Sheepskins can be tanned in many ways; some techniques have been used for centuries. Depending on the tanning process used, a sheepskin may be washable or not. All washable sheepskins should be laundered in Woolskin- a special mix that conditions and disinfects the wool and leather of the sheepskin.
Many sheepskins available today are "Dry Clean Only"- this is an indicator of the tanning process used. Tanning processes endeavour to preserve the hide and prevent the wool from falling out during normal use.
If a sheepskin is used in a medical situation, then incontinence can be an issue. When the person uses a sheepskin for pressure sore prevention, it may be used for an extended period of time and incontinence may develop.. Only sheepskins tanned specifically for Urine Resistance (UR) are recommended for long term users. UR Medical Sheepskin hides will not break down and the wool will not fall out in the presence of urine and faeces.
All other sheepskins are unsuitable for incontinent users. Non UR sheepskins ( most of those available ) will break down in incontinence situations. The hide will harden and the wool will fall out.
UR Medical Sheepskins cost a little more but will last and give excellent service for a much longer period. If cared for properly, a UR Medical Sheepskin should last a life time.