How to Clean a Genuine Leather Sheepskin Rug

Опубликовал Admin
9-12-2019, 20:00
Updated: December 9, 2019 Natural sheepskin rugs are very easy to care for, and when washed properly, they can look like new again. If your rug is small and relatively new, you can wash it on a delicate cycle using your washing machine and sheepskin detergent. Otherwise, it's best to hand wash your rug, swishing it around gently in a tub with cool water and sheepskin detergent. By letting it dry flat and brushing out any knots, your sheepskin rug will be fluffy and clean in no time.

Removing Excess Dirt and Tangles

  1. Shake your rug outside to get rid of excess dirt. Bring your rug outside and hold it over the ground, shaking it back and forth so the dust and dirt falls off. This won’t remove all of the dirt, but it will help get rid of bigger chunks that aren’t so ingrained into the sheepskin.
    • Try hitting the rug lightly with your hand to help dislodge extra dirt as well.
  2. Read your rug’s label to see what kind of washing is recommended. Your rug should have come with a label attached to it, telling you how to properly care for the rug so it stays healthy and presentable. Read the label, looking for the recommended way to wash the rug, such as hand washing or whether it can go in the washing machine on the delicate cycle.
    • If you can’t find the label, don’t worry. Opt to hand wash the rug just to be on the safe side.
    • If your rug is small, or about the size of a doormat, you can put it in the washing machine.
    • If you have a larger rug, hand washing it is best. It may damage your washing machine or not wash well on a delicate cycle.
  3. Brush your rug before washing to remove any tangles. This will prevent your sheepskin rug from becoming matted after it’s wet. Use either a regular brush or a brush specifically designed for sheepskin. Work your way across the whole rug, combing out any knots.
    • A wide-tooth comb works well too.
    • Work slowly and gently to prevent damaging the rug.

Washing the Sheepskin by Hand

  1. Fill a tub with water and sheepskin detergent. Fill your bathtub or a large plastic tub with cool water. Pour in sheepskin detergent, reading the directions for the exact amount that’s recommended. Avoid using a regular detergent, as this could damage your rug.
    • Be aware that submerging your sheepskin rug in water will likely cause it to shrink a bit.
    • If you’re still not sure how much detergent to use, measure out about a capful using the lid on the detergent bottle.
  2. Immerse your rug in the water and swish it around gently. Get as much dirt out as possible, moving the rug around in the water gently to dislodge it. You can also gently scrub any spots you see using a soft clean rag. Continue swishing the rug around in the water for roughly five minutes.
    • Be gentle during this process so you don’t cause unnecessary matting.
  3. Drain the dirty water from the tub and refill it with clean water. Unplug the drain and let the dirty water drain out, holding the sheepskin rug out of the drain’s way. Once all the dirty water is gone, plug the drain and refill the tub again with cool, clean water.
    • Add more sheepskin detergent to the water if you think the rug is still dirty, though it’s best to add a smaller amount than you did the first time to make rinsing out the soap easier.
  4. Move the rug around in the clean water for a final rinse. Swish the rug around in the water again, removing any final remnants of dirt and detergent. Use your hands to gently rub the rug, helping to remove soap and dirt.
    • If you notice that the water is getting dirty again, drain and refill the bath. Do this as many times as is necessary until the water stays pretty clean.

Using Alternative Cleaning Methods

  1. Wash small rugs on a delicate cycle using sheepskin detergent. This works well for rugs that are roughly the size of a doormat. Put the rug in the washing machine and refer to the bottle of sheepskin detergent for how much detergent to add to the washing machine. Wash the rug on a delicate cycle, making sure not to use hot water.
    • Use a detergent specifically for sheepskin so it doesn’t damage your rug.
    • Hot water is bad for the leather in the rug, causing it to shrink or harden.
    • Sheepskin detergents, which can be found online or in a cleaning store, are often very concentrated so you won't need to use as much as you would a regular detergent.
  2. Spot-clean the rug if you don’t want it to shrink. The rug might get smaller if it's submerged in water. To prevent this, use a clean rag and some sheepskin detergent to wash the rug without putting it all the way in water. Dampen the rag with cool water and detergent, and gently scrub the rug going in the direction of the fur. Then, use a clean rag dampened with water to remove excess detergent.
    • Continue rinsing out your rag and gently scrubbing the area until the dirt is gone.
  3. Take the rug to a dry cleaner if it's dyed. Washing a dyed sheepskin rug by hand or in the washing machine could ruin the color. In this case, it's best to take the rug to a professional dry cleaner to maintain its appearance.

Drying the Sheepskin Rug

  1. Remove the rug from the tub or washer and gently squeeze out water. Hold up the rug over the tub or sink and squeeze sections one at a time to get rid of excess water. Be careful not to twist the rug and wring it out, as this may affect its natural shape once it’s dry.
    • Continue squeezing the rug until it’s damp but not dripping.
  2. Use a towel to remove excess water for a gentler approach. If you don’t feel comfortable squeezing your rug, take it out of the bathtub or washer and lay it out on the floor. Blot the rug using the clean towel, helping to soak up extra water. Keep doing this until the rug is no longer dripping with water.
    • Line the floor with a large towel to avoid getting the floor soaking wet.
    • You could even do this after you’ve squeezed excess water out to speed up the drying process.
  3. Lay the rug flat to dry in a warm environment. Avoid putting the rug in an area where it’s in direct heat, such as in the sun or right next to a fireplace or heater. Place a towel down on the ground to absorb the excess moisture, and spread out the rug in its natural shape. Let the rug dry in this position for a few hours.
    • Hanging the rug to dry isn’t recommended because this stretches out the skin.
    • When the rug is dry, it will feel stiff.
    • Placing the rug in direct sunlight or near a strong heat source can ruin the shape of the rug.
  4. Brush the rug throughout the drying process to soften it. Some people like to comb out the rug when it’s still wet, while others wait until it’s completely dry before combing it out. Consider brushing the rug when it’s wet with a large-tooth comb, and then again when it’s dry using a sheepskin brush to make it extra fluffy.
    • A pet brush works well to brush the rug when it’s dry, making it fluff up more.


  • If your rug is yellow, washing it won't fix the discoloring, as this is caused by sunlight and age.
  • If something spills on your rug, act quickly to blot up the stain before it sets in.
  • It's best to wash your sheepskin rug in the spring, summer, or autumn months when it can dry naturally outside (but not in direct hot sunlight).


  • Submerging your rug in water will cause it to shrink.
  • Don't put your rug in the dryer on a tumble dry setting.
  • It's risky to wash a sheepskin rug that's more than 15 years old, as the leather may fall apart.
  • Never use regular laundry detergent on your sheepskin rug.

Things You'll Need

  • Wide-tooth comb
  • Brush (a sheepskin brush or a pet brush)
  • Sheepskin detergent
  • Bathtub or large plastic tub
  • Clean rag
  • Large clean towels
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