Drying a sheepskin rug takes time, and you need to do it the correct way to avoid the leather going really stiff.
To dry a sheepskin rug I used a clean towel to lay it on (after spinning out excess water in a washing machine), and gently pulled the leather into shape making sure it is laying flat wool side up.
This part is really essential.
It is important that the leather dries really slowly, away from direct heat like direct sunlight and hot artificial heat, or the leather could shrink or harden.
On a hot sunny day you can create a "shade sandwich" with a towel under and over the sheepskin rug so that sun does not directly contact the sheepskin rug.
Or if drying inside a dehumidifier on fan (cool air circulation - not hot) can help the drying time as well. Air circulation is important.
You CAN tumble dry your sheepskin on a LOW HEAT setting (if you use the hot setting you will ruin your sheepskin - this is critical).
The dryer lint fluff filter will quickly fill with wool dust so it is important to clean this filter out several times during the drying process.
Don't leave the dryer unattended in case it overheats. If you smell singeing wool stop the drier immediately and clean the filter.
I recommend a mixture of allowing the skin to dry naturally for about 3-5 days followed by the cool/low heat setting on the dryer to finish off the last little bit of dampness.
Take care NOT to place the sheepskin directly on a radiator, steam pipe or in front of a fan heater. As this may damage the sheepskin rug leather or scorch the wool.
Don’t be tempted to speed up the drying process. Natural air flow can help the drying process.
But please note that the leather will NEVER be as soft as it was before washing.
No matter how careful you are the leather will be a bit stiffer until it is used. With use and movement the leather will relax again.
One pro-tip is to beat the back of the sheepskin with a wooden stick once it is dry. Peg it onto the clothes line and wack the leather side a lot.
When the sheepskin was originally made this is one of the steps that softened the leather. So let's see if it works for us.
Use a metal bristle wool carding brush (we sell the wool brush here) to brush the wool while it is still damp. Then brush again when the sheepskin rug is dry.
If it is a warm day the wool will dry very fast. Give the sheepskin wool another good brush as it dries and a final brush once completely dry.
Don't worry if some wool comes out in the wool carding brush - this is perfectly normal.
The washed sheepskin rug end result should be fluffy and knot free.