Sheepskin Products – Naturally

Sheepskin is a natural product and most of us will own at least one item of furnishing or clothing which is made from this versatile product; coats, slippers, boots, traditional rugs, gloves and mittens, hats, car seat covers, pet mats and even lambskin fleeces for your baby’s cot or pram.
Sheepskin is well known for its comfort, warmth (and coolness), durability and luxurious feel. A fleece can absorb moisture and is anti-flammable so is very suitable to use for babies, children and even pets.
How is a Sheepskin made?
Now a by-product of the meat industry (lamb and mutton), sheepskin tanning is one of the oldest traditional crafts. The manufacture of sheepskin has been mechanised but the basic method for processing the skins has remained the same for centuries.
Once the raw skins have arrived at the tannery, they are sorted, checked over and trimmed. It is necessary to stop the skins putrefying at this stage, so any fat or tissue which is left on the skins is removed mechanically and the skins are washed. Tanning agents are then applied to the skins.

clothing

The skins are then spun to remove excess water and dried. Skins are then hung on hooks to dry.
Some sheep skins are dyed or bleached. Skins are softened and depending on the end product, the wool pile will be sheared and ironed. Sheepskin rugs will be left with the pile long and silky.
Finished skins are then inspected, trimmed and measured and graded according to the products they will be made into.
How to Care for Your Sheepskin
Sheepskin is surprisingly easy to look after and smaller items can even be washed on a low heat wool cycle (no greater than 40 degrees). Do not use a biological washing agent; look for a liquid designed for wool garments or even a mild solution of dishwashing liquid. You can also wash your rug in the bath by hand. Sheepskin should be dried away from direct sunlight and direct heat as this changes the texture of the wool. The best idea is to hang your sheepskin on the washing line and let it dry naturally. Rugs should be pulled back into shape while they are still damp.
Once your sheepskin is dry, gently use a wide toothed metal pronged comb or a wire dog brush to keep the fluffy texture of the pile. To make your sheepskin waterproof you will need to use a special spray which should also resist any staining.

Drew Ashton looks into the sheepskin industry, here writing on behalf of www.rugscentre.co.uk, quality suppliers of sheepskin and traditional rugs.

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/livingos/2076756610/

Speak Your Mind

*

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free