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The Fabulous Fleece Company Blog

Sending your sheepskin to a specialist cleaner

When your sheepskin desperately needs bringing back to life, you might be frightened to take drastic action. But there’s no need to be daunted or haunted if you use a sheepskin cleaning specialist. We tried the service out for ourselves to see what’s involved...

Sheepskin owners will know how quickly a fleece can embed itself as a beloved item in their household. After a while though, lots of love and usage means the sheepskin can start to lose its lustre.

Regular brushing and washing - if your fleece is small enough to fit in your machine and you follow our care guide - will often do the trick. However if you have a large skin or one that’s in a sorry state from years of use, you may need to resort to more drastic action.

That’s when sending it to a specialist leather and hide cleaner is the best plan. But if you’ve not used a service like this before, it might be a little daunting to send your precious fleece off for treatment.

Finding a sheepskin cleaning expert

To get some behind-the-scenes insight into what the process involves, we sent an item to London based family business Ace of Suedes, a specialist leather and hide cleaners. To really set them a challenge, we picked one of Lucy’s well-worn quad sheepskins embedded in dog hair that had seen heavy use when travelling to numerous country fairs in her van.

We thought it would be in safe hands though, as Ace of Suedes cleans hundreds of sheepskins every week. Its specialist machines, equipment and processes are uniquely tailored to help clean, re-oil, brush and finish all types of sheepskin, suede, leather, furs and hides.

The company also has many years' experience - it was first set up over 30 years ago by the Zekayi family, and has since become the first choice supplier of specialist cleaning services to dry cleaners throughout London, the south east and beyond.

The cleaning process in more detail

So when your sheepskin first arrives, it is booked in, inspected and photographed to assess its current state. Ace of Suedes’ experience makes them able to advise customers quite accurately on the likely results and outcome of our treatment, which helps to manage expectations.

Happily most sheepskin rugs can be successfully cleaned and so they embark on a two-step process that includes being infused in genuine leather oil. This is different from a standard dry cleaning method, where the chemicals and temperatures used would damage the skin in most cases, making it very dry and discoloured.

Ace is equipped with big machines too, so can cope with sheepskins like our quad - plus much bigger and heavier ones.

In most cases, the cleaning process will remove most unwanted odours such as those from pets, but if smells remain, an ozone chamber is used to tackle them and neutralise germs and bacteria. Ozone is also especially useful for water, mould or smoke damaged items.

After cleaning, the skin is tumbled for a considerable amount of time before being thoroughly brushed to try and regain its original texture and appearance.

If you’re thinking of sending in an animal hide for cleaning, and wondering about that process, the cleaning part is largely the same but the finishing varies depending on the type of item / skin.

Before and after - the big reveal

To see the final results of the skin we sent and there’s nothing like a good before and after photo comparison to show the transformation. So here’s the big reveal…

Although these images were taken by different cameras in different light conditions (the before pic was taken at Ace and the after pics were taken by Lucy when returned) you can clearly see the massive improvement in the appearance of the skin to the right. So it's safe to say we were very happy with the final results.

Here’s a detail of the cleaned fleece’s texture with full fluffiness restored...

Based on our experience, we’d highly recommend getting your Fabulous Fleece or animal hide cleaned by Ace of Suedes. They offer a free weekly collection and delivery service throughout London and the surrounding counties. If you live further afield in the UK, you can still access Ace’s services by posting your item to them.

For more details visit https://aceofsuedes.co.uk, call 0208 981 3232 or email info@aceofsuedes.co.uk

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