Well hello, it’s Lotte your Home Ec dork again. It may well be that I am planning to wrap my dorkiness up as a series of household tips. Or perhaps I am just a dork who likes to write dorky posts. About dorky lame things like washing sheepskin rugs.
Rata is nearly two, which means her sheepskin rug is too! She has started sleeping on him this winter, which is kind of a no-no if you listen to all the parenting books, but as my mum will tell you, ‘It’s cosy and warm’. So cleaning ol’ “sheepy” has become more important. Although he spends his time in bed now instead of on the floor, he still needs a wash every month or so, and I think I have perfected the art of it. Maybe.
Many people would tell me how wonderful sheepskin rugs were because you could just throw them in the washing machine and bang! voila! clean! I’ve found this is not the case – even after two trips around the longest cycle they were still dripping with dust and dirt and whathaveyou.
So… a good preparation for their trip around the wash cycle is a nice bath. I might fill the bathtub about a quarter full, plop in a good dollop of laundry liquid and a cup of baking soda and lay the sheepskin face down in the water. I push it about a bit until it is properly wet on top, then leave it for a couple of hours, smooshing it around when I remember to. You can turn it over and have a go at any sticky yuck bits with your hands after it has been soaking for a bit.
Then… I drain the bath, heave the soggy wet thing into a bucket, and arrange it carefully in the washing machine. It’s not quite big enough to go all the way around, and usually I have to rearrange it before it can spin. There are alarming clunking noises. I put a little more detergent in the machine, splash some vinegar over the sheepskin and advance the machine to its first rinse. I set the water level to medium so there’s plenty to get rid of the last of that dust. And I think I also set it to ‘warm’ water.
Once it has done its thing, I hang it on the line in full sun – perfect to kill the dust mites. As it dries, the wool fluffs up again, and my theory is that the vinegar/baking soda combination helps with this. Adding the vinegar to the rinse is my most recent addition to the washing process, and boy is that sheepy fluffy. In all his two years, I’d say this is the closest he looks to his original self. I want him for myself now.
Incidentally, while searching for the above image, I came across this tutorial for the washing of “sheepies”. I’m pretty sure my way is better. At a glance there seems to be a lot less faffing…