Monday, April 28, 2014

How to wash a sheepskin

Sheepskins get dirty - the baby you're trying to photograph pees on it, or your cat vomits on it, or the dog wipes his muddy feet on it. And so eventually you have to figure out how to wash them. Jerry Stern, owner of Stern Tanning Company, suggests the following technique for washing a lamb or sheepskin. I've also added a few comments.

Begin by using a vacuum on your sheepskin to remove some veggies before washing.

Wash skin in 80 degree water with mild liquid detergent on gentle cycle with five minutes or less agitation. Some customers add a teaspoon of olive oil to rinse bath.

Spin out excess water. 

Hang to dry at room temperature, indoors. 

While it is still a little damp, occasionally stretch the hide from side to side to help open up the leather. If the hide is too wet, the stretching will not accomplish anything. When the hide is damp, stretching will open up the leather and the leather will lighten in color and become soft. 

If the hide becomes too dry prior to stretching, lightly moisten the leather with water and fold the hide leather to leather. Once the leather becomes damp, stretching can be done.

We still use sheepskins on the floor, but the ones that drape over chairs and sofas stay beautiful longer.

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