How to Clean a Sheepskin Rug


Plush sheepskin rugs are beautiful and luxurious, but the fluffy material can attract dirt and quickly become matted and tangled with everyday use. Caring for a sheepskin rug doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming, but there are some specific things you should and shouldn’t do when cleaning these furry accessories.

This guide will explain how to perform routine cleaning, how to remove stains and tangles, and how to deep-clean sheepskin rugs, both real and faux. With just a little bit of care, your sheepskin rug will stay looking and feeling amazing for years to come!

The Basics of Caring for Sheepskin Rugs

There are four main ways to clean sheepskin rugs, and it’s important to be familiar with all of the methods in order to keep your rug looking attractive for years to come.

Vacuuming is the primary way to clean a sheepskin rug; vacuum regularly to keep it looking its best. A sheepskin rug can also be shaken out to remove hair, crumbs, dirt, and other debris lodged in its fibers – but only if its size permits. If not, taking it outside and giving it a good shake will work just as well.

Over time, your sheepskin rug may develop matted sections, which will need to be brushed out with a slicker brush or wool comb to lift the fibers and remove tangles.

As is true of all rugs, stains are bound to happen. When they do, a stain removal technique known as spot treating can be used to eliminate them.

Finally, from time to time, your sheepskin rug may require an all-over deep cleaning that involves washing it with a mild detergent by hand or, if permitted by the manufacturer, in the washing machine, and air drying.

How to Vacuum a Sheepskin Rug

Vacuuming is the best way to keep your sheepskin rug clean. Routine vacuuming will remove dirt, hair, and invisible soils like pollen and dander, and keep the rug looking new.

However, when vacuuming sheepskin, it is important to only use the suction function on the vacuum; attachments for carpeting that have a beater or revolving bar should not be used on sheepskin rugs, as it can cause the fibers to tangle. If your vacuum does not have a head without a beater brush, use the nozzle or upholstery attachment to safely vacuum your rug.

How to Restore a Matted Sheepskin Rug

Matting can be a normal occurrence on a sheepskin rug, but it’s easy to fix. Matting happens when long hair fibers become tangled and knotted. To prevent matting, brush your sheepskin rug regularly with a soft-bristled brush.

What You’ll Need

  • Slicker brush or wool comb
  • Hair conditioner (optional)

Step 1: Shake Rug

The best way to clean your rug is to start by giving it a good shake to dislodge any debris and fluff unmatted sections.

Step 2: Brush Matted Sections

Gently comb out tangles with a wool comb or slicker brush, working in the direction of hair growth. Use a metal bristled brush designed for pet hair to avoid damaging your dog’s coat.

Step 3: Apply Conditioner to Loosen Tangles (Optional)

To get rid of especially stubborn matting, dilute a small amount of conditioner with water and use your fingers to gently rub the conditioner solution along the length of the hair, working in the direction of hair growth. Then, use a slicker brush or wool comb to gently brush out the knotted section.

How to Remove Stains from a Sheepskin Rug

When stains occur on a sheepskin rug, it is best to treat them as soon as possible. The best way to do this is with a stain removal technique called spot treating; unlike deep cleaning, spot treating addresses a specific stain in a specific place.

What You’ll Need

  • Paper towels
  • A butter knife or spoon (optional)
  • Wool-safe detergent
  • Light-colored cloth

Step 1: Blot Liquid Spills and/or Remove Solids

If you have a liquid spill or accident, start by blotting up as much liquid as possible with paper towels or rags. If the spill is solid or contains solids, use a spoon or the edge of a butter knife to scrape them off the rug’s fibers. If the solids have dried, gently pick them up and dispose of them.

Step 2: Apply Detergent to the Stain

To remove a stain from wool fabric, start by dabbing it with a damp cloth that’s been soaked in wool-safe detergent. Dab at the stain until it’s gone, working in the direction of the hair growth and taking care not to scrub, as friction can cause the hairs to become tangled and matted.

Step 3: Rinse the Area

Once the stain has been removed, gently dab the area with a cloth dipped in clean water to remove any residual detergent. Allow the rug to dry, and if needed, use a wool comb or slicker brush to brush out and fluff up the rug’s fibers.

How to Deep Clean a Sheepskin Rug

When a deeper cleaning is needed, many sheepskin rugs can be machine-washed in cold water on the delicate cycle, using a wool-safe detergent. Always check the care tag for cleaning instructions. If your sheepskin rug cannot be safely washed in the machine, or if you are unsure, it can be washed by hand following these instructions:

  1. Fill a sink or tub with cool water and add a wool-safe detergent.
  2. Submerge the sheepskin rug and swish it around gently to cleanse.
  3. Rinse thoroughly in cool water until the water runs clear.
  4. Gently press out excess water and lay the sheepskin rug flat to air dry away from direct heat or sunlight.

What You’ll Need

  • Wool-safe detergent
  • Drying line or rack
  • Wash basin (optional)

Step 1: Identify a Place to Wash

Choose a vessel that is large enough to fit the sheepskin rug and that will allow you to move your hands through the water easily, such as a kitchen sink, utility sink, bathtub, bucket, or wash basin.

Step 2: Fill Basin with Water and Detergent

Fill the basin with cool water, making sure to leave enough room for the rug and your hands to move around. Add a small amount of wool-safe detergent, following the manufacturer’s instructions on dosing.

Step 3: Submerge and Soak the Rug

Introduce the rug to the detergent solution, using your hands to fully submerge it. Then, use your hands to agitate the rug so that the water and detergent can penetrate its fibers and dislodge dirt and grime. Allow the rug to soak in the detergent solution for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes have passed, rinse the rug with clean water to remove any residue.

Step 4: Rinse the Rug

After soaking the rug in the detergent solution, lift it out and squeeze it gently to remove any excess solution. Then, drain the detergent solution and rinse the rug well with clean water to remove any residual detergent.

Step 5: Allow the Rug to Air Dry

To remove excess water from your rug, gently squeeze it out without twisting or wringing, which could damage the fibers or backing. Allow the rug to air dry either on a drying rack or line; if drying outdoors, make sure it’s not in direct sunlight or exposed to excessive heat. Once the rug is dry, use a wool comb or slicker brush to brush out and fluff up the fibers.