How to clean a sheepskin rug
Care in general
If you recently purchased a sheepskin or has been a proud owner for many years, you can pad yourself on the shoulder, because you now have a quality proof product that can last a lifetime with the right care. A sheepskin naturally contains lanolin. Lanolin is a wool wax, that comes from within the wool and has a uniquely protective and cleansing effect. This means the sheepskin only needs a small amount of care.
The easiest way to maintain your sheepskin is to remember to shake it frequently. We recommend that you shake it at least once a week. If you use the sheepskin a lot and are sitting on it every day, it would be better if you shake it more than once a week.
When you shake your sheepskin, you make sure it keeps the soft look and removes all the filth, that will get into it eventually.
Sheepskin with long and smooth hairs
If you have a sheepskin with long and smooth hairs it is not enough to just shake it. It also has to be brushed regularly. If you sit or lay down on your sheepskin every day, you should brush it a bit more frequently. When you sit or lay on the sheepskin, the hairs will eventually be pressed together and get tangled into each other. But don’t worry, you can easily separate the hairs with a brush and the more you do it, the quicker it is to fix next time.
When you brush the sheepskin, we recommend that you brush the entire skin, but be careful where the hairs are tangled up. There will always be some hairs falling off in the process, but this is okay, so do not worry. If you brush the skin once a month, you will have an amazingly soft sheepskin for a very long time.
If you do sit on it every day, we recommend you brush it every other week or once a week. It is important to keep an eye on your sheepskin and frequently evaluate whether it needs to be brushed or not. Your sheepskin will be much better if it is maintained and taken care of, because the care prolongs its durability.
If you have a curly sheepskin, you should not brush it. If you brush through the curls, the natural curls will disappear. You should instead shake the sheepskin once a week. If the curls start to fade or disappear, you don’t need to worry. We have a simple trick to make them reappear.
Start by moisten your hands with water and grab the sheepskin with a clenched fist. Do this on the entire surface of the skin and shake it roughly afterwards. While the skin dries, the curls are recreated naturally. It is important that you make sure that your hands are not too wet. The leather should not get wet and has to stay dry at all times.
How to remove different stains
When you buy a sheepskin, it is meant to be used. This makes it almost impossible to avoid stains in general. If it happens, it is important that you act on it right away. There are some specific actions you should take, when a stain hits your sheepskin. The action depends on what kind of stain it is.
When removing stains from a sheepskin, the following always applies: the stain must we wiped off immediately. This can be done with a dry or wet cloth, so the stain won’t absorb into the leather. If possible, turn the skin around immediately, so the fur side is down. This protects the leather side from the stain and dries up the skin quickly. To make the drying easier, put the skin on a drying rack. When the skin is dry, you can start removing the stain. Keep reading this folder and learn how to remove any kind of stain.
Chocolate or porridge
If you have chocolate or porridge on the skin, you should put your sheepskin on a drying rack with the fur side down. Let the stain dry. When it is all dry you brush the dry stain off the skin with a sheepskin brush. Even after you have brushed it well, there can be small parts of the stain left.
In this case we recommend you wipe the stain off with a wet and warm cloth. Put the skin on a drying rack afterwards and brush it once again when the skin is dry. If the stain won’t go away, continue the procedure a couple of times and then it should be gone.
Beer, soda or other beverages
If you spill a fluid like beer, soda or any other like it on your sheepskin you must wet a cloth with warm water and dip it on the stain. Remember to twist the cloth, so it is not too wet. Then take a dry cloth and dry the skin carefully with it. It helps to use one teaspoon of wool detergent with half a liter warm water and put the mixture on the stain.
When you have massaged the mixture into the stain, the mixture will become a kind of foam, that you should leave for a while. When it has been working for a while, you must remove it from the skin with a wet cloth first and then with a dry cloth. Is necessary, you can repeat this procedure several times. When the skin is dry, we recommend you brush it thoroughly.
Coffee, wine or blood
If you spill coffee, wine or blood on a sheepskin you have to take a wet and warm cloth and dip it on the stain. Remember to twist the cloth so it won’t be too wet. When you have done this, you take a dry cloth and dip the stain with it. Mix one teaspoon of wool detergent with one spoon of vinegar and half a liter warm water and put it on the stain. Dip the mixture on the stain with a cloth. Wipe it off with a wet cloth and finish off by drying the area with a clean and dry cloth. You can repeat the procedure if necessary. At last you brush the skin with a sheepskin brush, so the sheepskin will be soft again.
When sitting comfortably in the couch on your sheepskin, it is often in the company of a lit candle. If you get stearin on your sheepskin, you should put blotting paper on the stain and carefully iron on it. Don’t let the iron get too hot, but iron carefully until the blotting paper has absorbed all the stearin. Repeat this procedure a couple of times until it is all gone. When there is no more stearin left, you must brush the skin with at sheepskin brush, and it will be as good as new.
This is very unfortunate. You dropped a chewed bubblegum in your sheepskin, and it is stuck in the hairs. It seems pointless to try to fix it at this point, but actually, there is a way to solve this problem without harming the sheepskin. Start by removing as much gum as you can by carefully plucking it off the hairs. If you cannot remove all the gum, you can put the skin in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer. Make sure that the bag is fully closed and let the skin freeze overnight. Remember to not roll the skin too tight. The following day you can easily remove the gum with your fingers or a sheepskin brush. Finish off by shaking the skin well.
Butter, oil or other fats
If you get some kind of liquid fat on your sheepskin, you must use the blotting paper method. Put the blotting paper on the stain and iron it carefully and not too hot. Iron until the paper has absorbed the stain. Repeat the process if necessary. Remember to brush the sheepskin afterwards. If the fat has reached the leather, you must remove it with dry shampoo. Spray dry shampoo on the stain and let it sit for a while. Gently brush the shampoo away from the skin with your hands and this should do it.
If someone vomits on your sheepskin it does not mean that it is ruined. You can easily clean the skin. Start by removing all the vomit you can with a dry cloth. Then take a clean cloth at make it wet with warm water and dip the stains with it. Then take a dry cloth and wipe the stains clean.
To be sure that it is all gone, mix a teaspoon of wool detergent with one spoon of vinegar and half a liter water. Dip the mixture carefully on the stains. When this is done, you wash the mixture off the skin with a wet cloth and then with a dry cloth. Repeat the process if necessary. When you are done you must shake the sheepskin thoroughly before using it again.
Bleach, chlorine or urine
If you spill chemicals like bleach or chlorine on your sheepskin, you must wipe the stain with a wet and warm cloth and then with a dry cloth. When you get these kinds of stains, you have to seek professional help, because the traditional products within your reach won’t help you. They won’t be able to remove these aggressive stains completely. Instead you should contact a dry-cleaning business and remember to ask if they have experience in cleaning sheepskins before you make an appointment.
Dried-in wine, coffee or blood
If the stain has been on the sheepskin for a while and is dried into the skin, you can remove it by brushing the sheepskin with a sheepskin brush. If large parts of your skin are covered in stains that are dry, we recommend that you take the skin to a professional dry cleaner.
Dried-in fats and urine
These kinds of stains are very difficult to fix and there is not much you can do yourself. We recommend that you contact a professional dry cleaner and let them take care of your sheepskin.
How to remove smell from a sheepskin
A sheepskin is a natural material and can have different natural or synthetic smells. Some skins smell because of their tanning, some have a natural animal smell while others get a moldy smell because they have been stored for a long time in a basement or on an attic. It is of course not nice to have a sheepskin that smells bad, so if your sheepskin has a bad smell, there is a way to remove it.
A simple trick is to hang the skin outside, so it will be vented. If it is possible, it is best to let it hang over night. If you choose to hang it up outside, you should make sure that it hangs under a roof, so it won’t get wet - in a garage or somewhere similar.
After venting the skin, the smell will decrease, but not disappear completely. If the skin has a significant smell, it will be a little while, but don’t worry, the smell will disappear in time. When the skin is tanned, it will have an artificial smell, but this smell will decrease after a week or two and then the sheepskin will get the same smell as your home.
It is perfectly normal that a sheepskin has a strong smell, when you receive it. This is all natural, because the smell occurs when the skin has been wrapped up for days. When you have unwrapped the skin at home, you should shake it firmly and give it a brief venting outside. If you do this, the smell will disappear by itself.
Some sheepskins smell more strongly of animal. These skins keep the smell a lot longer than those skins, that have picked up another smell during tanning. It is of curse important to vent these skins, but be aware, that there will still be a strong smell after venting. We know it sounds bad, but there are ways to remove this smell:
If you are located somewhere with snow outside, you can lay the sheepskin down on the snow with the fur side down. Shake the skin afterwards to remove the snow. If you do this, it is very important that you make sure that the leather side is completely dry. The cold temperature in the snow helps neutralize the smell. You can also put the skin in a plastic bag and in the freezer. Remember to not roll the skin too tight and remember to close the bag completely. When the skin has been in the freezer all night, you take it out and shake it well.
Even though we are used to solving smelling problems with chemicals, we do not recommend that you use chemicals on a sheepskin. Many sheepskins will react in a bad way to chemicals and it will only harm the skin. Strong perfume and air freshener should also be avoided, because the skin will create an unpleasant smelling combination, when it is exposed to these chemicals.
If none of the above is working and your sheepskin still smells, you can wash it in the washing machine or get it cleaned by a professional. If you choose to wash it in the machine, we recommend you keep reading and find our recommendations regarding washing a sheepskin in a washing machine.
How to wash a sheepskin rug in the washing machine
Did you know that you can wash many different sheepskins in a washing machine? It all depends on how the skin is tanned. If the skin is tanned with salt, it is not suitable for the washing machine, because the salt will be washed out and the leather will be destroyed. A medicinal tanned skin can be washed in the washing machine. No matter what, we recommend you contact the place you bought the skin or check the label or instructions before you wash it in a machine. If you do this, you make sure to wash the skin correctly without harming it unnecessarily.
Even though many sheepskins are suitable for washing machines, we recommend that you only wash your skin as a last resort. Machine washing makes the leather very hard and the hairs will get tangled. You can try to brush out the hairs, but the skin will not be nearly as soft as it was before you put it in the machine. Instead we recommend you to always try to remove stains and dirt without the machine.
How to dry a sheepskin
If you have washed your sheepskin you have to consider how you dry it afterwards. It is very important that you do this right. No matter what kind of stains it had, you may under no circumstances dry it in the dryer. If you do this, the leather will become hard. If you have washed your sheepskin in a washing machine, we recommend that you use centrifugation to remove as much water as possible. When the skin is taken out of the machine you must shake it well to get most of the water out of it.
When you dry the skin, you must always put it on a drying rack with the fur side down. Place the drying rack in a room with good venting and avoid direct sunlight. You should also not let the sheepskin be too close to hot sources like radiators. A wet sheepskin takes a couple of days to dry. This means that you must remember to pull it frequently while it dries this way you make sure that it comes back to its original form.
When you pull the skin, it is much easier when you are two. Pull the ends carefully at the same time. If your sheepskin has long hairs, you should brush them carefully while they are still a bit wet. When the sheepskin is completely dry, you must brush it once again. When brushing the skin, you prevent the hairs from tangling into each other. When your sheepskin is completely dry, you can use it again as you did before.
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