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What Should I Consider When Buying Sheepskin Rugs?

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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 08 September 2016
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Many home decorators prefer the natural softness and durability of sheepskin rugs to their ubiquitous synthetic counterparts. Although sheepskin rugs can be dyed in a range of colors, even pinks and purples, the contrast of a white rug against a darker carpet is definitely eye-catching. The softness and thick piling of natural sheepskin rugs can rarely be duplicated with synthetic fibers.

When buying sheepskin rugs, trust the reputation of imports. Sheepskin rugs from sheep-producing countries such as Australia, New Zealand or the United Kingdom are almost always higher in overall quality than rugs produced locally. It's not the sheep that are different, necessarily, but these countries have centuries of sheep shearing traditions that newer industries often lack. In many cases, imported sheepskin rugs have been subjected to old fashioned washings in local waters and multiple dryings and combings.

The overall texture of quality sheepskin rugs should be soft and pliable. The piling should be neatly combed, with very little to no shedding. Beware of any backing material that feels rubberized or artificial.

Sheepskin rugs should be completely safe to wash in a standard washing machine with a minimal amount of non-biological detergent. They may also be dry cleaned by professionals. Line drying or low-temperature tumble drying is preferable to hanging over a radiator or other direct heat source.

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Some manufacturers of sheepskin rugs will allow customers to create personalized rugs to match their decor or room dimensions. One sheepskin rug will typically fit in front of a couch, while two or three sheepskins rugs sewn together would make a decent area rug for a large den. Even as many as ten separate sheepskin rugs can be combined to form a very large accent rug.

Sheepskin rugs can also be dyed to match a room's color scheme or form a contrast. The dyes usually run from natural off-whites such as vanilla or sand to vivid pastels to solid black. Various sections of different colors can be combined to form mosaic or checkered sheepskin rugs.

The most important consideration when buying sheepskin rugs is comfort. A good plush rug with deep piling should be inviting. If the piling should become crushed, a few strokes with a wire dog brush should bring it back to life.

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