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My Little House Design: How to Clean a Sheepskin Rug

Thursday, June 6, 2013

How to Clean a Sheepskin Rug

A few months ago I found a sheepskin rug in my parent's garage and after gently questioning them about it's use I found that it wasn't being used and that I could have it - yay!

For the past few months it has been living in my bedroom in front of my nightstand. Despite coming from a garage it was in great condition.

Not sure why I made my bed such a backwards way, but anyway, the sheepskin looked really nice until Bob (I could end just about any sentence that way... until Bob). I had noticed in the past few months that Bob just loved to lay on that thing and chew up his toys. Which is totally fine with me except that all his hair started to get stuck in the fur of the rug which is confusing and then there were all these bits of chewed up dog toys stuck in the fur, plus some blue ink got on it and honestly don't know who is to blame for that. But all of that wasn't enough for me to actually bother to clean it (I would periodically shake it out and try to vacuum it but it wasn't very helpful) until Bob straight up threw up on it. I was like seriously Bob?! My entire house is hardwood and you choose to vomit on 3'x2' dry clean only sheepskin? Really? So it went directly into a trash bag to be dealt with later because dog vomit is nasty and ain't nobody got time to deal with that crap at 11:30pm on a work night. Later I took it out of the bag enough to check the tag which said dry clean only. Okay, that's annoying but I figured paying $15-20 to get the thing cleaned for me isn't the worst thing to ever happen. Except the dry cleaners said they wouldn't take it. Say what? Isn't that your job to dry clean dry clean items? I was annoyed. But it really need to get cleaned and the vomit had been on it for like a week at this point so I figured I couldn't hurt it worse by trying to clean it myself. Here is what it looked like pre-cleaning:

dog vomit (semi-censored because nobody wants to see dog vomit)

general filth

blue ink?

dog hair

After several google searches I came up with many different answers. I love the internet but sometimes too many opinions on how to do something can be confusing so I just decided to combine everything I read because I'm all about making good choices!

How to How I cleaned a sheepskin rug:

1) Shake it out

The less dirt and hair and other debris that you can remove pre-cleaning is in your best interest.

2) Give it a bath

I filled my tub with about six inches of cool water and then I added about three capfuls of baby shampoo.

(the wire brush comes in later)

While I was drawing a bubble bath for my sheepskin rug I couldn't help but think to myself, "This is such a first world problem."

The rest is pretty self explanatory... just move it around and bathed it. It was really gross and I got wet and I felt gross and sort of wanted to become a vegetarian afterwards because being that close to wet animal fur makes you reconsider all sorts of things about your life. 

3) Rinse and repeat

If I didn't mention this at the beginning you will get wet. So don't do this wearing a silk blouse and cardigan like I did because that's just not smart.

But yeah, you've got to rinse and rinse and rinse because animal fur apparently soaks up a lot of water and the water will be filthy and you will be super grossed out and you will totally have to clean your tub afterwards.

After you've rinse and squeezed as much water out of the rug as possible it will look life you have a dead labradoodle in your bathtub but be cool because you've got to get through this. 

4) Brush it out

At this point I am like what am I doing with my life???? I am brushing a rug that I just gave a bath, what has my life come too??? But you will get through it, I promise. You will be changed, but you will get through it.

I really wish I could suggest that you skip this step, but I think this might be the key to the success of this process. Brushing out the rug got out a lot of the debris lodged down deep inside the fur. It was also oddly satisfying. I felt like a kid playing with a doll's hair. Mostly because you can yank and pull and tear out the hair and your doll can't do anything about it (was I a sadistic child or is that normal?). I used the edge of the bathtub to help me as I brushed out my rug. I felt like I was in an animal version of Psycho wherein I am obsessed with caring for a dead animal because let's be honest that is exactly what a sheepskin rug basically is. 

5) Wait, because this sucker takes for. ever. to dry

I exaggerate a lot but when I tell you took this rug seven days for this rug to dry I am not kidding you. Seven. Days. Honestly, it's still a little damp. I wish I had a clothes line outside for it because I think that would have been faster. I even dried it in the dryer for 10 minutes but that made me nervous so I stopped. So basically you just have to wait.

But when you are done waiting your rug will be clean and you will have gone to a place deep inside of yourself and come out with a new appreciation for the rug that you have so intimately bathed and cared for.

 It is definitely a little more crimpy/curly than it was before but I think if I brushed it again it would look the same, but the crimpyness doesn't bother me. The washing part only took me about 45 minutes but it felt like forever since this was such a silly task. I really hope i don't have to wash it again any time soon. Bob, I hope that my angry words got through to you, DO NOT VOMIT ON MY SHEEPSKIN RUG.

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At June 6, 2013 at 3:28 PM , Blogger Lauren said...

Too funny, Jaz! I want more content like this on the sight - "Doing Weird Stuff with Jasmin" can be the category title.

At June 6, 2013 at 3:53 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

love that idea! i have so many ideas because i'm always doing weird stuff haha :)

At June 6, 2013 at 3:54 PM , Blogger Jess Rogers said...

Amazing. And may Bob stay far, far away from your rub in the future.

At June 6, 2013 at 4:13 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

haha exactly :)

At September 10, 2013 at 5:35 AM , Blogger Campfire said...

So funny! I looked it up for advice!!! Is the back of the rug not stiff? I wanted to know if I should put some glycerine in the rinse water?

My cat always seems to sick up onto something that will show it after it has been washed! This is quite a big sheepskin rug and I might have a go at it at a later date. I've just sponged mine with some freaky stain remover sachets. (Here I sound like the Undomesticated Goddess (Sophie Kinsella) which I'm just reading!

At September 10, 2013 at 3:28 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hi! Glad it was helpful! The back of the rug is definitely stiffer than it was before it was washed, but it isn't rock solid or anything. I honestly don't notice it since it's always on the ground, but it isn't super soft like it was before. But anything is better than dog vomit! Good luck cleaning yours!

At October 6, 2013 at 2:27 PM , Anonymous Pat Lawson said...

Hello Jasmin:
We have been in the sheepskin business for many years. Our experience is you can wash them in a washing machine on no heat using your regular washing detergent, and dry them in the dryer on no heat. Hang them outside works, but not in the direct sun. Long pile sheepskins like you have are better washed in large commercial machines found in laundermats.

At October 6, 2013 at 5:59 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for the advice! I'll have to remember to do that next time!

At October 16, 2013 at 12:33 PM , Blogger StudentNurse2012 said...

I am crying from reading this... too funny.

At October 25, 2013 at 10:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me too! And I needed the laughs. Definitely appreciate the advice as well:)

At October 25, 2013 at 11:58 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks guys! I'm glad my ridiculousness is beneficial to someone ;) in other news I've moved to a new domain if you guys want to check it out: littlehousedesign.com

At November 13, 2013 at 8:07 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

That was so funny, but highly informative! Thanks.

At November 13, 2013 at 8:07 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

That was so funny, yet informative! Thanks.

At December 18, 2013 at 11:04 PM , Blogger MVANRW said...

I wouldn't be reading and/or commenting if this post mean something significant to me. I, too, have to clean the Dog. Vomit from a sheepskin rug. I am fortunate in that my rug is chocolate brown. You made this disgusting chore seem like something I can survive, even though I really REALLY
R E A L L Y wish I weren't the grown up in this household and therefore the one who must deal with such disasters! Thanks for giving me hope and making me believe it won't be impossibly bad.

At December 18, 2013 at 11:08 PM , Blogger MVANRW said...

Thanks for making THE TASK seems like something I can handle, even though I really REALLY R E A L L Y don't want to do it! Seriously? Just because I happen to be THE ADULT in this household, I have to clean up DOG VOMIT, among other disgusting chores, i.e., cleaning toilets, unclogging garbage disposal. ugh. But, you give me both hope and confidence! Thanks!


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