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10 Simple Rules For Taking Care Of A Sheepskin Rug

Welcome to Sheepskin Rugs 101.

As far as we’re concerned, a sheepskin rug is hands-down one of the coolest pieces you can have in your home — and for good reason! Not only will a sheepskin rug bring some much-needed texture into your space, but it can also offer a cozy vibe without compromising your cool, modern aesthetic. 

But with great design power comes great responsibility. Whether you chose to opt for one that is real or faux, caring for your rug is no easy feat.

Trust me, I should know. A few years ago, I purchased a faux sheepskin rug for my small, studio apartment. Problem is, I was always so nervous my sheepskin rug would get dirty that I centered my apartment around it. I would create strict — and kind of ridiculous — rules for my guests to follow. "No red wine around the rug!" "No shoes in the apartment!" I was so adamant about these rules that my boyfriend, who didn't even live in my apartment, would automatically leave his shoes by the front door and ask all his friends to do the same.

I even bought a heavy-duty vacuum to clean my rug, only to have the machine get caught on my rug's hairs. Soon enough, my rug became more of a nuisance than an awesome decor item I wanted in my space.

The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. My biggest design mistake in my décor comedy of errors was not knowing how to care for my sheepskin rug. If you want to keep your sheepskin rug looking its best for many years to come — without driving you or your guests crazy — it’s important to know how to maintain it. Here are 10 do’s and don’ts for maintaining your sheepskin rug. (If you're not sold on sheepskin, check out our rug guide with types, sizes, and materials here.)

 10 Simple Rules For Taking Care Of A Sheepskin Rug
Photographed by Virginia Rollison.

Do: Be Strategic About Its Placing

When it comes to your sheepskin rug, it’s all about location, location, location. Avoid placing your rug in damp or highly trafficked areas like your mudroom, bathroom, or kitchen. After all, nobody wants to have their precious rug covered in mud or moisture. Sheepskin rugs get sun spots when exposed to direct sunlight, so we recommend keeping yours in a darker space. A bedroom or home office are great examples.

Don't: Knock The Cleaning Supplies You Already Have

Let’s face it: Sheepskin rugs have the reputation of being incredibly high-maintenance (yes, even if they’re faux). But, the good news is some of the most effective cleaning products are already hiding in your kitchen cabinets. Baking soda, for example, is great for getting rid of any unwanted odors.

 10 Simple Rules For Taking Care Of A Sheepskin Rug
Photographed by Erin Kunkel.

Do: Rethink Your Color Scheme

ICYMI: Sheepskin rugs come in more colors than a white (albeit stain-prone) white. Adding a faux rug in a fun hue will add an unexpected pop of color to your home — and can help mask smaller stains.

Don't: Stress Over Stains

Speaking of stains, we know spilling a glass of rosé on your pristine rug seems like the end of the world, but we promise it’s fixable. Once your stain hits your rug, grab a dry cloth and blot out the moisture.

If your stain is still there, you can use a damp cloth and sheepskin detergent (yes, it exists…) to scrub it out.

Do: Machine Wash...

Of course, you can always wash the entire rug if the stain still persists. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a small fortune on getting your sheepskin rug professionally dry cleaned; just toss it in your laundry machine and wash on low temperature.

Psst.. for the best results, avoid fabric softener and any detergents that have bleach or enzymes.

...But Don't: Machine Dry

So that must mean you can also throw ‘em in the dryer, right? Not exactly. While some experts say you can dry it on low heat, others argue the extreme temps are just as damaging as placing your sheepskin rug in direct sunlight. Err on the side of caution and air dry your rug.

 10 Simple Rules For Taking Care Of A Sheepskin Rug
Photographed by Tessa Neustadt.

Do: Brush 'Em

If you ask us, a sheepskin rug’s smooth, luxurious texture is its biggest selling point, so it’s important to comb your rug every once in a while. According to Domino, a slicker wire brush — yes, the kind of brush you use on your pets — will get the job done.

Don't: Use Any Old Vacuum

Understandably, using a vacuum’s rolling brush on sheepskin will flatten its texture and cancel out all the precious time you’ve spent combing your rug. Instead, clean your rug with your vacuum’s hose nozzle. Looking for a quick and easy fix? Shaking your rug outside will get rid of a surprising amount of dirt.

 10 Simple Rules For Taking Care Of A Sheepskin Rug
Photographed by Genevieve Garruppo.

Do: Store Your Rug With Care

Your sheepskin rug is one of your home’s most prized possessions, which means you can’t just store it anywhere. Sheepskin rugs need to be stored in a place where they can “breathe,” otherwise they run the risk of drying out and not looking its best. Instead of storing it in an air-tight storage container or a vinyl garment bag, hang it in your closet.

Don't: Feel Pressured To Spend A Lot

Look, we love sheepskin rugs as much as the next person, but design trends come and go — and your personal style is bound to change over time. Not sure if you want a fluffy rug in your space five or ten years down the road? Buy a faux option. They’re considerably cheaper and more sustainable than, say, a real sheepskin rug. Best of all, tons of stores sell ‘em so you’ll be able to find your perfect pick.