It’s no secret that cleaning a sheepskin rug the right way is an art. That’s because it’s a natural product which means it can be a ‘diva’ when it comes to getting it spick and span without ruining it. These aesthetically pleasing rugs are an uphill task to clean without damaging the skin backing.
The delicate process can be compared to cleaning wool fiber and leather concurrently, each of which is tricky to clean. Therefore, rather than wash a sheepskin rug, we recommend tending to stains to keep it in excellent condition. Without further ado, let’s discuss how to clean a sheepskin rug and restore its beauty.
What You’ll Need
To get started, you’ll need the following:
- A vacuum cleaner
- A tub or large sink
- Hair conditioner (to soften the rug)
- A spoon or dull knife
- Baking soda
- A washing machine
- Gentle detergent
- Wool wash
- Paper towels
- Clothesline or drying rack
- Heavy-duty terry towels
- White cleaning cloths
- A soft-bristle brush or dog comb
How to Clean a Sheepskin Rug
Once you have all the items you need, follow the step-by-step process below to get your natural sheepskin rug looking good as new. As a tip, to keep this luxurious décor item looking its best, avoid exposure to direct sunlight. The harsh UV rays will fade dyed fibers and ruin the tanned hide.
1. Shake It and Brush It
Shake the rug frequently, preferably outdoors, to get rid of loose dust and dirt and restore the bounce to the wool fiber. Use a dog comb to brush the fibers, diminish matting, and revive luster.
It’s easy to vacuum a large rug and eliminate debris and dust. However, as you do so, solely use plain suction. The revolving brush heads and the turbo are too harsh for a sheepskin rug and will cause the fibers to tangle.
3. Clean Stains Immediately
Spills are inevitable at home. Therefore, once you spill food or a liquid such as coffee on your sheepskin rug, the trick is to get ahead of the stain immediately by blotting it with paper towels. Lift any solid food spills with a spatula or spoon.
- Oily Stains: Sprinkle cornstarch on the stain to absorb it. Leave it on your rug for up to six hours before you vacuum it. Repeat the process if the stain hasn’t come out entirely.
- Mud or Food Stains: Mix a solution of lukewarm water with wool wash and follow the instructions on the label. Dab a white cloth into the solution and blot it onto the mud or food stain. As you do so, avoid wetting the rug excessively. Once the stain has been lifted, blot the area with a clean, white cloth with regular water to remove the soapy residue. Leave the rug to air-dry, after which you can comb it to lift fibers.
4. Use Baking Soda to Eliminate Odors
If your sheepskin rug has an unpleasant smell, pour a generous amount of baking soda on it. Let it sit for up to eight hours or overnight, if possible. Vacuum the rug to get rid of the baking soda and comb it to lift the fibers.
5. Don’t Ignore the Care Label
Before you clean your sheepskin rug, take the time to read and understand what the care label says. In doing so, you’ll learn that most dyed rugs require dry cleaning to curb fading. Some small sheepskin rugs are labeled as washing machine-friendly.
If you opt to clean your rug using your washer, the top-load or front-load counterparts that lack a center agitator and have a gentle cycle are ideal. Additionally, always use cold water rather than hot water to avoid damaging the delicate fibers.
It’s worth noting that excessive agitation in the washing machine might result in frizzled and matted fibers. For that reason, your safest bet is hand-washing.
6. Mix a Washing Solution
The time will come when your sheepskin rug needs a good washing. The key to cleaning it successfully is using a suitable and mild detergent. Wool washes must be enzyme-free to prevent damage to the rug fibers.
Choose a wool wash with lanolin – organic fat in wool – to restore the rug’s authentic softness once it’s clean. In a large tub, dilute the wool wash in warm water as per the outlined instructions.
7. Submerge Your Sheepskin Rug
Submerge your sheepskin rug in the cleaning solution for 10 to 15 minutes and gently squeeze it so the soapy water has the chance to get into the fibers.
8. Rinse the Rug Properly
Once you drain the large sink or tub of the cleaning solution, refill it with clean water. Immerse the rug and gently squeeze it for the clean water to pass through the fibers. Drain the tub and refill it with clean water. Repeat the process until the water lacks suds. The rug should feel squeaky clean at this point.
Gently squeeze the sheepskin rug to remove excess water without wringing or twisting. Use heavy towels for as much water absorption as possible. Hang the rug on a sturdy rack to air dry.
To prevent damage, don’t put your rug in a dryer and avoid brushing the fibers when they are wet.
9. Brush for Fiber Restoration
Once the rug is entirely dry, use a dog comb to gently brush and untangle matted fibers.
Now that you know how to clean a sheepskin rug the ideal way without damaging it, let’s discuss a few maintenance tips you can implement to keep it looking good as new.
Consider Function in Aesthetics
For starters, while it’s termed a sheepskin rug, it’s unsuitable for high-traffic areas in homes because it’s prone to getting filthy regularly. You’re better off using it as part of the throw-on décor on your living room couches or your bed.
If you prefer to use a sheepskin rug on your floor, we recommend a faux counterpart that’s easy to clean.
Sheepskin rugs can be gently brushed with a unique brush that gets rid of stubborn dirt and dust. While it may seem bizarre, brush your rug just as you would your furry companion. That means softly and without tugging at the hair. Brushing with too much elbow grease means your rug will thin after a while.
Avoid Overly Washing Your Sheepskin Rug
The sheepskin rug’s organic wool fibers and lanolin are the markers that you should avoid cleaning too often.
Keep Your Rug Dry
Sheepskin rugs don’t do well in humid conditions, which means you’ll need to keep yours in a cool room with adequate ventilation and away from direct sunlight. Damp rooms pave the way for black mold to thrive, and that’s the last thing you need.
To Wrap Up Sheepskin Rug Cleaning
Now that you know the golden rules of cleaning your sheepskin rug and showing it some love and care, it’ll reward you by remaining aesthetically pleasing for up to 10 years.