Cleaning a Sheep Skin Ruggreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I have a sheep skin rug I have been using as a wall hanging for probably 20 years. What is the most practical way to wash it? Woolite in the bathtub?
-- Ken S. in WC TN (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 14, 2000
My sister in law had a sheep skin rug that was 100 yrs old! It was huge! We washed it on a summer day, when the weather was to be dry for a bit, by laying it out in the yard-sudsing it up with just a bit of woolite-turn up the radio, and twist and shout! Toe that baby to.....Hose it down, turn once and a while.
-- Kathy (email@example.com), October 14, 2000.
Ken - I have had several goat hides tanned and there is always a choice of washable or drycleanable. If you don't know for sure that yours is washable you might want to check on having it drycleaned, rather than spoil it in water. Other than that, you could experiment with cool water and woolite and dry on the line, in moving air, but out of the sun. Your not going to want to dry to fast, hide will get stiff. After it is dry you'll probably need to "work" the hide to soften it anyway. The indians used to rub it on a rounded off log so if you've got a chair arm or porch railing that might work.
Maybe someone else will have a better answer, but if I were going to clean my angora goat hides I'd have them drycleaned. Good luck!
-- Betsy (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 14, 2000.
NEVER, but never use woolite on wool, silk, or any other animal fiber. A few years ago the manufacturer changed the formula to get sweat and blood out of synthetics as most fine lingerie, exercise clothes, etc., are now synthetics. The enzyme (I think it was an enzyme) attacks protein molecules as in the blood and sweat and in the wool fiber and pelt as well.
This made big news in the fiber arts community a few years ago. I use Orvis or a pH balanced dish liquid to wash raw wool and finished items but I'm at a loss as to washing a whole pelt with wool. I have some tanned goatskins, deerskins and sheepskins but I never wash them. Instead, I put them in a clothes dryer with a clean tennis shoe and NO HEAT on the fluff setting for about 15-20 minutes. To keep out bugs, I then lay them flat and dust with borax from the laundry aisle and shake them well, outside and in a place where I don't have to worry about our animals getting into it.
If you do wash the pelt, be careful drying it. Keep it out of the sun and when it's dry, you will probably have to "work" the skin side to soften it again. Let us know how it turns out.
-- marilyn (email@example.com), October 14, 2000.
You didn't say how dirty the skin has gotten. Perhaps you could just vacuum it?
-- Joy Froelich (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 15, 2000.
Washed mine in the washing machine on the delicate cycle with cold water...used regular detergent, and draped the soggy mess over some wood horses in the backyard..dried nicely...then I rubbed Neats Foot oil on the reverse side to make it supple again...don't know that I would do that process more than a few times, but it worked quite well for me AND removed the moldy smell (had been in a plastic bag in the cellar for a few years)....God bless...
-- Lesley (email@example.com), October 15, 2000.
Thank you for the advice. Looks like the bathtub with mild soap, then into the washer on the spin cycle to get out most of the water. The porch rail to the back steps stays out of the sun as it is on the north side. The rug isn't all that dirty. Mostly airborne from hanging so long since housecleaning isn't one of my fortes.
-- Ken S. in WC TN (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 15, 2000.
I don't know if you get snow where you live, but growing up, we put our scheepswool swaeters and jackets on fresh fallen snow. Most of the soil and surface dirt would seep right into the snow. Keep moving it if you have to and let snow fall on it also. We did that with our socks also when it snowed. Made everything so soft! Ada
-- Aagje Franken (Backyard@AOL.com), October 15, 2000.
Dear Ken, I agree with Ada, the oldfashioned Nordic way of cleaning woolen clothing and rugs is to "wash" them with freshly fallen snow, brushing the snow in with a clean broom for large articles. Shake item, and repeat, until you see no more dirt specks in the clean snow, work quickly so as to not let the snow stay in long enough to melt. Annie in SE OH.
-- Annie Miller (email@example.com), October 16, 2000.
If we get more than about an inch on snow the country school closes until it melts. Thus, that method of cleaning isn't an option.
-- Ken S. in WC TN (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 16, 2000.
Ken, I found this article on caring for furs, while searching for something else. You might find it interesting.
-- Joy Froelich (email@example.com), October 17, 2000.
I don't know about washing skins, but I do know about washing wool, and I would be VERY careful about agitating wet wool. I definitely would not soap it up and rub it vigorously unless I were after felt. I think I would wash it like wool, then work a good amount of saddle soap into the hide and see what happened. I have washed nice leather gloves and worked in saddle soap and they were soft and pliable once they dried.
I usually wash wool in hottest tap water, but with skins, I'd go cooler. You just put it in, push it up and down a couple of times, and let it soak. Then you spin it in the washer (no running water or agitation allowed). Then rinse it in water as close as you can get to the temperature of the water you took it out of. Just let it soak the soap out. You can push it up and down in the water a couple of times, though. Rinse until the water comes clear, spinning between each rinse. Spin one final time and air dry.
At this point, I would work in the saddle soap or other good leather conditioner. Good luck!
-- Laura Jensen (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 18, 2000.