How to Clean a Sheepskin Rug – 6 Quick Tips

How To Clean A Sheepskin Rug

If you are looking for tips on how to clean a sheepskin rug, then you are at the right place as we’ve covered 6 tips on achieving this. Sheepskin rugs are created from the skins of sheep with the wool fibers remaining in their natural state; they are then permanently fixed during the tanning process to the skin.

This sheep wool can either be left in its natural color or dyed to a suitable color choice. These rugs are mainly sought for in the market due to their softness and resilience. These wool contain a natural oil that enables it to resist dirt and odor. Knowing how to clean a sheepskin rug isn’t that difficult also.

How To Clean A Sheepskin Rug


Following some daily or weekly maintenance routine will help to keep your sheepskin rug in good shape. Try to vacuum regularly using a plain suction vacuum cleaner; this will help to maintain the wool fibers.

Longer wool rugs also benefit from occasional brushing with a wire pet brush or slicker pad; just pass it through the wool fibers to remove embedded dirt. Don’t worry if some of the fibers come out when brushing; this is completely normal.

Taking your rug and giving it a good shake will also help to remove loose soil and dust and restore the wool rug fluffiness and bounce.

Spills should be dealt with immediately; they occur to prevent them from spreading. You can do this using a damp cloth to sponge off the stain; you can also apply some sheepskin detergent containing lanolin to a damp cloth and gently wipe the stain until it is removed.

When dealing with oily stains, you can apply a generous amount of cornstarch to the area to absorb the oil. And allow it to sit on the rug for several hours before brushing or vacuuming away. You can repeat this procedure if necessary.

Baking soda can come in handy in helping to eliminate bad odors in your sheepskin rug. If you notice any odor from your rug, apply a generous amount of baking soda to the area, then using your hands and fingers, try to work down this powder down into the fibers.

Then allow it to sit for at least two hours or overnight before vacuuming or shaking the rug to remove the powder; you can also use a wool brush to fluff up the fibers.

You want to avoid exposure to strong direct sunlight as UV rays will destroy the natural fibers and fade dyed sheepskins. Do not store your rug in damp or wet conditions as the natural leather pelt may deteriorate.

Read: How to Clean a Cowhide Rug

Washing A Sheepskin Rug

Washing and properly drying your sheepskin rug takes time, so you want to make sure you plan ahead for it properly. Before washing your sheepskin rug, you want to take a moment to look for the care label. This will tell you how your rug should be cleaned as different manufacturers have different cleaning techniques designed for each rug.

Giving It A Good Shake

Before washing your rug, you want to take it out and give it a good shake, This won’t remove all of the dirt, but it will help to remove bigger dirt chunks that are not deeply embedded into the sheepskin.

You can also try hitting the rug lightly with your hand to remove extra dirt as well. You don’t want to skip this step, as washing your rug with dirt in it will only get the rug dirty more.

Brush The Rug

Using a rectangular or wire wool brush, you want to work your way through the rug, combing out any knots. This helps to prevent your rug from becoming matte when wet.

Hand Washing your Sheepskin Rug

There are actually two ways you can wash your sheepskin rug; you need to look for the recommended way to wash the rug by reading the rug’s label; it can be hand-washed, or it can go in the washing machine on the delicate cycle.

If there is no label on the rug, you want to opt for hand washing as it is safer. Also, You want to steer clear of normal wool wash products because most of them are only designed for wool but not leather. 

Although you may use them for spot cleaning, but using it for a full cleaning can cause damage to the leather. You want to make use of detergents, which are non-alkaline and non-bionic, they are the best for the sheepskin.

The wrong soap or shampoo can lead to the rug stiffening and cracking after washing; the wool can become matted up too. You want to be very careful when it comes to choosing a detergent sheepskin rug.

For handwashing your rug, you need to fill a large vessel or bathtub with enough water to cover the rug. The water should be lukewarm no more than 38˚C, add in a suitable sheepskin rug detergent, reading the directions for the exact amount that’s recommended.

Place your rug in the soapy water and start swishing it around gently; moving the rug gently around the water will help to remove as much dirt as possible from the rug. You can use your fingers or a soft cloth to gently scrub any stain spots.

You want to continue this process for not more than five minutes, don’t be tempted to leave it in for longer as you risk damaging the rug through prolonged exposure to water and detergent, and you want to be as gentle as possible to avoid matting up your rug fibers.

After five minutes, drain out the dirty water from the tub and refill it with clean water. If the rug is still dirty, you want to repeat the above procedure until you achieve your desired cleanliness, but do so with a lesser amount of detergent so as to make it easy to rinse out the rug.

Once the rug is clean, place it in clean water and start gently moving it around to rinse out the remaining dirt and soap, this might take a couple of water changes depending on the size of your rug.

Do this as many times as is necessary until the water stays pretty clean, then roll up the rug and squeeze as much of the excess water out of it as possible.

Read: Homemade floor cleaner

Using A Washer

You can use a washing machine for cleaning out your rug, but this works best for rugs that are roughly the size of a doormat. Throw the rug into the washer and apply appropriate sheepskin rug detergent reading the directions for the exact amount that’s recommended. Then using warm water, wash the rug on a delicate cycle.

Next, take out the rug from the washer or tub if you hand-washed, and hold it over a sink or tub and start squeezing small sections at a time to remove excess water.

You do not want to twist the rug while doing this as it may cause the rug’s shape to become distorted when dry, keep squeezing until you get most of the water out of the rug.

You can also make use of a towel to remove excess water from the rug; if you don’t feel comfortable with the squeezing method, just lay the rug flat on the ground and start blotting the rug using a clean white towel, you want to continue doing this until the rug is no longer dripping.

You can supplement the squeezing method with this towel method to get the rug even drier. You need to Line the floor with a large towel to prevent getting the floor soaking wet.

After removing the excess water from the rug, you want to place the rug in a warm environment for it to dry completely. Do not place the rug in direct sunlight or near a strong heat source; this can cause dyed rugs to become faded, and it can also ruin the shape of the rug.

Read: How to dry carpet after washing

Simply Place a towel down on the ground to help absorb the excess moisture, and place the rug in its natural shape, or you can hold it to a clothesline with pegs.

Once the rug has dried completely, use a pet brush or wire brush to fluff up the rug. You can also comb out the rug while it’s still slightly wet using a large-tooth comb to help remove any matting. 

Washing your rug with water will cause it to shrink, so you can consider spot cleaning your rug to prevent this, follow the spot cleaning procedure mentioned above.

If you have a dyed sheepskin rug, it might be difficult for you to wash it yourself. In this case, it is recommended to take the rug to a professional dry cleaner to maintain its appearance.


Knowing how to clean a sheepskin rug will enable you to maintain its beauty for the longest time possible.

While this rug might be a resilient bunch, a wrong cleaning technique will render it unusable and damaged, so you want to be careful. Following the above steps on how to clean a sheepskin rug should save your day.

Scroll to Top