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How To Make A Sheepskin Rug Soft Again

A clean, fluffy sheepskin rug accentuates any open space in the living and bedroom area like no other. But sometimes, it flattens and loses its charm ruining the scene. Are you looking for real ways to make a sheepskin rug soft again? We got you on this! We've done the research to answer all your questions on sheepskin care. 

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Proper care will always make a sheepskin rug soft and fluffy. While washing should be the last resort, you must spot clean spills and stains on a sheepskin rug. Then, follow these steps to make a sheepskin rug soft again:

  1. Vacuum the rug.
  2. Give it a shake.
  3. Comb the wool fibers carefully.

Making a sheepskin rug soft again does not entail demanding procedures. However, you should know all the dos and don'ts of sheepskin rug care to avoid permanent damage - you would agree they are sensitive, right? So, let's cut to the chase, here's everything you need to know about making a sheepskin rug soft again.

Sheep skin on the floor of a room, How To Make A Sheepskin Rug Soft Again

How To Make A Sheepskin Rug Soft Again

Regular washing is not recommended for a sheepskin rug. You have to delay washing for as long as possible.

Child standing with bare feet toes on very soft woolen sheepskin rug carpet

Fortunately, washing is not as necessary if you simply want to make your rug soft again. Here's how to soften a sheepskin rug.

1. Vacuum to remove dirt.

One way to remove dirt from a sheepskin rug is to vacuum it once a week. You do not need to use any type of suction or this may leave tangles and knots and even damage the hide permanently. Just run gentle strokes to remove dust and dirt.

2. Give it a shake.

Take your rug outside and give it a shake. This is the everyday way to remove dirt without risking the integrity of the wool fibers. Shaking your rug is also a way to loosen up the flat fibers, which is a good start if you would brush the rug next.

3. Brush the wool fibers.

Brushing wool

Brushing is the most straightforward way to restore sheepskin softness and fluffiness. This does not have to be done every day, though. You can brush it once a month or a little more frequently when it is being overused.

Use a brush made specifically for wool or one that is similar to a pet brush but with metal bristles.

View this Hertzko pet brush on Amazon.

To restore the pile, give the sheepskin gentle brush strokes one area at a time. Remove the tangles using the same brush and move on to the next spot once the wool has fluffed up. Do not worry about losing some wool fibers, this is unavoidable.

Check out the video below for a demo on how to brush sheepskin.

Doing these things will turn a flat-looking sheepskin rug soft and fluffy instantly. But to keep your sheep hide looking great for a much longer period, you should also know how to properly care for it in general. 

Caring For Your Sheepskin

Female hand cleans a fluffy rug with a brush

A sheepskin rug is far different from regular rugs and carpets when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. It is sensitive for many reasons but above all, it is real sheep hide. That said, repair options may not be available if it gets damaged in any way.

How To Wash A Sheepskin Rug

Sheepskin has lanolin, a naturally-occurring wax found on the hide of wool-bearing animals. The total sheepskin weight has about 5 to 25 percent lanolin. This is the reason for their soft and fluffy appearance.

You want to preserve the lanolin on your sheepskin for as long as possible. That's why you should wash it only when you feel it is time and spot cleaning does not help anymore.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that old sheepskin is at a higher risk to wash because of the deteriorating leather. Often, it is best to skip washing and vacuum instead.

Before washing, remember to shake the rug to remove loose dirt and comb the wool to straighten out the tangles.

Machine Washing Sheepskin

Machine washing is not always recommended especially for big rugs and dyed rugs. Should you use the washing machine, make sure to switch the cycle to wool on the lowest setting and wash with cold water. 

Do not use bleach, fabric conditioner, or other products that contain enzymes, softeners, or alkaline ingredients. These ingredients will damage and fade the sheepskin.

After washing, spin dry in the slowest setting. Then, lay the rug flat on the floor over a towel or hang with the wool side facing upward. Let it dry naturally.

Hand Washing Sheepskin

Most people prefer to hand wash their sheepskin because doing so provides gentle washing. To start hand washing, give your rug a couple of shakes to reduce dirt that will get into the tub with it.

Next, fill the tub with enough water that will cover the sheepskin. Then, put the rug in the tub along with enough amount of sheepskin shampoo. Follow the instructions on the label of the product for proper use.

Gently squeeze the rug in different areas to wash. Then, drain the soapy water and replace it with clean water. Rinse the sheepskin twice or until the water gets clear.

Spin dry the rug on low and lay flat on a towel. Next, you have to brush the wool while wet to prevent matting. Then, hang the rug or lay it flat on the floor to dry naturally. 

Here is a video demonstrating how sheepskin is washed by hand. Take note of how gently the woman squeezes the rug to wash and remove excess water from it. 

Tips For Drying Sheepskin

When drying, keep the sheepskin away from direct sunlight or any heat source. This also means you cannot use a hair dryer to speed up the drying time. Heat will cause the leather to harden and crack, while direct sunlight will cause the color to fade. Exposure to direct sunlight also causes white rugs to turn yellow.

It would take time to dry a sheepskin rug but the best way to achieve peak softness is when you allow it to dry naturally.

Drying of animal fur after skinning

Once the sheepskin is dry, brush to fluff up the wool. Follow the procedure above.

How To Remove Stains On A Sheepskin Rug

It is hard to avoid spills and stains especially when there are kids and pets in the house. It is not advisable to wash sheepskin each time these incidents happen, therefore, spot cleaning is the key.

Spot Cleaning Sheepskin

Spot cleaning does not only lengthen the lifespan of your sheepskin, but it also avoids leaving permanent stains.

To clean spills, use a dry cloth and blot the area to absorb the liquid in the rug. For colored liquids such as red wine, combine a small amount of wool shampoo with water. Then, wet a clean cloth with the shampoo-water solution and dab the stain until all traces are removed.

Next, rinse the cloth to remove soap and blot the area a few times more to remove the soap. Use a clean, dry cloth to absorb the remaining liquid. After brushing, let the sheepskin dry naturally.

How to Get Rid of Bad Odor From A Sheepskin Rug

Sheep skin on the laminate floor in the room

Lanolin on sheepskin repels dirt and even bad odors naturally. Sheepskin would hardly smell even if it has been some time since the last wash. Amazingly, that is how lanolin in it works. 

But if your sheepskin would still smell and any amount of spot cleaning does not help any more, then it is time for a wash. Follow the instruction on proper washing above to remove odor from your rug completely. Brush the wool once dry to restore the softness.

How Long Will A Sheepskin Rug Last?

Sheepskin area rug on hardwood floor

The incredible ability of sheepskin to withstand soiling and repel odor makes it a very long-lasting rug. However, as with all rugs, proper care has a big role in its longevity. Heat, sunlight, harsh chemicals, and washing will cause any sheepskin to deteriorate faster. 

As sheepskin gets older, the leather hardens and becomes prone to cracking. If your sheepskin is naturally ivory white, then this will turn yellow with old age. Unfortunately, these are irreversible cases and part of a sheepskin life cycle. 

Final Thoughts

A sheepskin rug remains soft and fluffy when it is properly cared for. Spot cleaning, vacuuming, and brushing are the key if you want to make it soft right away. To make it last longer though, you should keep it away from heat and sunlight and delay washing for as long as possible.

If you find this post useful, you can read our other posts for more helpful information on sheepskin care.

How To Clean A Sheepskin Rug In 6 Easy Steps

Can You Brush A Sheepskin Rug? [And How To]

Laura

Monday 28th of November 2022

Hello I had to machine wash my sheepskin rug after the dog got sick on it. I air dried it but the leather is dry and hard, and no longer lies flat on the floor now. How can I soften it so it lays flat on the floor again?