The first step is to get the loose dirt off the rug. Hang the rug on a clothesline and brush it well. Shake intermittently during the brushing to get off the dust deposit in the fibres. Vacuuming the rug can also get rid of the fine dust particles.
Sheepskin rugs should be both hand washed and machine washed.
For hand washing, fill a tub with mild warm water and add to it a cup of baby shampoo or a non-enzyme detergent. Any detergent that you use should be free of bleach as that can harm the fibres. Let the rug soak in it for twenty minutes. During this time, try to remove visible stains on the rug by paying individual attention to each. The pre-soak period helps get rid of the stubborn stains on the rug.
Shift the rug to the washing machine and run on a medium low setting with luke- warm water. To bring out the softness in the rug, add a conditioner to the final spin of the machine. Give the machine an extra rinse cycle to make sure that the rug is clear of all shampoo and conditioner remains.
Take the rug out of the washing machine. It can be both hand dried and flat dried. Hang it on a clothesline on a dry windy day. Hanging outside in the air has the benefit of removing all odour from the rug. If the weather outside is not feasible, hang it inside in front of a pedestal fan. While it is drying, massage it with fingers to keep it soft and flexible.