How to Clean A Sheepskin Rug Using Easy Methods

Sheepskin rugs are soft and fluffy floor coverings that make a great addition to any room of the house. Over time though, foot traffic can take its toll on the rug and make it dirty or dull in appearance. If you aren’t sure how to clean sheepskin rug without ruining it, you’ve come to the right place. We have all the best and easiest cleaning methods to clean your sheepskin effectively.  

Shake the Rug First

Your first port of call should be to start shaking the rug out in order to remove any dirt particles within its fibers.

Vacuum and Brush

The next step is to vacuum the rug with suction only. This will ensure your sheepskin will be completely free of dirt or dust.

To brush the wool rug,  use a carding brush or dog brush. Since sheep wool has dirt-resistant qualities, thoroughly brushing it will leave the rug soft, matt-free and fluffy.

If the rug is smelly, you can sprinkle some baking powder on the rug by gently rubbing it into the fibers. Allow the baking powder to absorb into the fibers, and after a few hours, use the vacuum cleaner to remove the powder. You may also add a few drops of essential oils to the rug to further improve its smell.

Now that you’ve vacuumed and brushed your sheepskin rug thoroughly, it’s time to move to the next step and look at ways of cleaning the rug.

Best Sheepskin Rug Cleaning Methods

Before you start cleaning your sheepskin rug, read the care label to find out the best washing temperature and whether the rug is machine washable. The last thing you want is matted fibers!

The safest method is to clean the sheepskin by hand.  

Handwashing Your Sheepskin

The most preferred technique is washing the rug by hand. This is a much gentler process and protects the sheepskin’s fibers for longer. After brushing the rug thoroughly to detangle the fibers, fill the bath or a large, deep container with cold water and add sheep wool shampoo to the water.

Now gently swish the rug around in the water in order to loosen any dirt in the fibers. Never scrub or rub the rug as this can damage the felt-like texture. Once the water turns darker in color, it’s time to empty it and refill the tub for rinsing the sheepskin. Repeat this process as many times as necessary until the water is clear.

Next comes the squeezing. You need to squeeze as much water out of the rug as you can before transferring it to a clean container. Remember that after the rug becomes wet, its weight will double so you must have a container on hand for carrying the sheepskin out of the bathroom.

Since direct sunlight will damage your sheepskin, it’s best to dry it with a hairdryer. The drying process will take some time unless you leave the rug on a towel warmer all day.

Spot Cleaning

Spot Cleaning

For small spills, you can simply use paper towels with a blunt knife or spatula to remove the liquids. 

For oily stains, however, apply cornstarch on the area to absorb the oil. Leave the cornstarch on the affected area for several hours before vacuuming or brushing and repeat if necessary. 

For mud or food stains, mix warm water with a wool solution and dip a clean cloth in the solution before blotting the stained area. Be careful not to overwet the area. Once the stain is removed, take a clean cloth and dampen it with plain water. The last step is to air-dry the fibers before brushing them. 

If your sheepskin isn’t smelling fresh after spot cleaning it, you can sprinkle baking soda. Make sure the baking soda is worked into the fibers and allow it to remain for up to 2 hours or overnight. The next day, vacuum or shake the rug to remove the baking soda. 

Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning should only be your last resort as this method is costly and requires professionals who are familiar with cleaning sheepskin. When looking for the right dry cleaner, pick those who offer specialized suede, leather and sheepskin dry cleaning services as they won’t use harsh chemicals to damage your rug.

Is it Safe to Machine Wash the Sheepskin Rug?

It may be tempting to throw your sheepskin in the washing machine as soon as you notice dirt or stain marks on it. But if you want to keep your rug looking its best for years to come, it’s advisable to refrain from machine washing the rug. Its appearance can be impacted after getting completely submerged in water.

When you machine wash your sheepskin, the wool fibers will harden and the rug may lose its original shape. Having said that, most sheepskin rugs can handle gentle wash cycles over the span of their life, but be aware that your sheepskin may not retain its original shape after washing it in the machine.

How to Soften Sheepskin After Washing

After you’ve washed your sheepskin using water, it won’t feel as soft as it originally did. Keep in mind that it depends on the age of your sheepskin, the tanning process as well as how it dries after a wash. Only the leather-backed sheepskins can come out of a handwash looking great. But this doesn’t mean you can’t achieve the same results when washing your regular sheepskin rug. Follow these 3 simple steps to soften your sheepskin after washing:

Step 1. Use a special wool detergent when washing your rug as these products are pH neutral and ensure the rug doesn’t lose its softness. Tip: always test the product on a small area first before applying it to your rug.

Step 2. Dry the rug in the shady part of your yard away from direct sunlight. You can lay it on the clean floor or on the clothes liner. 

Step 3. Get a wooden stick and beat the sheepskin once it is fully dry. This is part of the tanning process to keep the rug in supple shape and as soft as it should be.  

How to Keep Your Sheepskin Fluffy After Washing it

There is nothing quite as lush as a fluffy and frizz-free sheepskin. With its silky and luxurious feel, your feet (and your pet’s paws) will love walking on a brand new sheepskin. But to maintain the fluffiness, you will need to commit to a little extra maintenance. 

Vacuuming the sheepskin regularly is one of the most important steps in keeping your rug fluffy. If you keep on top of this, your rug won’t flatten down and lose its silky feel. Vacuuming your sheepskin doesn’t have to be another chore as part of your weekly cleaning. All you need to do is regularly shake the rug outside and give it a quick vacuum every now and again. This is the key to keeping your sheepskin’s fluff at its best condition.

How often you should vacuum your sheepskin depends on the level of use your rug gets. Check the rug’s fibers to see whether they are flat. If so, it’s time to shake and vacuum it in order to give the fibers some extra help. Aside from the types of brushes we mentioned before,  a metal bristled brush  will also suffice for untangling the fibers. But be careful when using this brush so as not to tear the rug’s fibers. You may use a spray bottle of water to lightly brush the frizzy fibers before air drying the rug. 

Is it Safe to Use Bleach on Sheepskin?

If your sheepskin has yellow patches, you can remove these stains using a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide, but not bleach. You can apply the solution sparingly over the yellow stain until the stain turns white. Just be careful with how much hydrogen peroxide you add to water as too much can damage the wool.

For a milder solution to remove stained patches, opt for white vinegar instead. Mix the vinegar with one part water in a spray bottle and leave it in the rug for a few hours before blotting with a damp cloth. The only downside to vinegar is its smell, which can be difficult to remove afterwards. 

Is it Safe to Tumble Dry a Sheepskin Rug? 

To prevent your sheepskin from drying out and looking frizzy, never put it in the tumble dryer. This is especially not advised when the rug has a leather or suede backing. The tumble dryer can crease and crack the material. For best results, air dry the rug in the shaded part of your yard or use a hair dryer. 

Wrapping it Up 

A sheepskin rug is a warm and beautiful accompaniment in both winter and summer. By keeping your woolly rug fluffy and clean using the right methods, you’ll be able to enjoy this plush floor covering for many years to come! Just follow our best recommendations to keep your rug in tip-top condition. 

How to Clean A Sheepskin Rug Using Easy Methods