How To Care For Your Sheepskin Jacket

17th October 2019

The trend-surpassing, timeless styling, sheepskin jacket isn’t just a wardrobe staple, it’s one of nature's warmest insulators, making it both fashionable and functional. But, how can you keep yours in tip top condition?

how to care for your sheepskin jacket

Caring for a sheepskin jacket is certainly more high-maintenance than a lot of other garments, but it’s still manageable, and can help a real sheepskin coat last a lifetime.

Keep reading to find out how you can provide your sheepskin with appropriate care:

  1. General care and best practices
  2. Drying
  3. Storage
  4. Cleaning
  5. Removing stains
  6. Conditioning
  7. Repairs

General care and best practices

Although a jacket’s specific needs should be detailed by the manufacturer, there are some general care rules that can be held as sheepskin jacket best practices, which are as follows:

  • Never rub or brush a sheepskin jacket when it’s wet or damp.
  • Keep it away from direct sunlight when storing it.
  • Never store it in a plastic or vinyl garment bag (or anything that isn’t breathable).
  • Avoid taking your sheepskin to a dry cleaner and instead take it to a leather and sheepskin cleaning specialist.
  • Keep it away from direct heat sources such as hair dryers and radiators.
  • Apply a reputable sheepskin protectant spray before you wear the jacket.

By following these rules carefully, you’re unlikely to run into many problems with your sheepskin jacket.

Drying

Although you can wear your sheepskin jacket in the rain and snow, it’s not advisable to allow it to get saturated with water (or any liquid, for that matter), so avoid heavy showers whenever possible.

However, if you find yourself in a situation where your coat becomes wet through, shake it thoroughly and blot with a clean and dry towel. You should then hang your jacket at room temperature to dry further, but not near a source of direct heat as this could damage it.

In a similar vein, rubbing a wet sheepskin in an attempt to dry it isn’t advised as this can push the moisture further through the jacket.

Once your jacket has completely dried, brush the nap of the suede with a suede brush. The only exception to this would be if your jacket has a Nappa finish. If this is the case, once dry, gently rub with a soft, dry towel. If the inside of your jacket has shearling wool, you can gently fluff it with a wire dog brush.

Storage

Storing a sheepskin jacket is simple and there are only a few things you have to remember:

  • Firstly, regardless of whether you’re going to be storing your jacket in a wardrobe or elsewhere, the area should be cool and dry, away from any direct sources of light as these can cause sunspots.
  • Storing your jacket on a large, padded hanger is also recommended so that it doesn’t crease.
  • In order to prevent your jacket from drying out, we advise that you always store it in a nylon garment bag. Vinyl and plastic garment bags are a no-no for sheepskins as they’re not breathable enough.

Cleaning

Even if you take great care with your sheepskin jacket, it’s still likely to get a bit grubby from time to time. When gentle cleaning is necessary, use a damp sponge and lukewarm water, along with some pure soap - powdered detergents are absolutely not appropriate to use on sheepskin.

Being as gentle as possible, sponge the soap and water solution over the sheepskin and dry as detailed above. 

Removing stains

Most stains are fairly easy to remove from sheepskin jackets, so we don’t recommend getting it dry cleaned. Dry cleaning can remove important oils from your jacket which can cause damage.

However, if you do manage to get extreme stains on your sheepskin, you do have the option to take it to a leather and sheepskin speciality cleaner as they will be more equipped to deal with the problem.

Once the corn starch has been left on for an appropriate amount of time, shake it off outside. You can then use a suede brush to brush the nap of the suede but, as mentioned above, use a dry towel if your jacket has a Nappa finish.

For smaller liquid stains, using a moist cloth on the affected area may suffice. Dirt can come off if you gently use a scouring pad on the affected area (which can also rejuvenate the material at the same time) or another technique would be to use a tweezer to pluck out the dirt on the jacket. As with most garments, try to remove any stain on your jacket as soon as possible for ease of removal.

Conditioning

Conditioning is important for all leathers and that still holds true for sheepskin, in order to prevent it from drying and cracking and keep it from damage. However, try to find a sheepskin-specific conditioner as some conditioners may not be appropriate for your jacket - most leather conditioners will detail this on the label.

As with any other type of leather jacket, you should always carry out a spot test with your conditioner before you use it on a wider area. To do this, choose a small part of an inconspicuous area on the jacket and use the conditioner as instructed. If the conditioner darkens, discolours, or marks the jacket in an unsightly way, try a different conditioner. 

Repairs

To repair minor sheepskin jacket rips and tears, it’s best to get your sewing kit out, but you’ll need a particularly sharp needle specially designed for sewing leather. Pinch the ripped sheepskin tightly and begin sewing 1.2 cm before the rip begins, as well as sewing over any existing stitches to reinforce them.

The best way to sew a sheepskin jacket is to penetrate the wool side first. Once you’ve sewn the tear, keep sewing for another 1.2 cm and then knot your thread (ideally several times) on the inside of the jacket and cut the thread. To help your seam to stay flat, add a dab of leather glue or rubber cement to the inside of the seam which will also fill in any existing needle holes.

For larger holes, the first step is to find a patch of sheepskin that matches the colour of your jacket’s leather and wool. You may be able to find a good fit at most fabric shops, or get in touch with the company you bought from, as they may have some spares. From the patch, cut a section which is marginally larger than the hole you’re trying to repair; aim to have approximately 1.5mm of fabric resting around the perimeter of the hole.

Then, trim the wool side of the patch along the edges so that you have a faint circumference of leather around the wool. As with anything you apply to your jacket, spot test the glue on the scraps of sheepskin that you trimmed off. For the best results, you can use leather glue or rubber cement on the perimeter of leather which surrounds the wool side of the patch.

Wait for the glue or rubber cement to become tacky, then place the patch over the hole and press down. You should allow the glue or rubber cement to dry according to the instructions on the label, but you should always give it at least 24 hours. 

how to care for your sheepskin jacket

Properly caring for a sheepskin jacket is simple once you get the hang of it; as long as you’re following best practices, you shouldn’t encounter many problems. To find your trophy sheepskin jacket, browse our men's and women's collections. Or, if you’re looking for other sheepskin products, take a look at our sheepskin slippers, gloves and accessories.

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