NOTE: Washing any lambskin may change its character. Brushed lambskins may revert to more natural locks or may look matted. (Brushing with a wire dog brush will restore the brushed look.) The leather may become stiff and will need to be stretched during drying. WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR CHANGES THAT OCCUR FROM WASHING. The code on the leather side of your sheepskin indicates where it was tanned.
Number preceded by V: The most recently sold lambskins were tanned in Vermont. The tanner recommends the following care:
WEEKLY - Take your skin outside and give it a thorough shake to remove any accumulated dust or lint. If a more thorough airing is desired, drape the skin over a shaded lawn chair or clothes line for a few hours (do not hang in direct sunlight or place on any metallic surface). Brush the hair or wool with a wide-tooth comb or pet brush, depending on the hair type and desired look.
SPOT CLEANING - You can clean spills on the fur side of your skin without wetting the leather side. Use a soft sponge or cotton cloth and, if necessary, a very small amount of mild hand soap or shampoo. Be sure to wipe in one direction (scrubbing back and forth can quickly felt the fibers). Rinse the area by wiping with a clean, wet sponge or cloth and allow to air dry thoroughly before combing or brushing.
WASHING - Wetting any leather product should be done as infrequently as possible for the longest life of the item (when was the last time you washed your leather bag, jacket, or shoes?) You can wash your sheep or goatskin in the washing machine or by hand in a large basin (such as a bathtub).
Use cool water.
Use a small amount of mild, natural soap or a botanical shampoo. Avoid detergents that claim “enzyme fighting power” as these enzymes can break down wool and leather over time.
In the washing machine, choose the gentle, delicate, or wool cycle.
If hand-washing, soak but do not stir or agitate the skin in the water (agitation + water = felt!). Soak for 20 minutes, then lift and squeeze out the excess water. Soak a second time in clean water and squeeze thoroughly.
If your washing machine has a spin-only cycle we recommend running this at least 2 times to wring out as much water as possible.
DRYING - Drying a wet leather item requires attention over several days.
First aggressively shake out the skin to release as much moisture as possible. This is best done outside.
Hang the skin outside on a shaded line, fur side up, until the hair or wool is dry. Aggressively shake the skin every few hours during this first drying phase.
When the hair side is dry, bring the item indoors and drape over the back of a wooden or plastic chair, leather side up, away from direct heat, and continue to give it a good shake, rub, and stretch each time you pass by. This will keep the leather supple as it dries and prevent it from shrinking up and becoming stiff.
When the leather is completely dry you can brush or comb out the hair or wool for the desired look.
Number preceded by P: Tanned in Pennsylvania. The tanner’s care instructions: "Hides are processed to be washable, however, we highly recommend for best cleaning results, you can send them back to us for cleaning*** ($20.00 per hide). Machine or hand-wash (we strongly suggest hand washing for the sake of your washing machine as well as the hide) in cold or warm water (do not exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not use Woolite, laundry detergents or fabric softeners. [I recommend Unicorn Fiber Wash.]
FOR HAND WASHING: Put the skin in the tub and hold it under the water until the skin is thoroughly saturated with water. Gently churn the skin to get the soap moving around the fibers and let soak for 5-10 minutes then rinse. Gently squeeze out excess water.
FOR MACHINE WASHING: Set to gentle cycle. Once skin is thoroughly soaked, allow machine to churn briefly. The more churning, the more the wool will mat. Let soak 5-10 minutes. Spin cycle briefly to remove excess water. Rinse if necessary.
DRY: Never tumble dry- this will mat the wool more. Line dry (NOT IN SUN) or dry flat (wool side down) and stretch to shape while damp. Brush with soft wire brush when wet, when damp, and when dry. Do not tumble dry.
Heat will damage sheepskins, resulting is shrinking and hardening of pelt. We do not guarantee the skins through washing.”
Number preceded by S: Sheepskins with a number preceded by S were tanned in San Francisco. California-tanned sheepskins were processed in accordance with California water quality regulations without the chemicals used in the processing the washable ones (as are the VT-tanned sheepskins). The leather is not washable, but you can use any product appropriate for leather on it. I recommend shaking out your lambskin and spot washing the wool by using a small amount of water and a mild soap if necessary. If the leather gets damp continually stretch it during the drying time.