How to Keep Sheepskin Clean
How to Keep Sheepskin Clean
Or should we say – is it easy to keep my sheepskin clean? Well something we love about sheepskin is that it can be really easy to clean. We have lots of customers, family and friends who have kept their sheepskin in tip top condition for years and years, here’s how…
Do I need to wash sheepskin?
You don’t usually need to wash sheepskin - more often than not it isn’t necessary to wash your entire sheepskin. Sheepskin has natural lanolin in the skin – the magical and natural ingredient that keeps it super soft. Washing your sheepskin can remove this lanolin so please don’t do it unless you really have to - and never wash a new lambskin, our baby lambskins are safe for use straight away. The lanolin in the skin also has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties so it does also help to keep it clean.
What about spills and stains?
So first things first – most stains and spills can be brushed out. They shouldn’t sink too deeply into the fleece and if you leave spills to dry first they will brush out much easier. Make sure you use a wired specialist or slicker brush that is manufactured for wool or animal hair.
If your stain is a little tougher but still small, we recommend spot cleaning. Do this by using a special sheepskin shampoo and tepid water along with a sponge. Sheepskin shampoo is not the same as wool shampoo, you must use a shampoo that contains lanolin to replace the natural properties of the fleece. Natural lanolin will keep your sheepskin soft and is the only way to prevent damage to the fibres.
Can I wash sheepskin in a washing machine?
We are often asked whether we recommend washing your sheepskin in the washing machine. Whilst this is possible and there are a number of ways to wash your sheepskin – we always recommend hand washing. All wool cycles of a washing machine are slightly different and whilst we have had plenty of successes we have also had a few ‘oops’ moments. We always recommend hand washing in cool water as this is the gentlest way to clean the fleece and will reduce the risk of the leather shrinking.
Give your sheepskin a bath
It’s easiest to wash sheepskin in a cool bath (with a water temperature no higher than 30°C). This allows for plenty of room to move the fleece about and gently agitate it to remove the dirt without damaging it.
Gently wring the water out of the sheepskin by hand and roll it in a towel to take out most of the moisture. Hang it over the side of the bath and any further excess water will find its way to the bottom of the fleece so you should be able to gently wring out any further moisture.
Cool and Slow Drying
However much you want your sheepskin ready to use again, please don’t rush the drying process. Never tumble dry, use the heat of a radiator or sun on a warm day. The best solution is to dry flat in a cool room or drape over an airer away from heat.
Stretch the sheepskin into shape and as it dries keep stretching the leather periodically to keep it nice and supple. The sheepskin may take several days to dry.
Give your sheepskin a good brushing once it’s dry with a wire sheepskin brush to ensure that it remains fluffy. It is possible that the leather will feel a little stiff to begin with – this will improve over time the more it is used. If you want to speed up the softening process then ‘work’ the leather over the corner of a hard surface such as a table or worktop. Your sheepskin will soon be as good as new.