Besides the economic and environmental advantages of washing, the items being washed will be sanitised if the sheepskin shampoo has antibacterial and disinfecting properties. Detergents containing enzymes, phosphates, peroxide, alkali or bleach can cause irreversible damage to the leather. Most wool-wash contains water softening properties, mostly phosphates, which removes the metals from the water. Phosphates will therefore remove the tanning chemicals from the leather of the sheepskin resulting in permanent damage to the sheepskin.
The other causes of damage to sheepskin products are heat which causes shrinking, other than The Australian Medical Sheepskin tanned to AS4480.1 1998 and stamped Hi-Temp, and incorrect detergent which causes hardening of the leather
The estimated cost of dry cleaning a lambskin or medical rug is $25.00 whereas the cost of washing in Woolskin would be 83 cents.
Drying: best results are achieved by drying in a domestic clothes dryer on LOW or WARM setting or drying out of direct sunlight. Drying in a WARM dryer results in the leather maintaining its softness through the gentle ‘milling’ much the same as in the tannery. When air drying, it is necessary to ‘flex’ the sheepskin to soften the leather.
Frequency: Medical sheepskins should be washed a minimum of weekly using a detergent with antibacterial and disinfecting properties to prevent cross-infection.
Baby lambskins should be washed regularly, much the same as other bedding to maintain a clean fresh environment for the child.
Car seat covers of good quality and manufacture should be washed a minimum of annually to maintain the benefit of the wool pile in maintaining the comfort and life of the sheepskin.
Sheepskin clothing should be washed regularly, as with other garments, and the suede facing protected with a water & oil repellent spray which will aid future cleaning.
UGG boots: Some UGG Boots come with a water repellent treatment which is applied in the tannery, however, this is not permanent and reapplication will be required after normal wear or after cleaning.