The Ultimate Guide for Cleaning a Sheepskin Rug

how to clean a sheepskin rug

The Ultimate Guide for Cleaning a Sheepskin Rug

The importance of sheepskin rug care


Sinking your toes into a fluffy, warm sheepskin rug on a cold winter’s evening is one of life’s great pleasures. Prized for it’s cosiness, sheepskin has been used for centuries to keep chilliness at bay – and sheepskin rugs of all colours, shapes and sizes can be found bringing a little bit of luxury into homes all across the UK.

Sheepskin rugs are one of the most timeless choices when it comes to floor décor! So it’s no wonder that many of our customers want to know how to keep their sheepskin rug in tip-top condition. How can you maintain your sheepskin rug? What’s the best way to clean a sheepskin rug? Can you dry clean a sheepskin rug and should you wash sheepskin at all? These are frequent questions from homeowners who want their beloved fluffy furnishing to last as long as possible.

Well have no fear, help is at hand!

sheepskin rug

Reasons for cleaning your sheepskin rug


With proper care, your sheepskin should continue keeping your toes toasty for many years to come! However, in its place on your living room or bedroom floor it will suffer some wear and tear over time. Rugs that are regularly walked over or sat on will eventually begin to lose their lustre, and no one wants a shabby old sheepskin in their hallway!

It’s best to start as you mean to go on. Get into the habit of caring for your rug from the beginning and if you love your sheepskin, it’ll love you back!

Our top ten sheepskin cleaning and rug care tips


Follow these simple rug care tips to keep your sheepskin looking as beautiful as the day you bought it:

Shake it up!

One of the best ways to keep your sheepskin rug looking as good as new is to give it a good shake every now and again. Regularly ridding your rug of dust and dry dirt will prevent grime from getting deep down into the fibres.

Brush up on sheepskin cleaning

Head down to your local pet shop and invest in a medium or wide tooth metal brush. Just like keeping your dog or mog looking groomed, brushing your sheepskin rug will help separate the strands and keep it looking fresh and downy. Make sure you brush the wool regularly to prevent it from becoming matted.

It’s no fun in the sun

Sheepskin is a natural product and it doesn’t take well to sunlight, so it’s best kept in a shadier spot. UV rays can cause your sheepskin rug to turn yellow over time and direct sunshine on the leather could cause it to harden and crack.

Keep it cool

Should you need to store your rug for any length of time, try to keep it somewhere cool and airy. You don’t want any moisture to creep in and cause mould. If you can, keep folds to a minimum during storage. However, if the leather is still supple most creases should disappear with a good shake and a little time.

Do away with damp

Be careful to keep your sheepskin away from damp floors. Just mopped? Put your sheepskin rug to one side until the floor is fully dry. Damp floors could attract black mould or cause the wool to become curly.

Spot clean stains

For small flecks of muck there’s no need to clean the whole rug. If you can, catch the offending speck straight away and wipe off with a damp cloth. You could use a little wool detergent if necessary. Alternatively, a spot of mud can be left to dry and brushed out later.

Minimise wear & tear

There are lots of uses for sheepskin hide in your home – warming a cold stone floor, brightening up a shabby settee or making your bed extra comfy! Of course, rugs that are regularly walked over or sat on will wear out more quickly that those used just for decorative purposes.

Wash only if necessary

With good care, you may never need to wash your sheepskin rug. But sometimes accidents happen – so if the damage goes beyond spot cleaning and you do need to give it a full wash, do be sure to follow our guidelines below.

Ask the pros

Sheepskin rugs can be dry cleaned, but make sure you select a professional company with plenty of experience. See our guide below for advice on dry cleaning sheepskin rugs.

Invest in a quality sheepskin rug

If your hide has seen better days and you’re looking to replace it, choose a quality product to make sure it lasts the test of time. 

How to clean a sheepskin rug


how to clean a sheepskin rug

Natural sheepskin contains lanolin and oils that give built-in protection against dirt – so if you follow our top ten sheepskin cleaning and rug care tips you may never need to wash your rug at all.

But if disaster strikes and washing is required, you can do it at home if you carefully follow the guide below.

Dry Cleaning Your Sheepskin Rug


Sheepskin rugs may be dry-cleaned. We recommend this option for dyed rugs as hand or machine washing could cause them to lose their vibrant colour. Choose a professional dry cleaning company and check that they have experience in dry cleaning sheepskin.

Machine Washing Your Sheepskin Rug


Smaller white or ivory rugs can be washed in a washing machine but we’d advise not to launder coloured rugs as some of the dye may wash out, causing the product to become dull. If your rug is more than a few years old and the leather is dry, it’s also not a good idea to wash it as the leather could perish.

Send your rug round on a 30°C wool wash and select a low spin cycle. Use a mild washing liquid. Some specialist sheepskin cleaning products are available, so we’d recommend using one of these if you can.

Once cleaned, it will take a while for the rug to dry. To dry your sheepskin rug, lay flat on a line or clothes horse somewhere nice and airy and out of direct sunlight. Cloudy summer days are perfect! If your rug has lost its shape during washing, simply pull back into shape whilst wet.

Too much heat will cause the leather to harden and crack – so don’t try to force dry your rug by leaving it on a radiator or putting it in the tumble dryer.

Give your rug a good brush whilst damp. This will help detangle the wool and stop it from curling up. Brush it again when dry to give your sheepskin the gorgeous fluffy appearance you love!

Hand Washing Your Sheepskin Rug


If you have a larger rug that won’t fit in the washing machine, hand washing is an alternative option. As with machine-washing, we wouldn’t recommend washing coloured sheepskin rugs.

For larger rugs, your bathtub is the perfect place to give them a good spruce! Fill the bath with clean, lukewarm water about 30°C. Add a little detergent – as with machine washing we recommend using a specialist washing liquid or a mild non-biological detergent.

Completely submerge your sheepskin in the warm water and gently swill the rug around. Don’t rub it as this could cause the wool to become matted. About five minutes should do the trick.

Empty all the dirty water out of the bath or sink and refill with fresh water to rinse the suds and dirt away. If necessary, rinse again. Don’t wring out your rug. Instead, roll it up and give it a good squeeze to get as much water out as possible.

Now follow the same drying process outlined for machine washing.