Washing Sheepskin - Important Points to Note
The leather side of the sheepskin is easily damaged by incorrect washing. The main points to note are:
1. Only use a mild detergent which is enzyme-free with no bleaches. Note many wool wash products contain enzymes which can damage the leather. Our Woolskin Wool Wash/Sheepskin Shampoo however is ideal. As an alternative, you can use a mild hand dish washing liquid for washing smaller items by hand.
2. Only wash in cold or lukewarm water (up to 40 C/108 F).
3. For rugs, underlays and car seat covers gently stretch to shape whilst still damp.
4. Hang out to dry away from direct sunlight.
5. For long wool products brush whilst damp and again when dry.
See below for details of caring for particular types of sheepskin products.
Whilst we endeavor to provide helpful information, washing and drying of sheepskins is done at your risk and we cannot be held responsible for unforeseen damage that may occur. Note some companies offer sheepskin products that are dry clean only, so always check the care instructions label.
Sheepskin Footwear & Mittens
As the soft suede finish of twinface sheepskin products such as slippers, boots and mittens is easily stained, we highly recommend our Sheepskin Protector & Water Repellent before use and after cleaning.
Prevent excessive soiling. Light stains can be removed using a damp cloth.
Spot cleaning: Apply a light, even coat of our Sheepskin Shampoo to the area to be treated. Using a damp white or dye-fast cloth wipe over gently removing soiling. Continue to wipe the surface until all the shampoo is removed. Pat dry with a dry white or dye-fast cloth. Allow to fully dry slowly away from direct heat sources.
Washing: Hand wash in cool or lukewarm water ideally using our Woolskin Wool Wash. This shampoo has been formulated especially for sheepskin products and doesn't contain chemicals found in regular detergents that may harm the sheepskin leather & wool.
Wash separately from other items as bleeding of color is possible. Rinse thoroughly in cold water. Do NOT put sheepskin footwear or mittens in the washing machine. After washing, remove excess water using paper towels, and if required reshape by stuffing with dry paper towels. Allow to dry naturally and slowly. Do NOT dry in sunlight or direct heat.
Baby/Infant Care Fleeces and Medical Rugs & Accessories
Due to the natural lanolin in the wool, genuine sheepskin tends to be self-cleaning. Daily airing will keep your Infant Care or Medical Sheepskin fresh and help maintain its self-cleaning properties.
Small slightly soiled areas can be sponged off.
Hand or machine wash once a month ideally using our Woolskin Sheepskin Washing Liquid. This has been formulated for lambskins/sheepskins, especially infant care and medical sheepskin. It doesn't contain chemicals found in regular detergents that may harm the sheepskin leather & wool. Do not use soap or washing detergents containing enzymes or bleach. Use warm water (max 40 C / 108 F).
Tumble dry on cool setting (not warm or hot). Do not bleach or iron. If not machine drying, hang to dry or dry flat. Do not dry in direct sunlight, or near a heat source. Full care instructions are attached to each skin.
Should a medical or baby sheepskin come into contact with urine, it should be washed as soon as possible after soiling to maximize the life of the sheepskin.
Sheepskin Rugs, Car Seat Covers, Pillows and Pet Mats
Your lambskin rug or other sheepskin product may have been tightly packaged for its journey to you so the wool may appear flattened. Wool fibers are very resilient and will bounce back to their original springy appearance. A vigorous shake will help restore the soft, fluffy appearance of the wool. Any fold marks from packaging will disappear once the skin has been removed from the package for several days.
Note that natural white color sheepskins can yellow with age, this can't be reversed.
Spot cleaning: For particularly large rugs that can't easily be washed at home, you can spot clean as follows:
1. Dilute the Sheepskin Shampoo concentrate into a spray bottle 10ml per 200ml (6 3/4 fl. oz) water using the shampoo bottle's measuring chamber.
2. Hold the pump spray about 250mm (10in.) from the rug and spray the soiled area. For large areas do a section at a time. Do not over-wet.
3. Using a damp foam sponge or white cloth, whisk the fibers causing a foam to occur.
4. Rinse out the sponge and wipe over the treated area removing the residual foam. Repeat if necessary.
5. Wipe over the surface with a towel to remove excess moisture.
6. Allow to dry thoroughly and brush to restore fluffiness.
Washing smaller rugs: Machine or hand wash your longwool sheepskin rug in warm water (40 C/108 F) ideally using our Woolskin Sheepskin Wash/Shampoo. This has been specially formulated for sheepskin and doesn't contain chemicals which could harm the sheep skin. Do not use soap or washing detergents containing enzymes or bleach. After rinsing thoroughly, spin to remove excess water.
Washing large rugs: For large rugs that can't be washed in a washing mach ine or bathtub and require more than a spot cleaning, DIY options include hanging the rug on a strong line or rope outdoors.
Note the rug will become very heavy when wet so for quite large rugs you may need several lines several inches apart to avoid stretching the sheepskin's hide.
Use a garden hose to thoroughly wet the rug and apply diluted sheepskin shampoo using a sponge. After thoroughly working this into the wool, rinse thoroughly. If required, repeat the process. The rug can be left to dry on the line.
Alternatively, the above can be carried out on a large, flat, clean surface, and when complete the rug elevated or hung up to dry.
For very large rugs such as over 8-pelts in size, you may wish to consider professional cleaning.
Drying: Dry flat or on a line and gently stretch to shape while damp. Keep away from direct sunlight and artificial heat (as these may damage your sheepskin). Do not tumble dry or iron.
Brushing: After washing, the wool of long wool sheepskins may revert back to its natural curly state. You can help restore the fluffy appearance by brushing the wool while it is wet and again when it is dry. Our Bowron Care Brush is ideal.
Due to the natural lanolin in the wool, genuine sheepskin tends to be self-cleaning. Daily airing will keep the sheepskin fresh and help maintain its self-cleaning properties. Small lightly soiled areas can be sponged off and towel dried where necessary. Note the Bowron sheepskin underlays we used to sell are dry clean only, however the Classic Sheepskins underlay we now sell is fully washable.
Should a sheepskin bed cover/underlay come into contact with urine, laundering should be carried out as soon as possible after soiling to maximize the life of the sheepskin.
Washing: Machine or hand wash in warm water (40 C/108 F) ideally using our Woolskin Sheepskin Wash/Shampoo. Do not use soap or washing detergents containing enzymes or bleach. Spin to remove excess water
Drying: Dry flat ideally over several lines for support and gently stretch to shape while damp. Keep away from direct sunlight and artificial heat as these may damage your sheepskin. Do not tumble dry or iron.
Our lambskin gloves with the suede finish are supplied pre-treated with ScotchGard Leather Protector making them showerproof. However their resistance to water and staining can be improved significantly by applying two light coats of our Sheepskin Protector when new or after washing. Our Black Nappa gloves don't need any further protection as they have a semi-gloss finish.
Prevent excessive soiling. Light stains can be removed using a damp cloth. To provide the best care for your gloves, the manufacturer of our Hazletts gloves, that we used to sell, recommends dry cleaning with a specialist drycleaner.
For our Four Peaks New Zealand sheepskin gloves:
1. Gently hand wash in lukewarm water and a mild detergent such as our Sheepskin Shampoo.
2. Avoid stretching the thin leather.
3. Rinse thoroughly.
4. Squeeze excess water out gently and dry slowly away from direct heat. During the drying process place the gloves on hands once or twice to help retain shape. Or alternatively dry clean with a specialist drycleaner.
Wash the chamois in lukewarm water only with mild detergent. Rinse and squeeze out excess moisture. Do not wring. Dry out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources.
When not in use for proloned periods store in a cool place away from direct sunlight. Avoid using plastic bags as condensation could occur, especially in warm, humid conditions.