Cleaning a Sheepskin at home

Closed Thread

  #1  
Old 10-06-02, 10:06 PM
meche
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Cleaning a Sheepskin at home

I have a beautiful long-haired sheepskin that has accumulated city soot over the years and would like to know if it's possible to clean it at home and what products I would use. A furrier will do it but it costs a lot.
 
  #2  
Old 10-08-02, 05:16 PM
T
Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,817
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Sheepskin Rug Care Instructions

Your sheepskin rug can be easily hand or machine washed. It is important not to use hot water when washing sheepskins as this may damage the pelt of the sheepskin.


Washing Instructions


Hand Washing

Use a mild liquid household detergent in cold or warm water (max 40°C/105°F). Do not use soap or washing powders containing enzymes or bleach, or which are alkaline.

Machine Washing

Use the 'wool wash' cycle on your washing machine and wash in warm water (max 40°C/105°F). Use a mild liquid detergent suitable for washing machines.
Do not use soap or washing powders containing enzymes or bleach, or which are alkaline.

Dry Cleaning

The sheepskin can also be professionally dry-cleaned using either white spirits or perchloroethylene.




*Do not use fabric softeners.
Rinse thoroughly in warm water. Hand squeeze as much water from the sheepskin as possible or spin in the washing machine.



Drying Instructions
Your sheepskin rug may be tumble dried on the 'cool' or 'warm' setting. Do not use 'hot' setting as excessive heat may damage the lambskin. Alternatively, hang the sheepskin outside to dry naturally, avoiding direct sunlight.

Take care not to place the sheepskin on a radiator, steam pipe or in front of a fan heater as this may damage the sheepskin.

Do not iron or bleach your sheepskin rug.



Brushing
After washing, the wool may revert back to its natural curly state. You can help restore the fluffy appearance by brushing the wool while it is wet and again when it is dry. A wire pet brush or comb is suitable


Sheepskin Care Instructions. Retrieved 08 October 2002. http://www.madenz.com/sheepskinrugs/care.htm
 
  #3  
Old 11-21-02, 09:45 PM
meche
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
sheepskin cleaning...continued

I followed the above instructions to the last detail and wound up with clean fluffy fur, but the pelt is as stiff as a board. What can I do to restore it?
 
  #4  
Old 11-21-02, 09:53 PM
T
Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,817
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Sheepskin stiff after washing

If the sheepskin dries too quickly, the hide will tend to be stiff. Work the hide with your hands to soften it.
 
  #5  
Old 11-22-02, 01:10 AM
meche
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Sheepskin grief

Thanks for the tip, but when I said "stiff as a board", I wasn't exaggerating. It is like trying to massage a piece of wood. No give at all. Would it help to wash it again as you directed and do something different? The first time, I fluffed it in the dryer for 5-10 min. on "delicate" and then hung it over the backs of two chairs. Thanks for any more suggestions.
 
  #6  
Old 11-22-02, 08:14 AM
T
Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,817
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Washing sheepskin

Did you get all the soap rinsed out?
 
  #7  
Old 11-22-02, 04:07 PM
meche
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Rinsing the soap out of the sheepskin

I washed it in the machine with Woolite on the delicate cycle in cold water. I've never had problems with anything washed on this cycle.

I'm beginning to wonder if some sheepskins have not been treated for washing. I bought it in Austria.
 
  #8  
Old 11-22-02, 04:23 PM
T
Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,817
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Washing sheepskin

The stiffness could have been caused by the Woolite.

WASHING SHEEPSKIN and WOOL:

Wool does not have to shrink- sheep do not shrink in the rain nor does their skin go hard! Shrinkage, felting and skin hardening are due to hot water, agitation and the use of inappropriate detergents.

Hot water, agitation and poor detergents cause the wool fibres to shorten and lock tightly together; causing shrinkage and felting.

You can stop this happening to your sheepskin and woollen products by using the following washing procedures.

For best results, follow these 4 easy steps:

1. Use cold or lukewarm water.

2. Use wooltech: a sheepskin and wool cleaning & conditioning detergent

3. Wash

4. Dry

Detailed instructions:

1. Use COLD or lukewarm water- NEVER HOT

(There is one exception: you can safely use hot tap water for HiTemp UR Medical Sheepskins. These superior sheepskins can withstand more than 100 wash and dry cycles while retaining their softness and pressure relieving properties. HiTemp UR Medical Sheepskins are thermally disinfected when washed at 80oC = 175oF)

The use of excessively hot water:

· Will damage leather and may cause it to shrink and harden

· May cause felting of the wool pile

· May cause loss of colour

· May make thorough rinsing much more difficult.

· May set some stains and make them difficult to remove

2. USE A SHEEPSKIN DETERGENT:

Wool detergents are not recommended for the washing of sheepskins as they may contain chelating agents, phosphates, alkali, bleach, peroxide, triethanolamine, sequestering agents, phosphoric acid or enzymes. All are harmful to leather and should not be used.

We recommend : wooltech Sheepskin Shampoo & Woolwash"

"wooltech with Tea Tree Oil", a new generation product developed in conjunction with the tanning industry, will lubricate the sheepskin and give a distinct lustre and handle to the wool fibres. The anti-bacterial in wooltech remains in the washed article, providing continued action and prevention of odours. wooltech kills mites ( the cause of house dust asthma) and washing with wooltech will also remove mite allergens.

3. WASHING SHEEPSKIN

Handwashing sheepskins

Add lukewarm water to the tub first. Then add the measure of "wooltech-with Tea Tree Oil". Place the sheepskin in the solution and work it through the sheepskin for approximately 5 minutes.

Squeeze by hand until clean. Rinse twice with cold water or until water is clear. To remove excess moisture, use the spin-dry cycle of your washing machine. Squeeze by hand until clean. Rinse thoroughly with cold water until water is clear. To remove excess moisture, use the spin-dry cycle of your washing machine. See drying instructions below.

Machine washing sheepskins:

Sheepskin may be washed in a washing machine using the “wool” or “gentle” cycle. Use small load settings for small articles and full load settings for larger loads. Use ˝ the recommended dose of “wooltech” for front load machines. Select cold or warm wash. DOUBLE RINSE

Institutional Washing Procedures:

Washing instructions for HiTemp Medical Sheepskins to meet thermal disinfection requirements. The washing machine should be loaded to half capacity.



The recommended Detergent for institutional thermal and chemical disinfection is wooltech. Acetic acid can be added to steps 1,5, & 9 to aid dye fastness ( pH controlled to 3.8- 4.2)

4. DRYING SHEEPSKIN AND WOOL

May be placed in the dryer ( no heat ) until nearly dry. Use the "fluff or gentle cycle" only. Place the sheepskin( leather side facing upwards ) or wool article on a flat surface or drying rack. Dry in the shade, away from direct sunlight or heat.

Do Not use direct Heat or exposure to direct Sunlight to dry Sheepskin or Wool.



Down-Under Wool. Retrieved 22 November 2002. http://www.medicalsheepskins.com/wash.htm
 
  #9  
Old 11-22-02, 04:39 PM
meche
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Where to find wooltech shampoo

Thank you, twelvepole, for your efforts. I wish I'd known about this product before. I have no idea what was in the product I used which is designed for washing delicate items. I guess I can try it again with Wooltech Sheepskin Shampoo with Tea Tree Oil. Since the skin is now very clean, I could just run it through the washing machine on the delicate cycle and hope that it softens up (if I can bend it sufficiently to get in the machine) or if not, use the bathtub. Do any of your affiliated sources sell this shampoo or might it be available in New York City? What type of store sells it?
 
  #10  
Old 11-22-02, 04:56 PM
T
Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,817
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Washing sheepskin

Visit the link provided on the last post: http://www.medicalsheepskins.com/wash.htm

Copy and past the website address omitting and , as we can no longer post active links on the site that can click you where we want you to go.

To soften the pelt to get it back into the washer, spritz the skin with water. You can use an empty windex bottle or purchase a spray bottle at the home center.

I am so sorry for your trouble. I feel guilty that I may have led you astray. The last article indicated that one should not use wool shampoos for washing the pelt. Woolite is recommended for wool. An excellent pH neutral dish liquid is Ivory. And, I think if I used the dish liquid, I would rinse twice to make sure all soap residues are removed, as soap residues can cause items to be stiff.

The originial instructions in the article I posted would have been better if they had indicated a pH neutral, rather than "mild household detergent." I guess they assume everyone knows about acids and alkalines and that mild means pH neutral or nearly so. I should have added my own 2 cents worth to the article. Too, much internet cleaning info is hesitant to name product brands. I, too, am hesitant to name a particular product brand.

I have received emails accusing me of representing certain companies such as Barkeepers Friend, a household favorite. I am sure if I continually recommended Ivory as a pH neutral dish liquid that someone would accuse me of working for Procter & Gamble. I wish!

Keep us posted on your progress!
 
  #11  
Old 11-29-02, 11:16 PM
meche
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Last Word on Sheepskin

I spoke with someone at Wool-tech and learned that there are two different tanning methods for sheepskin, only one of which permits washing. I seem to have the other kind...so further washing is not going to help. Wooltech is only available mail-order from Canada. So if anyone out there has a dirty sheepskin, please make sure it is the washable kind before you put it in water! And speak to the folks at Wool-tech first. Guess this project was "just a wash".
 
  #12  
Old 12-05-02, 10:54 AM
T
Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,817
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Sheepskin

I have had no luck researching to find a solution to your problem. I did learn that many of the South American sheepskins are not washable. After reading about the tanning processes, they must use a method that strips the leather of its natural oils so that washing will result in a stiff hide.

Does working the leather with your hands soften it at all? I am wondering at this point if a leather conditioner would be of any help? You could test in a small area.

Again, I am sorry about your sheepskin.
 
  #13  
Old 12-06-02, 01:45 AM
meche
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks for trying. Maybe the Austrians taught the S. Americans. Well, live and learn. If I discover a solution, I'll post it.
 
  #14  
Old 02-23-07, 01:47 AM
L
lmb
lmb is offline
Member
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
stiff as a board sheepskin

I bought a sheepskin from Egypt and tried to wash it like my other one, only to have it also end up stiff-as-a-board.

Since it was already unusable, I decided to wash it again and try rubbing oil into the underside of the skin as it dried.

So far, so good.

I'm using purified coconut oil (I live in the United Arab Emirates and can't track down the oils they use for oil tanning), but you might try it with neatsfoot oil.

I'm massaging the oil in twice a day (morning and night).

Hope this helps!

Leah
 
  #15  
Old 06-16-09, 05:49 PM
D
Member
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: arizona
Posts: 1
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
*************is also a good option for both wool and whole skins. It has lanolin in it which should prevent the hides from stiffening. I've used it several times on sheepskins with very good results. I only use cold water, and i either put it in a bathtub and agitate it by hand, or take it to the big side-loading machine at the laundrymat. I wait until the weather is good for air drying, and i lay it flat so it doesn't dry stretched out weird.

As for the ones that have been washed and dried "stiff-as-a-board", I think that leahs method should work. I do braintanning with deer and sheepskins, and we always use an emulsified oil rather than just straight oil. Straight oil is used on regular leathers to make them waterproof, but i think most sheepskins are more like a chamois, and so the oil you add should be emulsified. I would recommend rewashing the stiff hide, and adding a solution of a half cup of oil (lanolin, or neatsfoot would be great, but you could potentially use olive or vegetable oils too...) well mixed with a half a bar of grated ivory soap. Grating it on the cheese grater will make it easier to dissolve.
The skin should be wet enough that its very flexible and moist when you add the oil mix, and then worked in on the skin side. It will only work if it is stretched as it dries, until it is completely dry. the best way to tell if it is totally dry is to feel it, and if it is cool to the touch it is still evaporating water off- i.e. not dry yet.

I've done this on raw hides, but never on a tanned, then stiff sheepskin... IT MAY NOT WORK, but it may help if you really value that stiff sheepskin and you want to try to fix it...
Good Luck!
 

Last edited by Shadeladie; 06-16-09 at 06:08 PM. Reason: Advertising not allowed
  #16  
Old 03-10-14, 03:36 AM
H
Member
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Great Britain
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Red face hard sheepskin

I had the same problem! Have ordered a sheepskin on etsy and after reading multiple posts I decided to wash it at home with very soft wool products. It got hard as a board! Unfortunately after the accident I nevered restored it to it's old beauty. I have recently got a new gorgeous Icelandic one, with long hair. I have purchased on some German website Natural Bazaar and unfortunately it came with care instructions in the same language although the website was in english too. Thankfully I know how to operate google translator Here is the rough translation if anyone is still interested in care tips (I haven't followed all of them yet because the item is new so doesn't need cleaning but my friend already done it and is real pleased with the effect):

1. The pelt should be brushed from time to time with a metal brush to keep it fluffy and get rid off the accumulated dust (hair one will do-that's what my friend did)

2. It's good to air the sheepskin occasionally - on the balcony, garden etc.

3. It should not be washed at home because the detergents will harden the skin. If you want to get rid of the smell or just refresh your pelts looks - take it to the dry cleaners

Hope that helps,

Greetings

Anna
 
  #17  
Old 03-10-14, 05:23 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,964
Received 6 Votes on 6 Posts
Anna, it is a 12 year old thread, and probably not monitored by any of the original participants.
 
  #18  
Old 01-18-15, 04:53 AM
C
Member
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 2
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Since IKEA has begun offering sheepskins, the challenge of getting them clean is going to be an ongoing one. I have one purchased in the 80s at a craft fair that I would like to get out of storage in my extended family's basement. I fear that it will have absorbed that awful smell of the grave with which subterranean storage often imbues absorptive materials like textiles, straw, paper, and - I anticipate - fur. I am wondering about oxy-clean and similar products. Thanks
 
  #19  
Old 01-18-15, 05:10 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,964
Received 6 Votes on 6 Posts
Again, this is a 12 year old thread. Hopefully the moderators will close it. Beginning a new thread is always best.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description: