The ultimate guide to looking after sheepskin
So you have that beautiful sheepskin rug or fleece you've always wanted and now you are wondering: how do you keep it looking good as new? How do you clean a sheepskin rug? Can you even wash a sheepskin? Should it be dry cleaned or go in the washing machine?
Don't worry, we've got the answers! We've pulled together all the advice we give out to customers about caring for your sheepskin or sheepskin products into one handy guide. Here are a few things we would recommend you do to best care for your sheepskin.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF A SHEEPSKIN RUG
Brushing your sheepskin cushion, fleece or rug with a metal comb or a slicker-type brush (similar to a pet brush) is probably the best thing you can do for it. It restores the pile, keeps it nice and fluffy, as well as getting rid of any surface dust and particles.
Can a sheepskin rug be vacuumed? Using a vacuum cleaner on sheepskin tends not to work as effectively and, for long wool, it can be rather tricky.
Do this regularly, once a week or every two weeks, to keep the fleece in good condition
Don't brush it if...
It's a nurse aid (or baby fleece or a medical sheepskin. Those closer cropped fleeces should never be brushed!
Can a sheepskin rug be machine-washed?
A lot of Skyeskyns fleeces are (machine) washable, although not all so please make sure you check the Skyeskyns stamp on the leather side of your sheepskin, as it will carry washing or dry clean instructions. For those of you worried about maintaining a white rug: yes, you can wash a white sheepskin rug as long as it machine washable and if not, you can spot clean stains with our Woolly Fresh Spray (see paragraph below). We insert the relevant Care Instructions card with every parcel.
You can wash a fleece by hand or in the washing machine (on a wool cycle) at no more than 30 degrees Celsius (approx. 86 Fahrenheit). Nurse aid and medical sheepskins can be washed at higher temperatures, which is great for hygiene and ease of use. Please follow their specific care instructions.
Before washing the fleece, give it a good brush to prepare it. You should only use a wool detergent (such as our Woolly Wash), and not a standard laundry detergent and/or conditioner, as they can clump and clog up the wool.
Once washed, dry the fleece out naturally, keeping it away from any source of direct or artificial heat, particularly on the leather side. Outside on a windy day is perfect. You might want to give the leather a good shake out whilst it is still slightly damp so it stays supple. Once dry, give the wool another thorough brush.
Our care product page includes all you need to take care of washable fleeces
Can you machine-wash sheepskin slippers?
Our slippers aren't usually washable in the same manner though but can be spot cleaned.
Can you machine-wash sheepskin cushions or sheepskin snuggles?
No, it might affect the seams and leather adversely. Brush it regularly to revive the wool and you may spot wash with a damp cloth or some Woolly Fresh Spray.
Do not wash if....
It calls for dry clean only (again please see our stamp on the back) or if it's a cushion, slipper, gloves or similar items. Washing relaxes the leather around the seams and they can come apart.
How do you clean a large dirty rug?
Our large fleeces (double, triple, quads etc) and mosaic rugs can be washed. Given their sizes, these rugs and throws cannot be put into a standard washing machine. You can use a commercial launderette or laundry service but do make sure they understand the washing instructions and will wash them separately. You may also want to look at our refurbishment service for the ultimate pamper for your large rug or fleece.
Is it safe to dry clean a sheepskin?
Yes it is. For dry clean only products, including sheepskin jackets, hats and gilets, talk to a reputable dry cleaner, who will have experience of leather and fleeces. Some specialist cleaners are also available which would be ideal for the more valuable items such as sheepskin coats.
Spot cleaning and freshening up your fleece
We often get asked about how to refresh a sheepskin apart from brushing or airing it outside. Our Woolly Fresh Spray is perfect for spot cleaning: it is a milder version of our woolly wash and it can be sprayed onto most wool. For a spot clean, use a damp cloth to work it in; for a refresh, brush the wool after spraying.
Please make sure not to overspray. This is particularly important for dry-clean-only rugs as liquid could seep into the leather and damage or stain it
We offer a time-limited refurbishment service for sheepskins and rugs bought from us. We do not accept sheepskins bought from other retailers as there is no way to know how they have been tanned and how they might react to the refurbishment process.
Before sending us your rug, please email a picture of both the wool and leather side of your rug/sheepskin to [email protected] Our experienced tanner can then advise how well the fleece can be refurbished and confirm whether refurbishment is the best option and when it can take place. To fit in with our tanning timetable, refurbishments are available once a quarter, at the end of March, June, September and December.
We will always confirm a quote with you before you send in your fleece but standard costings are as follows:
- £60 for up to 4 skins or a 5x 3ft mosaic
- £120 for over 5 up to 8 skins or a 7 x 5 mosaic.