We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Drab to Fab Sheepskin

I got a package a few weeks ago from an aunt in Hawaii. There were a few island goodies for Baby Boy, but what I was most excited to see was one of her own sheepskin that she was passing on to me! Woohoo! Now I have two! The other sheepskin I have was also a gift from the same aunt who sent it when my son was born. I love love love sheepskin. The problem is, I needed to learn how to clean it without spending huge amounts on chemical cleaners. After searching and searching, I found an old trick people used long time ago to keep sheepskin fluffy and dirt free. Cornmeal! Yup, regular old cornmeal. I just happened to have a bag in the cupboard, so I got it out and decided to try the method. Apparently, back in the day, everyone who owned sheepskin knew that a little cornmeal soaks up grease (or oils from contact with human skin) and adds a little shine to the wool. Sort of a gentle cleanser and conditioner! Pretty amazing. This information is hardly common knowledge now. I pieced these steps together from what different people said about sheepskin care on different websites. Definitely worth it, though.

Here are the steps along with what I did:
-Place sheepskin on a flat surface and sprinkle enough cornmeal to cover.
I used 1 cup and massaged it in, making sure the dry cornmeal came in contact with the skin at the bottom, not just the wool.
-Let cornmeal sit anywhere from 1-5 hours (people were very vague about the time so I think this was a safe guess).
 I rolled it up so the cornmeal would stay put and placed it in a corner where little toddler hands couldn't get to it. Then I forgot to pick up a wire brush anytime I was at the store, so the cornmeal actually sat in the skin for a day or so.
-Use a wire brush to remove cornmeal and fluff up wool.
I took the skin outside and shook it until there were no more clouds of cornmeal flying around and then brought it back inside to brush out.

Another tip I found was to place an old stocking or pantyhose leg over the vacuum nozzle before vacuuming sheepskin. I did this and it took care of the last of the cornmeal and dirt, while protecting the wool fibers from tearing. This vacuum tip is also great for finding lost jewelry. The jewelry will stick to the the nylon wall without getting damaged by being sucked into the vacuum.

Here's the sheepskin before cleaning:

And after. I think it turned out pretty great! And it's so soft and fluffy again and doesn't even smell like cornmeal! Aaaahhhh... Now I need to get the other one cleaned so we can enjoy lounging on our luxurious sheepskin.

Of course, Baby Boy just had to model it. He kept waiting while I was cleaning it, asking if he was allowed to touch it yet.
He just kept saying, "Ooooh, niiiice!"  
Happy Saturday, People!

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