How to Clean Sheepskin Rug In 4 Easy Steps

Sheepskin rugs are made using the skin of sheep along with wool. The wool fibers are permanently attached to the skin of the sheep through the tanning process. Large sheepskin rugs are made by combining two or more sheepskins.

The wool fixed on the skin can be left as it is or can be dyed to create multiple alluring hues. Sheepskin rugs have gained popularity because the wool fiber is resilient and soft. They have a natural oil that is resistant to dirt and odor, which makes cleaning sheepskin rugs very easy.

Another remarkable feature about the sheepskin rug is that is flame retardant up to 1,112 degrees Fahrenheit, environmentally sustainable, and biodegradable.

Faux sheepskin rugs also have a similar look to natural sheepskin rugs. They are manufactured using petroleum-based synthetic fiber and resemble the natural look of sheepskin.

Natural sheepskin rugs are very easy to clean as care of, and when they are washed properly, they look like new again. Cleaning of sheepskin rug mainly depends on its size; if your sheepskin rug is small and relatively new then you can easily wash it in a washing machine using a sheepskin detergent.

If the sheepskin rug is slightly bigger, then the best option is to hand wash it by swishing it around gently in a tub with cool water and detergent. Brushing out any knots and letting it dry flat will keep the sheepskin rug fluffy and will easily clean without taking much time.

Here are all the steps that should keep in mind while cleaning your sheepskin rug.

Method 1. Washing Your Sheepskin Rug

Shake the Rug Outside to Remove Excess Dirt

Shake the Rug Outside to Remove Excess Dirt

Shaking the sheepskin rug regularly outdoors will remove loose soil and dirt and will restore the fluffiness of the woolen fibers. You can use a dog brush or wire wool comb to brush the rug to reduce matting and restore the luster. You can remove dirt by bringing your rug outside and hold it over the ground.

By shaking the sheepskin rug back and forth, dirt will easily fall off. This method may not remove the fine particles of dirt but it will surely help in getting rid of bigger chunks of dust that are attached to the sheepskin. You can also use your hand or any object to hit the rug gently for dislodging any extra dirt.

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Brushing the Rug Before Washing Is Important

Brushing the sheepskin rug before washing removes any tangles and prevents the sheepskin rug from becoming matted after it is wet. You can use any kind of brush for brushing, either any normal brush or any particular brush designed for sheepskin. Make sure you brush the whole rug and comb out any knots. A wide-tooth comb works well for this purpose. Make sure you gently brush the rug to prevent any damages to the rug.

Take Time to Read Labels

Before you start to clean the sheepskin rug make sure you take a moment to read the care label attached to the rug. Many important instructions are mentioned there. Most all the sheepskin rugs have labels attached to them that consist of instructions about how to properly take care of the rug, so it stays presentable.

The label mentions the way that whether the rug should be hand-washed, machine washed, or dry cleaned. You should not worry if the label is not attached to the rug. You can hand wash it to be on the safe side.

If the size of the rug is small or about the size of a doormat, you can easily wash it in the washing machine. If the size of the rug is large, then you should prefer hand washing as the rug can damage the washing machine.

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Dyed sheepskin rugs should be dry cleaned. If you are choosing to machine wash your rug then you should use a front load washer or a top load washer without a central agitator, use cool water, and with wool wash for best results. Too much agitation can cause the matting and frizzling of the fibers. The safest method for cleaning a white sheepskin rug is hand washing.

Method 2. Washing Sheepskin Rug with Hand

Fill the Tub with Water and Detergent

Fill the Tub with Water and Detergent

For cleaning your sheepskin rug, you can use a large bathtub or a large plastic tub. The first step is to fill that bathtub with cool water and pour some sheepskin detergent into it. Please ensure that you only pour the recommended amount of detergent in the tub. The pouring of extra detergent will lead to the damage of the tour rug.

If there are no instructions regarding the detergent are mentioned on the label, then you can use the lid of the detergent bottle and measure out about a capful of detergent to clean your rug. Submerging your sheepskin rug in the water can cause little shrinking of the rug.

Swish Around Rug Gently in Water

The next step is to swish around the sheepskin rug gently in the water. By doing this you can remove as much dirt as possible. Swishing gently in water dislodges the dust from the surface of the rug. You can also use a scrubber to gently scrub any spots on the sheepskin rug. You should continue to swish the rug in water for around 5 minutes.

Remove Dirty Water from The Tub and Replace It with Clean Water

The next thing that you need to do is to refill the tub with some clean water. You need to unplug the drain and let the dirty water drain out; make sure you hold the sheepskin rug out of the drain’s way.

Once all the dirty water is removed you should refill the tub and add some detergent again. Make sure you add a lesser quantity of detergent than before to make sure that the rinsing of soap is easier. This will remove any remaining dirt on your rug.

Final step

The final step in cleaning your rug is to place it again in cool water for some final rinse. You can swish the rug around in the water again to remove any final remaining dust or dirt. You can use your hands to gently rub the rug to remove excess soap or dirt. If you notice that the water is turning dirty again then you need to refill the tub and repeat the above steps till the water stays pretty clean

Method 3. Alternate Methods to Clean Your Sheepskin Rug

Small Rugs Can Be Washed on A Delicate Cycle Using A Detergent

This technique is best for rugs that are roughly a size of a doormat. You just need to put the sheepskin rug in the washing machine and add the amount of the detergent mentioned on the bottle of sheepskin detergent. Ensure that you wash the rug on delicate cycles and avoid the use of hot water for washing your rug.

Some tips for cleaning your sheepskin rug are: Do not use any detergent to clean your rug instead use sheepskin detergent for better results. Always use cold water for washing your rug as hot water hardens the rug and makes it shrink. Sheepskin detergents are already very concentrated so you will need less to clean your sheepskin rug.

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Important Tip If You Do Not Want Your Sheepskin Rug to Shrink

Sheepskin rug just like any other leather object shrinks when it is placed into the water. The rug gets smaller when it is submerged in the water. To prevent this you can use a small rag and some detergent to clean the rug before directly placing it into the water. You can damp the rag with some cool water and sheepskin detergent and gently scrub the in the direction of the fur. You can further use a clean rag to remove excess detergent from the rug. You should continue to rinse out the rag until it becomes spotless.

Dyed Rug

Dyed Rug

If your sheepskin rug is dyed then whether you wash it with hand or machine wash it, it can fade. In this scenario, the best way is to take it to a professional dry cleaner who will maintain its appearance.

Method 4. Steps to Dry Your Sheepskin Rug

Steps to Dry Your Sheepskin Rug

Remove the Rug from The Tub

The first step of drying your rug is to remove the rug from the tub or washer and gently squeezing out the water. This will remove excess water from the rug easily. Make sure that you do not twist the rug and wring it out, this can affect the natural shape of the rug once is it dry. You continue to squeeze the rug till it is damp and not dripping.

Excess Water Can Be Removed Using A Towel

If you want to dry out the rug more gently then you can always use a towel. There are chances that you might not feel comfortable squeezing your rug. in this case you can take the rug out of the washer or tub and lay it down on the floor.

Next, you can blot the rug using a clean towel to soak up extra water. You should repeat these till no water drips from the rug. Some other tips for drying your rug with a towel are:

You can line the floor with a large towel if don’t want your floor to soak wet. You can do the same thing even after you’ve squeezed excess water. This will surely speed up the drying process of your sheepskin rug.

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A Warm Environment Is Necessary to Drying of Sheepskin Rug

One important thing that you should keep in mind while drying your sheepskin rug is that you should never put the rug in direct heat such as in the direct sun or near a fireplace. Firstly, place a towel down on the ground to absorb the excess moisture from the rug, and spread the rug in its natural shape.

Leave the rug in its natural position for few hours to dry. The rug will feel stiff when it is dry. As described avoid placing the rug in direct sunlight as a strong heat source can ruin the shape of the rug. You should also avoid hanging the rug as it stretches out the sheepskin rug.

Brush the Rug to Soften It

It differs from person to person how they comb their rugs. Some people like to comb out the rug when it is still wet while others wait till the rug is completely dry to comb it. While brushing your rug makes sure you use a large-tooth comb brush while it is wet and then again use a sheepskin brush when it is dry to make it extra fluffy. You can also use a pet brush to brush the rug when it is dry, making the sheepskin rug fluff up more.

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Cleaning A Faux Sheepskin Rug

Faux sheepskin does not require as much care as a real one. If your rug is a fake one, it won’t retain its shape when you pull out its fibers. Any of the above-recommended methods are can be used to clean a faux sheepskin rug.

Sheepskin Rugs are surely a beautiful addition to the home. Don’t worry if your rug is dirty, there are plenty of options to clean a sheepskin rug. Just make sure you follow the recommended guidelines and do not use hot water and bleach to clean your rug. Then your sheepskin rug will look good as new!

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Maya Singh

Maya Singh earned her Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University and has spent 15 years in the field of cleaning and hygiene, with a focus on health and environmental safety. Joining our editorial team in 2021, Maya provides insights into effective and sustainable cleaning practices. Her background includes working in public health campaigns and as a consultant for cleaning product companies. In her leisure time, Maya is an avid birdwatcher and participates in community clean-up drives.

1 thought on “How to Clean Sheepskin Rug In 4 Easy Steps”

  1. Ive ruined my huge ivory colour sheepskin rug with bleach.i spilled coffee on it & used bleach,it now has orange stained fur. How can i lighten this orange? Its a 6 pelt so i cant wash it.


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