How to clean and wash a natural sheepskin rug

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Natural Sheepskin rugs are very easy to care for and when washed they can look like new again. This week I washed my two natural Ivory double longwool sheepskin rugs that I had beside our bed and are about four years old. It is best to wash them in the spring, summer or autumn. I waited for an overcast day in summer. This is what my sheepskin looked like before washing. It was grubby, the wool was matted and it had things stuck in it. It helps if you can brush the wool BEFORE washing with a sheepskin brush, this is like brushing your hair before you wash it to get out all the tangles and helps to avoid the sheepskin matting up during washing.

Cleaning sheepskin rugs
My dirty and matted sheepskin before washing

I washed the sheepskins in a bath (because it was a double size and wouldn’t fit into my washing machine) using lukewarm water (38°C/100°F) and using a small amount of non-alkaline mild liquid detergent wool wash shampoo (Sheepskin woolskin shampoo). Please only use shampoos/detergents which are non-alkaline, non-ionic and do not contain biological enzymes: Do NOT use Woolite or laundry detergents such as Tide.

People often ask me why they can’t just use a normal woolwash. The reason is that normal woolwash is only safe for the wool, but is NOT safe for the leather. If you don’t use the right soap the sheepskin may either fall apart or go hard and stiff. The wool may also matt up beyond salvage if you use the wrong type.

We recently developed a special wool wash that is safe for the wool AND the leather, this is a pretty unique woolskin wash how to wash a sheepskin. This is only available from Gorgeous Creatures but can be used on all kinds of things including your UGG boots, mohair throws, woolen knitwear hand washing and as a normal low-irritant laundry detergent.

Washing sheepskin in the bath
Washing my sheepskin in the bath

Don’t agitate the sheepskin too much while washing; you just want a gentle action of water moving through the wool to dislodge dirt particles. But not so much movement that the wool mattes up like felt. Swish the sheepskin around gently in the water for about 3 to 5 minutes. If you use a washing machine it MUST be set to the delicate wool cycle setting.

Hand wash sheepskins with gentle motion in mild wool wash
Hand wash sheepskins with gentle motion in mild wool wash

Release the dirty water and refill the bath with fresh warm water to rinse the last soap and dirt away, you might need to do this a few times. Roll the sheepskin rug up and squeeze out as much water as you can, let it drain and then transfer to a washing machine to gently spin out most of the excess water.

Rinse and drain the sheepskin rug to clean
Rinse, drain and spin the sheepskin rug

To dry the sheepskin rug I used a clean towel to lay it on, and pulled the leather into shape making sure it is flat. It is important that is dries slowly away from direct heat like direct sunlight and artificial heat or the leather could shrink or harden (I chose an overcast but warm day). Do not tumble dry your sheepskin on a HOT heat, it is safe to tumble dry on a LOW heat but this takes ages. I do a mixture of allowing the sheepskin to dry naturally and then finishing it off in a LOW heat clothes dryer.  Take care NOT to place the sheepskin on a radiator, steam pipe or in front of a fan heater as this may damage the leather of the sheepskin rug. But do not be tempted to speed up the drying process with extra heat, you will ruin your sheepskin. Natural air flow can help the drying process.

Lay the washed sheepskin flat to dry
Lay the washed sheepskin flat to dry slowly in the shade

Use a metal bristle sheepskin brush to brush the wool gently while it is still damp. If it is a warm day the wool will dry very fast. Give the sheepskin wool another good brush as it dries and a final brush once completely dry.

Sheepskin carding brush
Brush your sheepskin with a special sheepskin carding brush

This is how my sheepskin rug looked once dry. Clean and fluffy and like brand new again.

Clean sheepskin after washing
A clean sheepskin after washing with the Gorgeous Creatures Woolskin Woolwash
Sheepskin washing kit - woolwash and carding brush
The Sheepskin woolwash is available on it’s own or as a set with the carding brush

NOTE:- If your sheepskin rug is very old, let’s say 10 years or more then washing it, especially in the wrong type of soap may cause the leather to fall apart. It is really hard for me to say when this will happen because it depends on how the sheepskin has been tanned, used, stored and how much sun it has received over its lifetime. Old leather is often perished where the fibers of the leather have started to dry-out, break-down and perish. This can not be repaired.

Any washing using these instructions is done at your own risk. If your sheepskin has become yellow then washing it will not take the yellow colour away, this is actually UV sun damage and can not be reversed. Treat yourself to a new sheepskin rug and protect it from direct sunlight and UV damage.

Dyed sheepskins should be dry cleaned because washing will most likely remove too much dye colouring. To check if your sheepskin is dyed look at the leather on the back. If the leather is white or pale blue-grey then it is probably natural. If the leather has a colour tinge similar to the wool colour then it is probably dyed.

All dyed sheepskins should be protected from direct UV sunlight or even reflected bright sunlight to avoid fading. If your sheepskin is really old it might not survive being washed, all washing is done at your own risk. dryclean sheepskin Please visit our Gorgeous Creatures website to see our sheepskins products.

sheepskin woolskin wash shampoo-video


110 thoughts on “How to clean and wash a natural sheepskin rug

    canadianhitchhiker said:
    16/02/2017 at 4:36 pm

    Hey there, foolish me I washed my sheepskin and then put in the dryer, the back of it became very hardened and crusty, so I put them into the bath tub for a day, I squeezed them out and let the, sit to dry, I stretched them out. They aren’t as crusty and hard as before, but it’s still very dry and not as smooth on the back as usual, as they don’t go on my plastic chairs as well anymore. Is there any oil or some thing you recommend to get them back to their normal ways?


      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      16/02/2017 at 4:56 pm

      Hi you could try lanolin or neatsfoot oil. These two oils have been mentioned by other people. I haven’t used this myself so please let us all know how you get on.

    Leona Gibbs said:
    07/02/2017 at 4:07 am

    I need to wash my sheepskin rug which is over 40 years old. The leather on the back is still very soft and it has never been outside. I am willing to take the chance of washing it with your products but can’t get your website to load on my computer. Can you send me another link to my e-mail address?

    Joshua Harmening said:
    05/01/2017 at 9:12 am

    So, my daughter’s new kitten decided to poop on our white sheep skin. Anything special I can do to clean this nastiness out?

    Bri said:
    22/10/2016 at 10:27 am

    Hi, I have recently found my sheep skin rug that my mom used for me when I was a baby and now I have 2 little girls of my own. I wanted to wash it and use it in my Christmas pictures this year, do you know if baby all detergent, or any baby detergent is safe enough to was the sheep skin? Also oxyclean? I just have no idea where I would find wool cleaner lol and I have alot of baby detergent lol

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      22/10/2016 at 10:39 am

      Hi Bri, baby detergent will not be safe to use on the leather (wrong type), neither will oxyclean – way too harsh. You need a special product that is safe for the leather like my woolskin wash that is linked from this article. However I have to assume that your childhood sheepskin rug is over 20-25 years old. If you wash it there is a chance that it might fall apart even if you use the right woolskin wash. Leather doesn’t last forever and over time is perishes as the fibres weaken.

    Lisa S said:
    07/10/2016 at 7:43 am

    My son has a beloved sheep skin that has become his comfort item. It goes everywhere with him. Last night he threw up on it. I washed it like I have before. Unfortunately there are red stains in the fur. It’s not dry yet. What can I do to remove the stains?

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      07/10/2016 at 10:37 pm

      Hi I don’t know what caused the stain (what was he eating/drinking that was red) so it is impossible to say what would remove it. And you didn’t say what you used to wash it??? Just water? So I don’t know what will remove the stain I’m sorry.

    Kaynonymous said:
    21/08/2016 at 12:12 pm

    Hi Kirsty,
    Have been considering a sheepskin and I’m doing a bit of research in advance. I was wondering if for periodic sprucing up (not washing) do you think I could tumble the sheepskin in a dryer on no heat help dislodge some debris and keep the wool fluffy. I have two cats and I have noticed that strands of their dark fur embeds itself into everything. When I hang dry or dry flat (sweaters for example) the fur stays put on/in the garments. Tumbling the already dried garments for a few minutes on no heat seems to release the dark strands- I find the lint trap.
    Any thoughts? Could this be a possible method for maintenance & upkeep of a new unstained sheepskin?

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      07/10/2016 at 10:45 pm

      Sorry for the delay in replying, this sill website doesn’t always tell me when there are messages. Your dryer theory will probably help but a good brush with a sheepskin carding brush is best to keep the wool fluffy and remove things that are stuck in the wool. A tumble dryer may matt up the wool more if it is already tangled and has not yet been brushed. I hope that helps.

    Rhiannon said:
    11/08/2016 at 3:58 pm

    Hi there,

    We have a large sheepskin rug in our livingroom and my sister in law’s dog peed on it last night. I soaked up the urine with paper towel and washed it using warm water and baking soda. I brushed it out and the smell and stain in gone from the fur side. The leather side however has a large yellow circular stain (gross) the outside looks perfect but is there anything I can do to help the stain on the underside?
    Thanks in advance for your help!

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      11/08/2016 at 4:26 pm

      Hmmmmm, if you treated the pee straight away and it is still yellow I suspect that there is still some urine inside the leather. Normally they don’t stain if you get them straight away and sue the right product. This is only a visual issue but it might start to smell as the bacteria increase, I don’t think plain water and baking soda are enough to deal with urine. You can spot clean just that area again with my sheepskin leather wash. But because it will be a few weeks until the wash arrives if you do buy it (no I don’t have stockists in overseas I only sell online) the yellow might never go away even if we get all the urine out, but at least there is no risk of future smells and dogs tend to pee repeatedly in the same place if they can smell themselves or other dogs too.

    kara carlson said:
    06/08/2016 at 9:24 am

    So I have Over a 30 year old wool woven rug. The backing is gone and the wool just comes right out! Not sure exactly what Kind of wool, but I want to say sheep. The wool is matted and I want to make it soft again! I have thought of lightly brushing it, but Im scared Im going to pull out all the wool! So what could I do to make my rug soft again? And could I possibly put a new backing on it? If so, what would you recommyou?

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      06/08/2016 at 3:09 pm

      Hi Kara, once the wool is badly matted all you can do is brush it. But as you have said, this will probably pull a lot of the wool out so I do not recommend that at all. It is the matting that makes it not soft? Because I can’t really see what your rug is like I can’t help much. I am an animal skin specialist and your rug is woven so this is beyond my knowledge I’m sorry.

    Anne said:
    30/06/2016 at 10:02 am

    hiii! 🙂
    My grand-mother gave me her old sheep rug, it must be at least 30 years old, the color is golden yellow (it was white at first), the leather is quite soft, the wool is really matted and from what i understood, it had never been washed.
    Sould i try to wash it? There is no dirt on it, but i thought it might make the rug less yellow? I read it could be dangerous to wash an old rug, but how many years is consider old? I want to keep it as long as I can 🙂 Also, should i try to brush for the first time?

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      30/06/2016 at 12:06 pm

      Hi Anne, because it is so old I wouldn’t wash it as it will probably fall apart. Anything over 10 years old I would be very cautious with washing. I think a gentle brush would be OK, don’t panic if some wool comes out in the brush this is normal. The yellow colour is age and sun damage and washing it will not get it back to the original ivory. Some of the yellow may be from cigarette smoke. I’m not saying that your Nana smoked but thirty years ago it was normal to smoke inside someones house so visitors may have over the years and it could be a contributing factor.

        Anne said:
        03/07/2016 at 12:13 am

        thank you!

      Diane Hancock said:
      04/07/2016 at 1:21 am

      Hi – before I saw this I did wash my old sheepskin from 2004 in Woolite and dried it on the front porch in full hot sun. The skin is not very dry and brittle feeling, though it seems to be staying intact. Would washing it in the Gorgeous product help it – or is it too late? Would you recommend some sort of leather softening product for the skin to make it pliable again? Thanks for you answer – Diane

        gorgeouscreatures responded:
        06/08/2016 at 5:45 pm

        Hi Diane, unfortunately I think the damage is already done and I don;t know what you could do to fix it. The Woolite has stripped all the conditioners out of the leather. I can;t guarantee that washing it with my product will help sorry, I haven’t done that test.

    Trudy Martinez said:
    15/06/2016 at 8:19 am

    I have a black 4×6 sheepskin rug. Is that too big to try to clean myself in the tub? also, we have well water that goes through a softener, but is still very hard. Is that a bad idea then to try to do it myself?

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      15/06/2016 at 9:07 am

      Hi Trudy, I think you would struggle with that size. When it is wet it will weigh a lot and be hard to move. You could wash it in a bath but it would be hard to remove enough water and then to get it dry. It will be a lot of work so I recommend you look into dry-cleaning. Regards Kirsty

    Jess said:
    16/04/2016 at 3:26 pm

    I purchased a new natural brown sheepskin from NZ, half of it got a little wet from an opened window and some rain, it got dried flat, and brushed. Since then that portion of the sheepskin the wool has almost curled and not as fluffy, the other portion that never got wet still feels like new. the sheepskin gets brushed and vacuumed on a regular basis to maintain its fluff, but any suggestions to correct the rain affected side??

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      15/06/2016 at 9:16 am

      Hi Jess, with what you describe I would say to brush with a wool carding brush. But you say that you have brushed it? Was this with a human hair brush? Sheep wool is naturally crimped or curly and when we brush it out it makes it fluffy. But over time with exposure to the atmosphere or when it gets wet it wants to curl again. So it is hard to tell based on your description but it sounds like you need a proper wool carding brush. Or you may need to wash the whole sheepskin and re-brush so that it looks the same all over.

    Kim said:
    24/03/2016 at 3:12 am

    I washed my sheepskin as you described and it looks gorgeous! However, the leather back feels a little dry and not quite as supple. Is there some sort of conditioner I can use to make it soft and supple again? Also, I have a few more I’d like to wash—should I try something different? Could this have happened in the trying process? I flipped it over part way through the drying to so the back might dry faster to avoid mildew—was this a bad idea? Should I let it dry completely with bottom down?

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      24/03/2016 at 9:24 am

      Hi it sounds like you used the wrong type of soap/detergent that has removed some of the natural oils, you didn’t say what soap you used???? I don’t know of any conditioners to add after the sheepskins have been washed. My wool skin wash contains conditioners to keep the leather soft but this happens during the washing process so re-washing it with my wool skin wash is the only solution I can think of at the moment. I hope that helps, maybe get the wool skin wash and do another one of your sheepskins to see the difference?
      Gorgeous Creatures Wool Skin Wash

        Kim said:
        24/03/2016 at 9:35 am

        I used a product called Woolskin (Woolwash and Shampoo). It has a picture of a ram with curly horns. I thought this was the best product to use. I can wash again if you think that might help.

          gorgeouscreatures responded:
          24/03/2016 at 10:02 am

          That ones sounds OK, you could try washing it again and make sure you rinse really well twice so that no residue remains. If it’s still a bit stiff then I’m not sure what’s going on maybe give the leather a massage to loosen up the leather fibres. Good luck.

    Shelley Richter Hansen said:
    25/01/2016 at 10:51 am

    hi there,someone gave me 2 medium size sheep skin rugs. I have had a large one in the past and it would wash it in the wash machine with regular laundry soap and bleach. i did that with these 2 and dried the in the drier, however..they now have a few light brown patches on them,,uuuggghhh..I sue hope this can be fixed..any solutions?H E L P !!

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      25/01/2016 at 11:33 am

      Hi Shelley, sorry I can’t help with any solutions for brown spots. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to use the right soap when washing sheepskins. Laundry soap AND bleach are most definitely the wrong thing to use. The brown spots might be a chemical reaction between the bleach and the tanning chemicals used to tan the sheepskins – who knows!

    Megan said:
    17/01/2016 at 7:22 am

    Hi do you suggest using a protective spray such as scotchguard to repel water and stains on a sheepskin rug?

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      25/01/2016 at 11:40 am

      Hi Megan
      No I don’t recommend a spray like scotchguard on sheepskins. Scotchguard was deleveled for fabric and it sits on the surface of fabric to repel water and stains. Sheep wool is too fluffy for the product to work how it was designed to work. Sheepskins are so easy to wash that a protective spray is not necessary.

      lj said:
      30/03/2016 at 2:13 pm

      the was sh is talking about has lanolin… lanolin s what repels the water… read up on the wonders of wool and sheepskin… 🙂

    Serena Chan Riese said:
    04/01/2016 at 9:22 pm

    I have a black sheepskin coat (shearing) that I bought a long time ago, but the black color kept leaking onto everything things like my hand and shirt when I wore it. I noticed it and I stopped wearing it after a few times. It is kept in mint condition and it is still gorgeous after all these years in my closet, I would really like to wear it but don’t want the embarrassment of having black hands and even black marks on my face! How can I remove the excess black dye without damaging the coat? I tried dry cleaning it at great cost but it did not do the job.

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      25/01/2016 at 11:37 am

      Hi Serena

      It sounds like the black dye was not FIXED during the tanning and dying process (so the dye is transferring onto anything that touches the jacket). If you have already tried dry-cleaning then I don’t know what else to do other than search for a specific leather dye fixative spray or solution. I can;t recommend any I’m sorry.

    Shannon said:
    20/12/2015 at 6:45 pm

    Hello, I have a sheepskin rug that has no leather backing, it is extremely matted (i cannot get a brush throught it, looks like dreadlocks) and also is full of dirt. Do you think it is able to be revived?

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      21/12/2015 at 8:18 am

      Hi Shannon, it sounds like you have a woven wool fabric like they use for bed underlays rather than an animal skin with the wool still attached to leather. Once the wool is really really matted up like felt it is almost impossible to rescue it and to make it fluffy again. Washing it will most definitely take the dirt away but it will probably make the matting even worse. Have you tried a proper metal toothed wool carding brush? (not a plastic bristle hair brush). So the answer is I doubt you will be able to rescue this wool fabric. Sounds like it is time to throw it out and get a new one sorry. Regards Kirsty

    Kelly B. said:
    04/12/2015 at 5:51 pm

    HELP! I washed a vintage gorgeous sheepskin from russia (about 4 feet) – I used the special shampoo with tea tree etc. – but when it dried it hardened and there are black spots on the underside- it cracked a bit too. i rubbed the underside with special oil and still nothing. it’s been months now. Should I try washing it again- but remember to lay it flat? Man i wish I had never touched it in the first place…. could really use your help thanks!

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      04/12/2015 at 9:34 pm

      Hi Kelly, I searched my orders so I know you didn’t buy my product. Was this product you used described as safe for leather? I don’t know what you mean by a special shampoo with tea tree, if this is used on humans or pets or a wool wash it’s not the right stuff. I need a lot more information like the NAME of the product before I can comment further. The fact that this is a vintage sheepskin worries me, I guess you don’t really know exactly how old it is but vintage can be between 20-50 years old. So it is possible that the leather had already perished and washing it has made it go stiff and crack. What was the special oil? Again not enough information for me to be able to help you. I don’t know if washing it again will help, certainly not with the stuff you have already used. I’ve never tested my product on a sheepskin that has already been ruined. It’s a good idea for me to do this if I even find one to try. I hope this has helped. Regards Kirsty

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      21/12/2015 at 8:28 am

      Hi Kelly, I’m so sorry I thought I’d relied to this earlier. What shampoo did you use? Not mine right? When a sheepskin is very old (vintage) often the leather has perished normally due to sun exposure but also just general aging. And who knows how it was tanned if it was made in Russia. Sheepskins do not last forever. If it went hard and cracked then it sounds like the shampoo you used was not made for leather (even if it contains tea tree oil). I really can’t help if you don’t tell me exactly what you used “special shampoo” and “special oil” really doesn’t mean anything to me. I doubt you can fix this problem sorry. Regards Kirsty

        barbara sheeley said:
        20/01/2017 at 10:15 am

        Kelly do not despair!! I don’t know anything about this ladies “product” she is promoting on here and in NO WAY affiliated with her. There are lots of partial truths on here in the advice. I am from a NZ family that has raised sheep over 200 years on the same sheep ranches. I was raised with sheepskin rugs all over our ranch houses . If you are showing sheep at a fair or contest the sheep is washed in castille SOAP (not a detergent). He is tied on a lead and brushed with a wire brush in front of a fan or outside in a gentle breeze. Even then when you dig your fingers down into his down he will still be damp. Your rug is different only in the fact the skin (leather) side has to be addressed. After sudsing your fur side in a good castille SOAP, applying extra on stains and working in well with a brush (not wire, not yet, just scrub brush like you bathe a sheep with) rinse the rug 2 or 3 times in tepid water, not hot, not cold, remember how you would bathe the animal, let this rug partially dry, you can hang it to drain or lay it out flat, does NOT matter at this point, you are going back at it long before the leather is dry. once the fleece has dried somewhat flip your rug over and begin work on the leather underside. first using a stiff sponge lather up a good saddle soap or leather soap and rub hard to clean stains and penetrate the leather. wipe this lather off with warm water a couple times but do not re-saturate your rug, you don’t want it dripping wet, wipe the leather dry (we used terry towels to wipe the leather undersides) and condition it with a good leather oil based conditioner, applying sparingly, just a wipe over actually. lay out the rug leather side down and stretch to pull back into original form. if the rug dries thoroughly and the leather is too stiff or hard re-condition the leather, yes, you can use lanolin for this, until your backing is like you want it. there should be a curl to the rug when you raise it into the air to shake it out. now only after everything is thoroughly dry and conditioned to desired flexibility will you apply the wire brush to the front of the rug to brush out your wool. starting in a corner and working upward toward the center of the rug in short 2 or 3 inch whisps until you have covered surface. We only kept rugs used in company areas brushed, brushing one is time consuming. I hope this has helped you to keep your rug soft, clean and serviceable. Just like the sheep don’t live forever neither do their rugs. keep it simple and it doesn’t cost a lot to keep these clean. common sense. you are bathing a sheep.

          gorgeouscreatures responded:
          20/01/2017 at 12:14 pm

          In reply to Barbara, I too grew up on the largest sheep station in the North Island of New Zealand. Puketawa Station – Tologa Bay. We call then “Stations” in New Zealand not Ranches. I am approving this comment as there is some good info about using a leather conditioner on the leather if your leather has gone hard. But I need to point out that if you use the right cleaning agent to start with then the leather will NOT go hard and you don’t need to use all the extra hard work, scrubbing and applying of extra products. Comparing the cleaning of a live animal to a tanned sheepskin is totally irrelevant. With a live animal you are only washing the wool, there is no leather as the animal is alive and the skin will not be harmed by Castille soap or other animal shampoo’s. Tanned leather is chemically changed to basically “cook” the proteins making it into a totally different product that will not rot or decay. If you use a harsh soap like Castille on leather then you will strip out the natural oils and softeners damaging the leather and end up spending hours trying to make the leather soft again by applying conditioners. Using a leather conditioning oil and putting lanolin back into the leather is a good idea if you leather is stiff – this may be the only way to soften it again if washing with the wrong product. If you let the wool get too matted and tangled then yes brushing is hard work and time consuming, but if you give them a light regular brush and don’t let the wool matt up then it is quick and easy. And yes I agree that sheepskins do not last forever, with time the leather fibres do perish so if you try to wash an old sheepskin rug there is always a chance that the leather will disintegrate.

    Ed said:
    26/11/2015 at 10:07 pm

    My sheepskin Is not dirty and in good condition but has a smell I don’t care for. Is there a way I can get the fresh smell back without having to wash it?

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      26/11/2015 at 10:16 pm

      Hi Ed, you could try to spray a deodorizer type product on it but don’t get the leather wet with the product. Another than that a good wash in a nice smelling product might help. Cheers Kirsty

    stacie said:
    09/10/2015 at 2:05 am

    I have washed the lambskin rug with the shampoo and i came out great. I layed it out on the dining room table to dry and some of the leather is hard. What can i treat it with to soften it?

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      13/10/2015 at 12:01 pm

      Hi Stacie, exactly what shampoo did you use? And are you saying that only some areas have gone a bit hard? Not the whole thing. Have you tried to massage and work those areas with your hands to see if they will soften up? I;m not sure what you could apply to make it softer sorry, not 100% sure what will be safe and work OK. I think it will soften with use. Cheers Kirsty

    Kristen said:
    05/09/2015 at 11:51 am

    I washed my sheep skin with organic laundry deferent 😬 the back is SO hard and dry. Can I save it?? I sure hope so.

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      05/09/2015 at 11:56 am

      Hi Kristen, Oh dear, just because it is organic doesn’t make it good for leather. Sounds like you used the wrong type of soap. I truly don’t know if it can be saved. Perhaps washing in the correct type might help to soften it again but I can’t say for sure sorry. It is probably worth a try. Cheers Kirsty

        Debs said:
        11/11/2015 at 12:48 am

        The leather has gone hard because the oils have been washed out. You can soften it by rubbing oil into the underside, but take care not to use too much or it may come off on surfaces you place the skin on later.
        I have used value handcream in the past for softening sheepskin. It usually smells good too, which is a bonus.
        Once you’ve moisturised the leather a bit, try flexing and folding it several times to ease it up.

          chris said:
          04/03/2016 at 3:56 am

          the leather on my sheepskin has also gone hard after washing. what particular oils do you recommend?

            gorgeouscreatures responded:
            15/06/2016 at 9:11 am

            Hi Deb, what did you use to wash your sheepskin? It is really difficult to say how to fix this when I don’t have any information. Look up Neatsfoot oil but I’m not saying that this is the solution as I actually don’t know.

    Nonie said:
    02/09/2015 at 2:40 pm

    This is Nonie again. After writing just a minute ago, I did find the section that gives me the amount and instructions. Now I really feel “stupid”. (:

    Nonie said:
    02/09/2015 at 2:36 pm

    Am I missing something? I ordered your shampoo and looks like there are 2 separate liquids. I looked on the bottle and also your instructions above, but cannot find how much to use of each liquid with how much water. I plan to use my machine but no idea how much shampoo to use. Assume the small section is the oil? I hated to ask as I assume it is somewhere. Thanks for your patience!

    Tammie said:
    25/07/2015 at 11:34 am

    White rugs will never stay that way in my house full of boys, so I want to dye my sheepskin rugs brown. Any recommendations for what type of dye might work best and be easy to use?

    Anastasia said:
    21/05/2015 at 7:14 am

    Great instructions! I think we mistreated our long hair medical sheepskin and I was wondering if we could recover it at all. while airing it, it started raining and half of it got wet as it was hanging. We brushed it while still wet to help it dry quicker, but aparently the hair got a bit felted and not as soft compared to the other half that remained dry.

    It is not very very bad, but you do not easily pass your fingers through the hair. Tried to fluff it up with a bit of lanoline and working it with my hamds. It seemed to help just a little bit. Should I use the dog brush? I’m a bit afraid it will obly felt it more. Will washing it and brushing again help? Any ideas?

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      21/05/2015 at 9:02 am

      Hi Anastasia, it sounds like you need to use the right kind of brush. A sheepskin carding brush or a poodle brush type animal brush. This should take out the tangles without making it worse. It will seem like lots for wool is coming out, this is normal every time you brush especially if it is tangled. If that doesn;t work then washing it with the proper sheepskin woolwash and brushing as per my instructions is the next thing to try.

    Karen Flahive said:
    16/05/2015 at 2:27 pm

    Hi I have a 10 year plus old sheepskin rug, it has yellowed and reading your comment, i realise it might be past its best, but i do want to have a go and washing and brushing it. Any special recommendations please?
    Can you suggest a brand of suitable washing soda/powder

    Catherine said:
    11/05/2015 at 9:38 am

    I have a rather old rug (8 years I believe) and I’ve been brushing the mats out of it all day. Is it common to lose a lot of wool in the brush as you brush it out?

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      12/05/2015 at 10:23 am

      Hi Catherine, yes it is normal to loose wool every time you brush. If it’s really matted and old you will loose more as you untangle the wool. There’s nothing you can do to stop this I’m sorry. Brush it more often to avoid the really bad matting and this will reduce the wool lose as well.

    Tara said:
    01/04/2015 at 10:46 pm

    Not sure what type of soap to use, will shampoo be ok?? I need help here guys!!! 🙂 thanks in advance 🙂

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      01/04/2015 at 10:49 pm

      Hi Tara, I know this is a tough one. I’ve finally found the prefect woolwash. Don’t use shampoo, it’s no good for the leather. Give me two weeks and then visit where I will be selling the prefect solution. I’m just waiting for stock to arrive. Cheers Kirsty

    allie said:
    28/03/2015 at 6:45 am

    my rug was washed in a washing machine and laid out to dry indoors away from heat. Originally it had straight and fluffy fur but now the fur is curly, matted and not fluffy. Should I re-wash it or just brush it out and which type of brush should I use. I’m worried it will pull a lot of fur out because it is so matted now. It is only 7 months old but my 16 month old son peed on it which is why it needed to be washed.

    Beth said:
    26/03/2015 at 4:58 am

    A long time ago, an Australian friend of mine suggested that I use a about a cap full of eucalyptus oil in the rinse water. She said that this was good for 2 things – the smell and two to help replace some of the natural oils that are lost when you wash the sheepskin.

    What are your thoughts on this?

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      01/04/2015 at 10:54 pm

      Hi Beth, I agree, eucalyptus oil is great as a natural anti-microbial and nasty smell eliminator. It is one of the ingredients in my new sheepskin wool wash. Available in 2 weeks from Although my wool wash has lots of other very special ingredients as well that makes it safe for the wool and the leather. I’m not sure about it replenishing the oils, sheepskin naturally has lanolin but I don’t think it will do any harm.

    […] business…). I found a great tutorial on cleaning and brushing (yes brushing!) your sheepskin on this blog. I’ve washed my faux sheepskin already, too many times to count, and it is still in great […]

    Brenda Pratt said:
    09/03/2015 at 2:08 pm

    I can not print the instructions from you site for cleaning my sheepskin rug. Could you please email to me and perhaps I can print them that way. Also I need to purchase the sheepskin brush but have not been able to access you online shop either. thanks

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      09/03/2015 at 3:20 pm

      Hi Brenda, I’ve emailed you the instructions and other info. Cheers Kirsty

    Adi said:
    26/01/2015 at 4:15 pm

    My sheep skin has utterly fallen to pieces with this tutorial. I don’t understand what I have done differently that might cause it to fall apart. What should I do in the future to avoid destroying the pelt?

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      26/01/2015 at 9:57 pm

      Hi Kelly, you haven’t given me enough information to answer your question. How old was the sheepskin? The last person this happened to the skin was over 15 years old and the leather must have been perished. And what soap did you use? You didn’t say. It won’t be the instructions that are at fault, it will either be the leather or the soap or both. Cheers Kirsty

    Pamela said:
    03/11/2014 at 12:34 pm

    Hi there;
    I just bought a second-hand shearling skin rug. I’ve brushed it out and its fluffing out beautifully, however, it does need a good cleaning. You said to use the purest of soaps; could I use Ivory soap?
    Kindest thanks,

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      03/11/2014 at 8:05 pm

      Hi Pamela, I’m sorry but I don’t know overseas soap brands, I don’t know anything about Ivory. I can’t make a recommendation other than the soap that I’ll be selling soon (which I do know all about :-). Cheers Kirsty

    jesegonz said:
    31/10/2014 at 10:07 pm

    My daughter spilled cleaner with enzymes on the sheepskin rug, is there anything I can do to prevent the damaging process?

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      31/10/2014 at 10:58 pm

      Hi I’d suggest simply rinsing off the spill as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Cheers Kirsty

    Wlc said:
    13/10/2014 at 10:57 pm

    Hi, thanks for the great tutorial!! Very useful for a first time rug owner myself!
    Here I have a question, is it bad putting heavy furnitures on the rug?
    I have a octo long wool sheepskin rug, which is currently under a heavy set of living room table, but I wonder if it’s wrong…

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      31/10/2014 at 11:03 pm

      It will be ok but of course it will squash the wool but not permanently. It won’t damage the wool or the leather. If you want the wool to puff up again wetting and brushing will probably make the wool look normal again.

    Panna Bielecka said:
    22/09/2014 at 7:21 am

    that was really helpful, thank you. Have beautifully revived a purple and green sheepskin, all your instructions have worked a treat. I now know how to do it, having previously made rather a hash of it. Terrific, thanks again.

    Mindy said:
    18/09/2014 at 2:03 am

    Great goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous
    to and you are just extremely fantastic. I really like what you’ve acquired here,
    really like what you’re saying and the way in which you say it.
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    I cant wait to read far more from you. This is really a great website.

    Reese said:
    01/09/2014 at 4:02 pm

    I have a very large chocolate brown sheepskin and I’m not sure if the color is natural or not. How would I be able to tell? I realize from what you said that if it is not natural to dry clean it. Help.

      Reese said:
      01/09/2014 at 4:06 pm

      Also I must add about the color of my sheepskin, the entire wool is solid dark brown, no variations.

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      01/09/2014 at 6:07 pm

      Hi Reese, have a look at the leather on the back of the sheepskin, if your sheepskin is natural the leather will be white or a light blue grey depending on how it has been tanned. If it has been dyed the leather will probably be a light brown colour (you said the sheepskin was a dark brown). If the colour is very solid over the whole skin it might be dyed. If you wash a dyed sheepskin some of the dye may wash out and the colour may lighten. I hope this helps. We will be introducing a very special detergent perfect for washing sheepskins very soon so watch this blog for an update.

    lizparkerart said:
    22/08/2014 at 12:28 pm

    Do you have any advise for a sheep skin that has already been damaged by drying too fast? Can the leather be made soft again?

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      22/08/2014 at 7:21 pm

      Hi Liz, this is a tough one because we can’t be sure what kind of damage has been done to the leather fibres and if it can be undone. As a general rule leather is made soft by tumbling in a big leather vat with chemicals but that’s not possible for us normal people. So all I can say is that I’m not sure. I do have a new soap that will be available very soon especially for washing sheepskins. But I’m not sure if washing it again with the special soap and drying slowly will fix the problem. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help but I will talk to a few people about this and if any good info turns up I’ll let you know. And watch this space for the special sheepskin washing soap. Cheers Kirsty

      Kat said:
      11/01/2015 at 4:43 pm

      I thought I ruined a sheep skin by washing it with Tide detergent and letting it dry in the sun. It shrunk and was as stiff as a board! However, I rewashed it with some fabric softener and when it came out it was large again. I gently stretched it by hand and combed it with my fingers. My aunt told me to use a dry bar of soap on the leather, just taking the bar of soap while dry and rubbing it over the leather, then rubbing it in with my hands. I then let it dry leather side up in a cool place and it’s as good as new!

        gorgeouscreatures responded:
        13/01/2015 at 9:32 pm

        Hi Kat, phew! That was lucky 🙂 good save.I’m glad it all worked out good in the end. Cheers Kirsty

    aisling said:
    22/08/2014 at 3:36 am

    Hello all at Gorgeous Creatures. Thanks so much for posting this tutorial. I just finished cleaning my sheepskin and it’s great! It was in much worse state than yours to start with as we left it too long to clean, but I’m pretty happy with the results. Thanks for all the advice!

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      22/08/2014 at 7:22 pm

      Thanks heaps! Great news that it worked. I’ve found the perfect soap that I’ll be selling soon, watch this space. And I’ll be making a washing video (my sheepskins are due for another wash :-)) to show every step in great detail. Cheers Kirsty

        aisling said:
        05/09/2014 at 6:19 pm

        Oh that would be great. I live in Belgium and French is not my first language so I was a little unsure about finding the correct non-enzyme soap in the local shops. So I got some Savon de Marsailles and grated it into fine shavings and sprinkled that into the bath water. It seemed to do the trick.
        The thing I found most unexpected was the amount of time it took to brush out the rug. I spent about four hours brushing it!

          gorgeouscreatures responded:
          19/09/2014 at 10:45 pm

          Wow four hours is a very long time, was the wool already quite matted before you washed it? Each situation is so different it is hard to say what will be typical. I gave my sheepskin a good brush even before I washed it (just like I brush the knots out of my hair before I wash it :-)).

    donna said:
    11/08/2014 at 11:38 pm

    I washed my rug and dried it in the sun. Apparently i should have read there hints first.However it came out ok but…skin is a little hard in parts. Any remedies for lubricating the skin?

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      22/08/2014 at 7:24 pm

      Hi Donna, I don’t have any words of wisdom I’m sorry. I’m going to ask a guy I know and if there is good news I will let you know. Cheers Kirsty

    Darleen Waltman Weston said:
    24/05/2014 at 10:37 am

    Hello! I have a genuine Sheepskin rug. It needs cleaned desperately. I’m worried that if I clean it, the leather/skin will get hard. I love the softness. What kind of soap brands would you recommend? How about this one:

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      24/05/2014 at 2:40 pm

      Hi Darleen, I had a look at that wool wash and they don’t say what’s in it so I can’t say for sure that it will work on the leather OK. That soap looks too fancy, go for the most basic old fashioned soap, the kind that our Nana’s used to use.
      Leather will go hard if it is dried too quickly so make sure it dries slowly in shade and away from hot air. I can’t say what will happen to your leather because I don’t know how or where it was tanned. Good luck.

    Joanne said:
    16/05/2014 at 3:09 am

    I washed mine in the bath tub in Luke warm water with Softsoap hand soap. It has lanolin, so I thought that would be good. I made sure to soak and swish gently and for only the recommended 5 minutes. I rinsed twice, again gently swishing to remove any soap or dirt. I dried it over my porch railing in the shade. Once dried, I brushed it with my dog brush. Perfect!

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      27/05/2014 at 11:23 am

      Hi Joanne, that sounds great! I’m glad that it worked well for you and looked awesome once dried. They do come up very well with a wash. Cheers Kirsty

    Shelley Amdur said:
    15/05/2014 at 7:01 pm

    Why not woolite? I thought it was for wool!

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      15/05/2014 at 7:04 pm

      Hi Shelley, I don’t really know but it might include some enzymes which are not good for the leather. The plainest soap is best. Cheers Kirsty

    Madeline Veysey said:
    07/04/2014 at 5:07 am

    I have a rug that is about 5 or 6 years old and I’m pretty sure it is dyed. On a small tag on the back it says it is sheepskin. I do think the fur is real but just dyed in a sort of leopard pattern. I’m hesitant on washing it because I don’t want to ruin the beautiful rug but it is matted, a little smelly (not bad), and there are small items kind of stuck in the fur. What would you suggest?

      Madeline Veysey said:
      07/04/2014 at 5:08 am

      I also forgot that I do not have wool wash or a poodle wire brush to help.

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      15/05/2014 at 7:06 pm

      Hi Madeline, I would recommend dry-cleaning in your case but things can go wrong if you don’t use a really good dry-cleaner. I guess it is a toss up between the already matted and smelly sheepskin and the possibility that a dry-cleaner might make it worse. Cheers Kirsty

    Simplybeautifu4 said:
    03/04/2014 at 3:21 pm

    I have a faux sheep skin, can I use the same method

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      03/04/2014 at 6:37 pm

      Hi, faux sheepskin will most likely be made from a synthetic material. The sheepskin instructions are for real leather and wool. I really don’t know what will happen to a faux sheepskin, the wool pile may never be the same if you wash it. So the answer is probably not. If you know where you bought it perhaps ask them for cleaning instructions, maybe dry-cleaning is a better option. Cheers Kirsty

    imani teferess said:
    02/04/2014 at 12:15 pm

    where would you find lux? also i only have a shower…what would you suggest?

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      02/04/2014 at 12:30 pm

      Hi Imani, any simple wool wash will work OK, Lux is just a brand and I don’t know which country you are from or what brands you have. So go for any wool wash as long as it doesn’t have fancy enzymes. If you only have a shower then you will need a large plastic bucket or similar vessel, or sheepskins can be drycleaned as well. Cheers Kirsty

    dawn said:
    23/02/2014 at 5:39 am

    what kind of soap should i use to wash my sheepskin rug?
    thank you

      gorgeouscreatures responded:
      23/02/2014 at 7:11 am

      Hi Dawn, you need to use a very mild wool soap like the kind you would use to wash a wool jumper but avoid anything with enzymes or wool softners, The simpler the better like Lux. Avoid soap with additives but perfume is OK. Good luck – Kirsty.

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