Released On 20th Jan 2019
How to care for and clean your sheepskin rugs.
Plus benefits for Baby.
Yesterday in the shop I had 2 different groups of ladies – both groups had been to a baby shower in one of the local villages and both were looking for sheepskin rugs.
I expect everybody appreciates the benefits of sheepskin as a pram liner or bed for baby to lie on, but just in case you don’t, I will state the main points:
Sensory stimulus, the texture under little fingers both sooths and interests’ baby.
Dense pile gives soft cushioning on hard surfaces
Natural thermostat of the skin means warm in winter, cool in summer
Natural material means not lying on harsh synthetics (plus better for planet, that means better for baby in the future.)
Baby & Pet rugs are usually short woolled, whereas Home & Interior design rugs are very often long wool: The cleaning tips below apply equally to both.
I thought the questions the ladies asked were relevant to everybody, so here goes with the answers:
How do I care for / clean/ revive my sheepskin rugs **
Always shake and air your rugs regularly - depending how much you like cleaning ! but I would suggest always include in your spring cleaning regime
After a good shake suspend it on the washing line/ or over the fence and ideally beat it as well.
Leave it out to air, Mother Nature is a brilliant deodoriser. – At very least, this bit could be done a couple of times a year.
Can I vacuum my rug ?
Yes sure thing, hoovering never hurts, provided you have it on a lightweight setting, and use the T bar to spread the load;
The tube on full suck, could potentially pull the wool from the roots if the rug is old, or fracture the wool if it has had heavy traffic or has been attacked by moth.
SPOT washing ?
Red wine, blackcurrant, baby poo, i.e. bad stainers – grab them asap, blot out as much as possible. Chocolate, mud etc – let it dry then pick off and brush out as much crust as possible.
Next, if you can get away with a warm damp cloth (a mild soft soapy solution is fine) – smashing, as the mark diminishes spread the edges of the stain, otherwise you could end up with a “negative” effect, the clean spot being more visible than the stain
If that gentle approach doesn’t remove the stain adequately, you can wet the wool with luke warm water and wash like you would hair, baby shampoo is brilliant (any soft soap, without a colour or detergent !!), again the key is to spread the stain, don’t just concentrate on the fouled area, rinse well with clear water. Ideally try to only wet the wool not the pelt, it’s just much quicker and easier to just dry the wool.
Towel dry the wool, and then allow to dry naturally in a warm airy place.
Provided it is just the wool that is wet you can dry with a hairdryer ON COOL – zero heat, I mean it ZERO HEAT. You can brush straight wool with a dog brush, metal teeth are best.
If the rug has a natural ringlet or curl then brushing as it gets too dry it will have the effect of making go fuzzy, so I think it is best to dry naturally or just use your fingers to break open the tight curls.
Can you put a sheepskin rug in the washing machine?
Yes, not too often but YES.
Do all of the above to loosen/rid as much grime as possible, then wash it like you would your very best wool jumper on a cool delicate wool wash, using something soft soap based, no biological detergent because that will strip the natural oils, and don’t use too much cleaner as it is difficult for the rinse programme if you have gone crazy with suds.
When rinsed and spun, there might still be moisture in the wool & pelt, I always use plenty of towels to wrap & gently wring (sausage like) to squeeze out/absorb more water into the towels.
Give a good shake and then, ideally on the line to dry or somewhere warm and airy to dry naturally, PLEASE don’t put it on anything hot that will dry it too aggressively.
The pelt will harden and stiffen as it dry’s, you just need to manipulate the pelt with kneading and twisting, this will soften the fibres and help the skin break open and return to a more tactile feel.
That’s it – stating the obvious, but like all-natural products the more you wash it, the more you will strip out the natural oils, that cannot be replaced so it is a balance between clean and maintaining the natural lustre/softness.
But as I always say, if we all grow old and grubby gracefully – what’s the harm?
The finest British & International Sheepskin Rugs & accessories here
** - please note:-
All the above advice is only relevant to Sheepskin rugs originating from areas where the feed/grass is plush and generous, i.e. Australia/NZ, UK & Europe, USA.
If the sheep/lambs diet becomes sparser – Tibet, some African and South American regions the wool and pelt is far more tender and prone to rip or break.
Also in some cases the tanning processes are not so uniform and “correct” as mainstream tanneries use, so if you want to use the above cleaning methods on these more fragile skins, bear these points in mind and be much more careful and gentle – especially don’t let anything remotely hot (especially water) come in contact with the skin.
Frankly, I would be extremely cautious about washing any non-mainstream or tender pelt.
All of this advice only refers to Sheepskins and is NOT meant for any other animal skins with the wool on (Alpaca, Lama, Vicuna etc.).