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How to Clean a Sheepskin Rug in 6 easy steps

You have a luxurious sheepskin throw rug in your living room. Perhaps you’ve accented your bedrooms with one or two of these rugs as well. Unfortunately, from dust to foot traffic and time, your sheepskin rug has gotten quite dirty. With this being such a unique item, the question eventually comes up: How to clean a sheepskin rug?

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Sheepskin rug on a wooden floor, How to Clean a Sheepskin Rug in 6 Easy Steps

To clean a sheepskin rug, do the following:

  • Combine water (about 500 milliliters) with a wool wash product (a cap’s worth)
  • Use the water/wool wash mixture on any stains on the rug
  • Clean away any remaining residue with water
  • Let the sheepskin rug line dry away from sunlight and direct heat
  • Brush the rug before it’s completely dry with a wool wire brush
  • Give the rug a shake to maintain the fluffiness of the sheepskin

The above is just one way of many to clean a sheepskin rug. As you can see, it's quite different from other methods for rug or carpet cleaning. If you’re curious whether you can put your rug in the washer, if you can use a product like Woolite on it, or if you could even tumble dry it, then we encourage you to keep reading. In this article, we’ll answer all your most burning questions on cleaning a sheepskin rug.

Can I Wash a Sheepskin Rug?

While the steps listed in the intro are useful if you have a dirty spot or two on your sheepskin rug, what if the whole thing could use some sprucing up? Can you hand-wash a sheepskin rug?

Sure, you can! It’s recommended you use a basin for this. You’ll also need a wool wire sheepskin brush made for cleaning sheepskin. We found one from HUAHOO on Amazon that’s an Amazon’s Choice product and quite a fan favorite.

Click to see more on Amazon.

This time, you want to take four liters of lukewarm water and mix it with a teaspoon of your wool wash product, such as Eucalan wool wash. The water used for cleaning should be no warmer than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Click to see more on Amazon.

Fill the basin with the mix and soak your sheepskin rug in it. Let the rug sit for a half-hour. When that time has elapsed, pick up the rug, and apply pressure by squeezing. This is to get rid of all the extra water. Never wring the rug, as that could damage it.

Once again, you want to let the rug line dry without sunlight or direct heat. When the rug gets close to drying but is still somewhat damp, brush it through and shake it. You should now have yourself a clean sheepskin rug!

And remember, if you have a particular stain that you're dealing with, a bit of spot cleaning with the detergents we'll list below is always a good idea.

What's the best sheepskin detergent?

We mentioned one above, but let's take a quick review of the options. After all, you want to tread carefully here and use only a sheepskin detergent or sheepskin shampoo.

The material here is essentially wool fiber, albeit in its more natural state. With that in mind, you want to look for a detergent that's designated for use with pure natural wool. While there are other alternatives, these should be your safest bet.

Here are some options - 

The Laundress New York - Wool & Cashmere Shampoo - Click to see on Amazon

KnitIQ Natural Wool Wash with Lanolin - Click to see on Amazon

Can You Machine Wash a Sheepskin Rug?

You don’t necessarily have a basin, but what you do have is a washing machine. Is it okay to toss the stained or dirty sheepskin rug in there, or will the washing process rip the wool in the rug apart?

It’s alright to machine wash your sheepskin rug in most cases. Once more, don’t exceed a water temperature of 100 degrees. You should also use up to two tablespoons of your wool wash product. Run your washer on its gentlest setting.

If, after washing, your rug still comes out dirty, then it might be worth letting a professional clean it.

Can you take it to the Dry Cleaners?

Yes, dry cleaning is an option for sheepskin rugs. You can call a local dry cleaning service to ask more about the process and pricing. The cost of dry cleaning a sheepskin rug can vary based on the rug's size and overall condition. You can expect to pay anything between $4 and $8 per square foot. 

Can I Tumble Dry a Sheepskin Rug?

Alright, so your sheepskin rug just came out of the washing machine, and it looks pretty good. You’re ready to dry it. With most laundry, you just put it in the dryer and let that do all the hard work. Is that a good idea with your sheepskin rug?

No, it isn’t. Like you’ve done with the other cleaning methods thus far, you want to line-dry your rug. You can hang it as well, but those are the only two options you should use. Yes, yet again, avoid exposing the sheepskin to sunlight or direct heat, as both can damage your rug. You should also brush and shake the sheepskin before it’s fully dry, so it looks its best.

Can I Vacuum a Sheepskin Rug?

Perhaps your sheepskin rug isn’t stained as much as it’s just dirty. You can see crumbs or loose, hard clumps of dirt between the wool fibers, but you have no idea how to clean it. If you try to use your fingers, you’re worried you’ll grind the mess in deeper.

You were thinking of trying your vacuum cleaner for the job, but you have your concerns. While it’s good to be cautious, you can count on most vacuums to take care of the basic suctioning of the sheepskin rug. That said, your vacuum must have an attachment that does not rotate. If your attachment does spin or move, then take the attachment off and clean with the suction head instead.

Your wool wire brush is another alternative for removing hardened dirt and other particles. Just rake it across the length of the rug until you dredge up all the mess. After all, this is a wool rug!

Can I Wash a Sheepskin Rug with Woolite?

Earlier, we suggested Eucalan as a wool cleaning product to use on your sheepskin rug. You don’t have any Eucalan handy, but you have plenty of Woolite. After all, Woolite usually says that their products are meant for a variety of fabrics. You’re curious if that includes sheepskin as well.

In this instance, it does not. You see, even with specialized versions of Woolite, the cleaner still has enzymes and bleach in the formula. These can ruin your sheepskin rug, so it’s essential to avoid Woolite and similar detergents such as Tide. 

You can check out Woolite on Amazon here - it's still great for other needs!

The reason Eucalan’s products are so highly recommended is that they’re free of enzymes. This means that whether you wash your sheepskin rug by hand, in a washer, or in a basin, the cleaner won’t ruin the wool.

How Do You Whiten a Sheepskin Rug?

When you first bought your sheepskin rug, it was beautifully and pristinely white. These days, it’s looking a little dingy and yellow. You thought cleaning it would help, but it’s still not as white as you’d like. Since you know now that bleach can wreck the wool of the rug, you don’t want to go that route. What else can you use for whitening your rug?

That’s a great question. Instead of bleach, reach for hydrogen peroxide. You’ll also need a sponge, a bucket, and some water. Take your bucket and dump the water in. The temperature doesn’t matter so much here. The quantity of water will depend on the size of your sheepskin rug. You need enough water that you can dunk the entire rug in.

Now you can add your hydrogen peroxide. The recommended peroxide to water ratio is 1:3. A cloth or sponge can ensure the hydrogen peroxide gets into the rug thoroughly. When you’re done, and your rug is much whiter, you can wash it by following the steps above.

If you don’t have any hydrogen peroxide in your kitchen cabinets, vinegar works as well. Start again with a bucket, adding water (two cups), followed by vinegar (a tablespoon). Then use a cloth or sponge to cover the entire rug with the vinegar. Wash the rug from there.

How To Clean a Faux Sheepskin Rug?

Not all sheepskin rugs are necessarily the real deal. If yours is a fake, then when you pull on the fibers, they won’t retain their shape, says Hunker. Wool is also adept at moisture absorption, so it’s warm and pretty dry when it gets wet. Fake wool will feel wet, as would a faux fur rug.

Any of the cleaning methods we’ve recommended in this article are sufficient for faux sheepskin. You can even clean the rug in the bathtub with detergent and cold water.

Conclusion

Sheepskin rugs are a beautiful addition to the home. If your rug is stained, dirty, or dingy, you have plenty of options for cleaning it quickly. Just make sure you stick to the recommended water temperature and avoid products with bleach. Then your sheepskin rug will look as good as new!  For more information on different carpet types, check out our post How Long Does Carpet Last?