Owning a shearling coat, blanket, or bag can be a little tortured—it might look great for awhile, but you can't just toss it in the washing machine. Since it has a suede surface on one side and a clipped fur surface on the other, it often leaves people confused about how to clean a spill or stain. Here, Becky Rapinchuk, a cleaning expert and the brains behind Clean Mama, breaks it down.
Cleaning Faux Shearling
A lot of blankets and clothing are faux shearling these days—not only are they less expensive, but they're also easier to clean. "I wash faux shearling in my washing machine on the gentle cycle in cold water with my Laundry Super Powder, a combination of sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate, and enzymes. It's gentle and all natural, but still works really well," says Rapinchuk. "I wash it alone or with other faux shearling. If you can turn the item, like a coat inside out, even better." To dry, she places the pieces in the dryer, adds wool dryer balls, then fluffs on no or low heat for 15 to 30 minutes before letting it air dry the rest of the way.
Cleaning Real Shearling
When you're cleaning real shearling, less is more. Rapinchuk recommends spot cleaning as much as possible. "I hand wash or spot clean with a gentle detergent or castile soap," she explains. "Spot treating versus submersion is the best method for real shearling. Once you've cleaned the stain, roll the shearling in a large bath towel to absorb any liquid, and then let it air dry."
Keep Shearling Cleaner Longer
The best way to avoid having to deep clean your shearling? Take preventative measures. After you wear a shearling piece, it helps to do a little maintenance. Rapinchuk recommends that you shake the dust and dirt off and the spot-treating to help cut down on having to figure out how to wash the entire surface. If you're dealing with pilling, she uses a battery powered sweater shaver with a protective shield to remove any pills. If you're dealing with a particularly stubborn stain or wear, take your shearling to a professional and have it cleaned—for a particularly precious or sentimental piece, it's better safe than sorry.