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How to Best Care for the Sheepskin Pads on your Chairs?

Want to add style to your existing furniture items? Sheepskin is a luxurious material and wonderfully soft addition to any quality furniture set. Whether your after that simplistic mid-century modern look, or are just looking to add a more natural feel to the home, a simple chair pad can add style and comfort. Breathe life back into an old dining table and chairs set with some new chair covers, or add a chair pad to the stools at your breakfast bar! Adding texture to wooden furniture can highlight the design of the chairs and the features of the grain. Yes, it can be that easy to add comfort and style to your living space!

Sheepskin is a high quality material which, unlike polyester, can last a lifetime with the right care. Accidents can happen, especially when it comes to the dining table. Luckily cleaning and caring for your new sheepskin product is easy! Whether your living space features a comfortable chair cover, chair pads, or a beautiful rug, there are many easy ways to add life and protect the quality of your new favourite items.

seat pad on chair

Above: Round Seat Cover (Mt Gold) 

How do you clean a spill on a sheepskin chair pad?


Rubbing the affected area will only encourage the dirt to embed in the fibres of your product and add the the problem, making it harder to clean in the long run. Instead dab at the affected area with up and down motions, not a stroke (width ways) side to side motion.

When it comes to sheepskin, a good, swift spot clean will set you right nine times out of ten. Sponge spills off with a damp cloth, or for spills of a larger size, run the affected area under tepid water for a minute or two, then press the water out with a dry towel or paper towel. If you can clean your items immediately it will help enormously to preserve and protect your favourite seat cushions.

Can I put sheepskin in the washing machine?

Yes the wool likes it, however the leather does not love it. Suede backed sheepskin chair cushions should only be dry cleaned, as the backing won't respond well to being machine washed. A leather pelt backed sheepskin chair pad can be machine washed, but only as a last attempt as the backing may take a different shape than before.

  • If you are machine washing, Wash in warm water (40°C or 104°F).
  • Wash on a gentle cycle.
  • Use a mild liquid detergent that is suitable for hand washing dishes.
  • Wash alone, don't be tempted to add other wool products. The dyes may run and affect the colours of your sheepskin
  • Remove polyester or wool fill before washing, and wash separately


The leather pelt will be made hard in the washing machine, but you can add softness again by employing techniques similar to the original tannery processes.

More details on washing sheepskin items can be found here. Or call us!

How do you care for and soften sheepskin leather backing after washing?


Above: Short Wool Shaggy Bag (Glen Dene)

If the leather pelt backing has hardened in the washing process you can simply use a stick to get it nice and supple again! In the original tanning process this is how the leather is made and achieves that soft-to-the-touch feel. Simply turn your cushion or seat cover inside out and hang the leather backing facing you on a clean fence or table. Beat it all over with a clean wooden stick. This process will make the leather soft and add the overall soft and comfortable feel the cushions had when they were new. This may feel like a strange way to care for your chic items, but one of the details of leather is that is it strong and designed to withstand this! Not only will beating your leather with a stick give you some good exercise, it'll also restore your cushion to its former glory.

rug and leather back

 Above: Designer Floor Rug, 2.0x3.0m Extra Long Wool 60-80mm (Mt Gold)

How do you dry sheepskin?

Natural fibres love natural air drying techniques! Hang your chair pad outside on a windy day! Lay the pads on something clean in the shade, Ideally on a stable foldable airing rack that can take the weight so that air is getting to the pad from all angles. Failing this you may need to flip your seat pad over after the original side dries to get all sides dry.

Can you tumble dry sheepskin?


Above: Sheepskin Cushion, Extra Long Wool 60-80mm (Matuki)

Yes and no! Your favourite fluffy cushion will be damaged by the heat of a regular dryer cycle. The padding in the seat pads will most likely respond well, particularly if the fill is made from polyester. Unlike polyester, the natural fibres of sheepskin do not respond well to heat, and will be damaged. The only exception to this rule is if your dryer has a 'gentle' and 'cool' cycle, however, the risk may outweigh the reward of doing things the natural way. If you have the time, air drying is the best option.

Does sheepskin take long to air dry?

Much like the natural world your product originated from, the environment plays a huge factor. If you live in a hot climate (California in the United States for example) your chair pad may dry out very quickly, if you're elsewhere in the world with cooler climates you can expect things to take longer. The height of your cushion and depth will also affect how long it take to dry, as well as the material that has been used to fill your cushion. If Polyester features as the fill it will be quicker drying than a wool fill. In conclusion yes a full wash, as opposed to a spot clean, can take up to a few days to dry fully- but don't be discouraged by this! The perfect end result is worth the wait!

How much does it cost to get sheepskin chair pads and covers professionally cleaned?

In New Zealand, depending on the size of your chair pad or cover, you can expect the price to be somewhere between $20 and $40 NZD per seat cover for a full dry clean service. You may also have to add more for shipping if you live out of the main centres and your local dry cleaners does not offer a sheepskin cleaning service. When shipping the pile height can affect the cost of your order, as well as the weight and size. Shipping the pads without their padding can bring down the price of this by removing weight and minimising the pile height.

If you're in the United States the average cost to get your chair pad or cover dry cleaned will vary, but you can expect the price to be somewhere between $4 and $7 USD per square foot (if the padding from your chair pad is removable). If the padding is non-removable, or the design of the product is a complicated shape, you can also expect this to add to your overall order cost.

Top tip: Read the customer review section on the dry cleaners website to see if a previous customer has used them for their sheepskin product. A review will often give you an overall picture of the company, if they offer good customer service, and most importantly if they have experience with sheepskin material.

How do you condition and treat sheepskin?

If you're familiar with sheepskin product you may already be aware of a naturally occurring oil called lanolin. This magic oil offers moisturising qualities and makes the wool fibres soft adding comfort, so there is no need to apply anything extra. You can also take comfort in knowing that Lanolin is non-toxic. The conditioner is made by nature, no need to pay a high price to use harsh chemicals on natural material! Nature, yet again, offers the perfect solution!

How do you bring sheepskin back to life?

close up of fibres

Occasionally a sheepskin chair pad that gets a lot of love can 'flatten' and the wool fibres can lose their height. Your first port of call is to give your cushions a good shake. Toss them around the room! Enlist the help of your kids! Add in a game of hot potato! They may just be looking a bit lifeless because they've seen a lot of use. Shake 'em out and you will often find the fibres bounce back to their happy, fluffy selves.

If the fibres need more encouragement try vacuuming your chair pad. There's no need to whip the vacuum out excessively, once a week is all that's required to keep your seat pads in great shape. `

Long wool may respond well to being brushed. Stroke width ways with a wire wool comb while they are wet, then allow them to dry naturally. This will help restore the natural “loft” of the fibres and add comfort and style again.

How do you whiten a sheepskin rug?

Often if a sheepskin product is yellowed it may never go back to bright white. This damage can be from age, or more commonly UV damage. The cellulose in the wool is oxidised by aging or sunlight which causes that dreaded yellowed colour. By keeping your sheepskin pads for chairs out of the sun, shaking them out regularly, vacuuming them weekly, and making use of spot cleaning when required you should be able to avoid your cushions yellowing in the first place.

However, things don't always go exactly to plan in life! Should the situation occur you have two really good options. You can have the seat pad professionally cleaned with a wool whitening solution made to protect the fibres and whiten your cushions. This service can be provided at most dry cleaners.

Resist the temptation to run straight for the bleach in your laundry room! Chlorine based bleaches will not only ruin the quality of your wool, they will also yellow the wool further! If you are strapped for cash and would rather try to whiten your sheepskin chair pad from home your best option would be to use a part water part hydrogen peroxide solution. This will damage the fibres of your wool, much like it does to hair. Results vary drastically depending on how long you soak the cushion, how diluted your solution is, and the quality of the cushion itself. Overall, bleach is not a great option. It will add to the damage of your cushions and make the fibres less soft.

white skin

 Above: Sheepskin Quarto Rug (Cardrona)

Can I dye a yellowing sheepskin?

Dying your chair pads a darker colour is an option worth considering. Look around your home and dining space, and consider if going a darker colour than white would match the interior design of your home. That mid-century modern look can still be achieved as sheepskins look great in natural beiges, simple browns and warm greys. Utilising a change in colour can keep your sheepskin product comfortable and as perfect as the day you bought it!


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