Sheepskin rugs are a delightful addition to any home, offering both comfort and elegance to your space. However, they need a bit of extra care when it comes to cleaning and maintenance.
To keep your rug looking and feeling great, follow these simple steps on how to wash a sheepskin rug safely and effectively.
Before you start, it’s important to understand that washing a sheepskin rug is different from cleaning an ordinary rug. Its natural oils and fibers require a unique approach to preserve its softness and appearance.
By using the proper techniques and products, you can enjoy the luxurious feeling of your sheepskin rug for years to come.
In this article, we will guide you through the process of cleaning your sheepskin rug, ensuring that you know when it’s time to wash it, choosing the right cleaning method and using the appropriate products. Let’s dive in!
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Real or Fur Sheepskin Rugs
When it comes to decorating your home, nothing quite compares to the luxurious, soft, and cosy feel of a sheepskin rug. These rugs are typically made from either real or faux sheepskin and come in various styles, including long wool and natural.
Real sheepskin rugs are made from the pelt, or skin, of a sheep. The sheep’s fur is still attached to the leather backing, giving it that characteristic fluffy appearance. The wool fibres that make up the fur are natural fibres and provide multiple benefits, such as insulation, durability, and superior softness.
The tanning process used to prepare the leather ensures that the rug is long-lasting and retains its natural look.
On the other hand, a faux sheepskin rug is made from synthetic materials like acrylic, polyester, or a blend of both. These rugs can still be quite soft, but they won’t possess the same warmth and comfort that real sheepskin rugs offer.
Faux sheepskin is created to mimic the appearance and texture of genuine sheepskin, which makes it a popular and cost-effective alternative for many people.
Both real and faux sheepskin rugs require specific care and cleaning methods to prolong their lifespan, so make sure to follow the appropriate steps for each type.
Routine Maintenance of Sheepskin Rugs
Caring for your sheepskin rug is simple when you incorporate regular maintenance into your routine.
First and foremost, dust the rug to remove any loose dirt and debris. A good shake outside is all it takes, and it should be done at least once a week. A regular shake outside will also help maintain the rug’s natural fluffiness and prevent matting.
For a more thorough cleaning, vacuum your sheepskin rug using a suction vacuum cleaner. Remember to use a low suction setting and avoid the rug’s fur, vacuuming in the direction of hair growth. Vacuuming should be done as needed, but keep in mind that excessive vacuuming may damage the rug’s delicate fibers.
Here’s a handy table to summarize the routine maintenance steps:
How to Wash a Sheepskin Rug
Spot Cleaning a Sheepskin Rug
So, you’ve got a small stain on your lovely sheepskin rug and want to do a quick spot clean? No worries! Follow these simple steps to get it looking fresh and clean again.
Step 1 – Gently Brush Out the Stain: Firstly, use a soft-bristle brush or a wool comb to gently brush out any dry, loose particles on the affected area. Be careful not to be too harsh, as this may cause damage to the delicate wool fibers, and always brush in the direction of the wool growth.
Step 2 – Apply a Cleaning Solution: Prepare a mixture of warm water and a few drops of mild detergent. Dip a clean cloth or sponge into this mixture, then gently dab the stained area with the damp cloth. Avoid scrubbing the rug or soaking it, as this may lead to damp conditions amidst the fibers, damaging the leather and causing the rug to lose its shape.
Step 3 – Absorb Excess Moisture: After spot cleaning, it’s important to absorb the moisture from the rug. Use a clean, dry cloth to gently press the damp area. You can also sprinkle some baking soda or cornstarch onto the area to help speed up the drying process. Leave it on for about 30 minutes, then gently brush it off using the wool wire brush.
Step 4 – Use Hydrogen Peroxide for Stubborn Stains: If the first round of spot cleaning didn’t remove a stubborn stain, you can use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Apply it to a clean cloth and gently dab the stained area. It should help lift out any remaining stubborn stains while remaining gentle on the sheepskin.
Step 5 – Dry the Rug Naturally: After spot cleaning, it’s crucial to let your rug air dry. Avoid using a tumble dryer, as the heat can cause damage to the rug’s fibers and leather. Instead, ensure the rug is laid flat in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Remember to keep it away from heaters and radiators.
Step 6 – Brush Out the Rug After Drying: Once your sheepskin rug is completely dry, gently run a wool wire brush or wool comb through the fibers again. This will restore the rug’s soft and fluffy texture.
Deep Cleaning of Sheepskin Rugs
When it’s time to give your sheepskin rug a thorough clean, here’s what you’ll want to do to ensure that it’s properly taken care of.
To hand wash your rug, you’ll need a large basin or tub spacious enough for the rug to be fully submerged. Fill the basin with lukewarm water and add a small amount of wool-safe washing solution. Gently agitate the water to mix everything together. Remember to avoid using hot water as it could damage the fibers of the rug.
- Submerge the rug in the water, making sure the entire rug is wet.
- Gently swirl the rug around in the water for a few minutes to help loosen dirt particles.
- Carefully lift the rug out of the water, allowing excess water to drain.
Now it’s time to rinse the rug. Fill another basin or tub with clean, cool water. Repeat the rinsing process until the water runs clear, as any leftover soap could cause damage to the sheepskin fibers.
If you prefer using a washing machine for cleaning your rug, be sure to follow these guidelines:
- Machine washing should be on a wool wash setting, using a gentle cycle.
- Select a cold water setting to prevent any accidental shrinkage or damage.
- For best results, use a wool-safe detergent.
Note: Avoid using a machine with an agitator, as it could damage the rug.
After washing, gently squeeze out any excess water from your sheepskin rug. Never wring the rug as it can distort its shape.
Drying and Post-Wash Care of Sheepskin Rugs
After washing your sheepskin rug, you need to make sure to dry it properly to preserve its longevity and appearance. Follow these simple steps for optimal drying and post-wash care.
- Air Dry: Gently squeeze out excess water from the rug, avoiding twisting or wringing as it can damage the leather and wool fibers. Lay the rug flat on a clean, well-ventilated surface or a drying rack, preferably outdoors on a sunny day.
- Avoid Direct Sunlight: Although you’ll need to dry your rug in a sunny area, avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, which can cause the leather to become stiff and brittle. Keep the rug in a shaded or semi-shaded area to ensure optimal air drying.
- Leather Care: During the drying process, the leather side may become slightly stiff. To maintain the pliability of the leather, gently stretch and massage the rug while it’s still damp.
- Restore Wool: Once the rug is completely dry, use a wide-toothed comb or a sheepskin brush/pet brush to give the rug a good brush. This will help restore the rug’s original, fluffy appearance. It’s important to comb the wool while it’s still damp, as dry wool can be more challenging to untangle.
- Lanolin Treatment (optional): If your sheepskin rug has lost its natural waterproofing and durability due to the tanning process or frequent washing, consider applying a lanolin-based sheepskin detergent. This will help replenish the rug’s natural oils, making it more resistant to spills and stains.
When it comes to dyed sheepskin rugs, always check the manufacturer’s instructions before washing or drying the rug. Some dyed rugs may require dry cleaning to prevent color bleeding or fading. If unsure, it’s best to consult professional dry cleaners for advice on proper care for your dyed rug.
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With the proper care and maintenance, your sheepskin rug can remain soft, supple and full of life.
Regular brushing and vacuuming will help keep dirt and debris at bay while also giving it a beautiful shine. Using lanolin-based detergents on occasion will also help restore its waterproofing properties.
When in doubt, consult a professional for advice on how to best care for dyed or delicate rugs.
With this knowledge firmly in hand, you can now confidently enjoy the beauty of your sheepskin rug for years to come!