no more than 38?C ? and don?t overdo it on the amount of detergent you put in. It?s better to wash the rug gently and not achieve the desired results first time than to damage it by being a little too heavy-handed at the start.

Your intention should be to gently propel water through the wool. Swish the rug around in the water for 3 to 5 minutes and watch the dirt slowly dislodge from the sheepskin. Don?t be tempted to leave it in for longer as you risk damaging the rug through prolonged exposure to water and detergent.

Release the dirty water from the tub and then refill with fresh warm water (around the same temperature). This will rinse away any residual detergent and dirt, but you may have to do it several times for the water to run clear. Once you?ve let the water out for the last time, roll up the rug and squeeze as much of the excess water out of it as possible.

Drying your sheepskin rug may be the final element, but it?s also something that can?t be rushed. You don?t want to dry it in direct sunlight or other forms of direct heat. This could cause the leather to harden or shrink, negating all your hard work washing the rug in the first place. So, don?t be tempted to rush this stage. Stretch it out on a clean towel and ensure that the rug?s completely flat so that it doesn?t dry in an awkward position. It?s also possible to dry sheepskin on a low setting in the tumble dryer, but that can take a long time and you can?t speed up the process by simply turning up the heat. Keep brushing the rug with your specialist sheepskin brush during the drying process and the fibres should settle together as easily as they did when you first bought it.

Sheepskin Cleaning Top Tips

Image for postSheekskin rug in living room

Hopefully, after reading this, you don?t think that sheepskin rug care is as terrifying as you might have done before. Remember, if you?re uncertain about cleaning the rug at home, there are always your dry clean sheepskin rug choices. If you do decide to wash it at home, though, we?ve got a few final tips to make your sheepskin cleaning project come off without a hitch:

Don?t be tempted to speed things up ? wash gently and dry slowly

Keep the rug flat as you dry it to ensure a smooth finish. Try and get a little air flow during the drying process, perhaps by drying outside in the shade

Pet brushes (freshly purchased, please) can be used as a substitute for specialist sheepskin brushes at a pinch. Just ensure that it?s of good quality as you don?t want to be fishing bristles out of your fibres.

Check the ingredients list of any detergents you use very carefully. You want one that is non-alkaline, non-bionic and doesn?t contain bleach or other biological enzymes.

To get the perfect finish for your sheepskin rug, we suggest one final thing ? shake it out and place it flat in the room of your choice.

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