Can You Wash Sheepskin Rugs In The Washing Machine?

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Can You Wash Sheepskin Rugs In The Washing Machine

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 Yes, you can wash sheepskin rugs in the washing machine, but there are some important considerations and precautions to keep in mind. Here’s how to do it properly.

Sheepskin rugs add warmth, texture, and a touch of luxury to any home. However, they can accumulate dirt, dust, and odors over time, which may leave you wondering how to keep them clean and fresh. The good news is that you can indeed wash sheepskin rugs in your washing machine, but there are specific guidelines you must follow to ensure your rug remains in pristine condition.

In this guide, we will explore the dos and don’ts of cleaning sheepskin rugs in your washing machine, as well as alternative cleaning methods for suede-backed rugs.

Dos and Don’ts of Wash Sheepskin Rugs In The Washing Machine

Dos

  • Check the Backing: Determine whether your sheepskin rug has a leather pelt backing or a suede backing. If it has a suede backing, it’s best to opt for dry cleaning rather than machine washing. Suede is delicate and can be damaged in the washing machine.
  • Use a Gentle Cycle: For rugs with a leather pelt backing, choose a gentle cycle on your washing machine. This will minimize the agitation and prevent potential damage to the sheepskin fibers.
  • Use Mild Detergent: Select a mild liquid detergent that is designed for hand-washing dishes. Avoid harsh chemicals or bleach, as they can harm the sheepskin and alter its texture.
  • Wash in Warm Water: Set the washing machine to a warm water temperature of around 40°C or 104°F. Warm water helps to loosen dirt and grime without causing excessive shrinkage or damage.
  • Dry Properly: After washing, gently reshape the rug and lay it flat to dry. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight or high heat sources, as this can cause the sheepskin to shrink or become stiff. It’s best to allow the rug to air dry naturally.

Don’t

  • Don’t Use Hot Water: Avoid using hot water, as it can cause the sheepskin to shrink or lose its natural softness.
  • Don’t Use Fabric Softener: Steer clear of fabric softeners and strong detergents, as they can damage the sheepskin’s delicate fibers.
  • Don’t Overload the Machine: Ensure that your rug has enough space to move freely within the machine. Overloading can lead to uneven cleaning and potential damage.
  • Don’t Tumble Dry: Never tumble dry a sheepskin rug. High heat and agitation can cause irreparable damage.
  • Don’t Skip Reshaping: Reshape the rug as it dries to maintain its original form. This step is crucial for preventing any deformities.

Steps To Wash Sheepskin Rugs In The Washing Machine

Step 1

Check the Backing: Examine your sheepskin rug to confirm it has a leather pelt backing.

Step 2

Prep the Machine: Clear your washing machine of any lingering detergent or debris. Ensure it’s clean and ready for use.

Step 3

Mild Detergent: Add a small amount of mild liquid detergent suitable for hand washing dishes to the machine. Be conservative with detergent to prevent excessive suds.

Step 4

Warm Water: Set the machine to a gentle cycle with warm water (around 40°C or 104°F).

Step 5

Load the Rug: Place the sheepskin rug in the machine, making sure it has enough space to move freely.

Step 6

Start the Cycle: Begin the washing cycle, and let the machine work its magic.

Step 7

Reshape and Dry: After the cycle is complete, gently reshape the rug and lay it flat to dry in a cool, well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Allow it to air dry naturally, which may take several hours or even a day.

Step 8

Brush the Fibers: Once the rug is dry, use a soft brush to fluff up the sheepskin fibers gently.

Alternative Washing Methods For Sheepskin Rugs

  • Spot Cleaning: For minor spills or stains, spot clean the affected area with a mixture of warm water and a mild liquid detergent. Blot the stain rather than rubbing it to prevent damage.
  • Dry Cleaning: If your sheepskin rug has a suede backing, it’s best to have it professionally dry cleaned. Suede is delicate and can be easily damaged by water.
  • Shaking and Beating: Regularly shake out your sheepskin rug and give it a gentle beating to remove loose dirt and dust. This can help prolong the time between deep cleanings.
  • Vacuuming: Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to gently remove surface dirt and dust. Be sure to vacuum in the direction of the fibers to avoid damaging them.
  • Fresh Air: On a sunny day, hang your sheepskin rug outdoors in the shade to allow it to air out and refresh naturally.

FAQ

Can I use a front-loading washing machine for washing sheepskin rugs?

Answer: Yes, front-loading washing machines are generally gentler on sheepskin rugs due to their horizontal drum orientation, which reduces agitation.

Can I add vinegar to the wash to neutralize odors?

Answer: It’s best to avoid using vinegar as it can affect the pH of the sheepskin. Instead, allow the rug to air out in the sun, which can naturally neutralize odors.

What should I do if my sheepskin rug still smells after washing?

Answer: If odors persist, sprinkle baking soda over the rug, let it sit for a few hours, and then shake or vacuum it off.

Can I use a fabric softener sheet in the dryer to make the rug softer?

Answer: It’s not recommended, as fabric softeners can leave a residue on the sheepskin. To maintain softness, brush the rug’s fibers gently after washing and drying.

How often should I clean my sheepskin rug?

Answer: The frequency of cleaning depends on usage. For rugs in high-traffic areas, consider cleaning every 6 to 12 months. Rugs in less-frequented areas may require cleaning every 18 to 24 months.

Final Words

Cleaning your sheepskin rug in a washing machine can be an effective way to keep it fresh and beautiful. By following these dos and don’ts and taking proper care during the cleaning and drying process, you can enjoy the comfort and elegance of your sheepskin rug for years to come.

If your rug has a suede backing, remember to opt for dry cleaning instead to maintain its integrity. With a little care, your sheepskin rug will continue to be a cherished addition to your home.

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