how do you wash sheepskin

How Do You Wash Sheepskin?

Sheepskin, derived from sheep which are commonly used for wool production, has been adored for centuries for its warmth, softness, and durability. This natural fiber, cherished in so many things from UGG boots to sheepskin rugs, not only offers unmatched comfort but also elevates the aesthetics wherever used. However, like any valuable item, especially those made from animal hides, sheepskin demands meticulous care. Often asked is how do you wash sheepskin without damaging it in any way?

Sheepskin, being a byproduct of sheep farming requires careful cleaning to maintain its excellence. Ideally, hand wash with a wool-safe shampoo or use a gentle cycle in the machine. For minor blotches, spot cleaning works wonders. Always air dry, steering clear of direct sunlight, and brush softly with a soft brush to maintain its plush texture. Refrain from using harsh detergents or steam cleaning, as they might compromise its integrity.

Whether it’s a sheepskin coat, slippers, or sheepskin car seat covers, below are three proven techniques to ensure they remain as magnificent as when first acquired.

Hand Washing Sheepskin

This method is tender on sheepskin, making certain the natural fibers are treated with respect, thus reducing potential harm.

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Preparation: Fill a basin with cold water. Hot water risks altering the sheepskin’s texture.
  2. Detergent Selection: Choose a mild wool wash or pH balanced cleaners. Mix thoroughly in water before soaking the sheepskin.
  3. Submerge and Agitate: Delicately immerse the sheepskin. Gently agitate to dislodge dirt.
  4. Soaking: Let it sit for 20-30 minutes, aiding in dirt removal from the fibers.
  5. Rinse: Refresh the basin with cold water and rinse until no detergent remains.
  6. Drying: Extract excess water without wringing. Lay it flat away from direct heat or sunlight.
  7. Brushing: When semi-dry, softly brush using a soft-bristled brush, ensuring the texture remains fluffy.
  8. Final Inspection: Once dried, inspect for overlooked areas. Clean specifically if needed.

Machine Washing Sheepskin

For those short on time, this method offers an efficient solution, provided precautions are observed.

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Preparation: Ensure a clean washing machine, free from previous wash residues.
  2. Setting: Use a gentle cycle with cold water to protect the sheepskin.
  3. Detergent Choice: Opt for Woolite or a similar wool-safe detergent. Avoid bleach.
  4. Protection: Encase the sheepskin in a mesh bag to shield from aggressive machine movements.
  5. Load and Start: Introduce the mesh bag and begin the cycle.
  6. Post-Cycle: Immediately remove the sheepskin post-wash.
  7. Drying Tips: Position the sheepskin in a well-ventilated space. Avoid pegs or clips.
  8. Brushing: While slightly damp, brush gently to retain its plush nature.
  9. Storage: If not for immediate use, store in a cool, dry area away from sunlight.

Spot Cleaning Sheepskin

This is perfect for addressing specific stains without a complete wash.

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Evaluate: Identify the stain type to determine the apt treatment.
  2. Immediate Action: For fresh spills, dab using a clean cloth, avoiding rubbing.
  3. Solution: Mix a wool-safe shampoo with cold water.
  4. Test: Prior to stain application, test on an inconspicuous area.
  5. Stain Cleaning: Dab the stain gently using the mixed solution.
  6. Rinsing: Use a clean cloth dampened with cold water to rinse the treated area.
  7. Air Dry: Let the area dry organically.
  8. Fluffing: Once dry, fluff the fibers manually or with a brush.
  9. Inspect & Repeat: Check the stain. If remnants linger, redo the process or consult a professional.


What’s the ideal drying method for sheepskin?

Air drying in a well-ventilated space is best. Avoid direct sunlight and mechanical dryers.

Can a steam cleaner be used on sheepskin?

Steam cleaning is discouraged due to the intense heat and moisture, which can degrade the fibers.

How frequently should sheepskin be washed?

Frequency hinges on the item’s use. Items like sheepskin mittens or slippers that frequently contact skin might need regular cleaning. Rugs in low-traffic zones might demand lesser care.

Is regular detergent suitable for sheepskin?

Common detergents might be harsh on sheepskin. Always use products labeled safe for wool or sheepskin.

How to retain sheepskin softness post-wash?

Post-wash, avoid wringing or stretching. When almost dry, brushing helps realign fibers. If stiff post-drying, a gentle massage can restore its plushness.


Sheepskin, from its use in sheepskin throw to UGG slippers, is a treasured addition in many households. Regular and meticulous cleaning, whether by hand washing, machine washing, or spot cleaning, using mild detergents and avoiding direct heat, ensures your sheepskin remains soft, plush, and elegant for a long time.