There’s nothing cosier, or more hardwearing, than a shearling coat, a sheepskin rug or a pair of lambskin slippers. As durable as it may be, however, washing sheep wool and shearling incorrectly can cause irreversible damage. Keep your favourite winter warmers in good condition for years to come by following our simple guide to washing wool fleece and sheepskin.
Read on to find out how to clean a sheepskin coat and how to wash sheep woolskin rugs easily and effectively!
How to wash sheep wool, sheepskin and shearling
Many wool, shearling and sheepskin items are ‘dry clean only’. Before you set about washing your sheepskin, always check the manufacturer’s care tag beforehand. Washing dry-clean-only items, even by hand, can cause damage.
- If the garment care tag recommends that the item should not be fully submerged, spot-clean it with a cloth and lukewarm water instead. Do not fully submerge the sheepskin, as it could become damaged. For a more thorough clean, take it to a specialist.
- If hand washing is recommended on the garment care tag, start by filling a bathtub with cool or lukewarm water.
- Add a dose of specialist sheepskin and wool detergent that is pH neutral and that does not contain biological enzymes. Always follow the usage instructions on the product label – you may also wish to test a small amount of the solution on an inconspicuous area first.
- Submerge the sheepskin in the water and leave it to soak for a minute or two, before gently swishing it around in the bathtub to loosen any dirt particles.
- Rinse the sheepskin in cold water twice.
- Squeeze the sheepskin out gently, taking care not to wring the material, as this could lead to it becoming stretched or misshapen.
- Pat the sheepskin with towels to soak up any excess moisture, before leaving it to dry naturally on a flat, clean towel, away from direct sunlight or heat.
- While the sheepskin is drying, use a metal-bristled brush to gently fluff the wool, and brush it again once it has fully dried. This will help the sheepskin return to its former fluffiness.
If you are in any doubt about how to wash sheep wool or shearling, it's always best to seek specialist advice.