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Best Medical Sheepskin Products

Are you or a loved one concerned about pressure ulcers, skin damage, or prolonged periods resting in the same position? If so, medical sheepskin products are a natural and affordable solution to prevent pressure sores and enhance user comfort. The natural properties of wool fibres provide superior temperature regulation and pressure redistribution compared to synthetic...

Created by Michelle Carey
Last Updated July 14, 2023
Best Medical Sheepskin Products

Are you or a loved one concerned about pressure ulcers, skin damage, or prolonged periods resting in the same position? If so, medical sheepskin products are a natural and affordable solution to prevent pressure sores and enhance user comfort. The natural properties of wool fibres provide superior temperature regulation and pressure redistribution compared to synthetic health care products.

This article explores the numerous benefits of medical sheepskin and provides product recommendations by the expert team at Patient Handling.

What is medical sheepskin?

Medical grade sheepskin is a safe and natural product used in homes or care settings to prevent pressure sore injuries. To ensure premium quality, urea resistance, and washability, the CSIRO developed a new tanning method that was incorporated into Australian Standard for Textiles for Healthcare Facilities and Institutions AS4480.1.

Australian medical sheepskin treated under AS4480.1 can be repeatedly washed up to 80°C. In contrast, uncertified standard sheepskin cannot withstand the higher washing temperatures required for microbial decontamination.

Benefits of medical sheepskin products

Medical sheepskins are a proven method for preventing pressure sores due to their natural properties and features, as explored below.

Pressure redistribution

For those confined to a bed or wheelchair for any prolonged period, the soft wool fibres of Australian medical sheepskin can prevent pressure sores from forming. Painful bedsores most commonly form around bony protuberances, such as heels and elbows.

The 30mm pile combined with high-density, naturally crimped fibres of medical grade sheepskin prevent pressure sores by creating a conforming cushion for a person’s body.

Further, Patient Handling proudly stocks the extra soft and supportive XD 1900 medical sheepskin range by Shear Comfort. By weaving wool fibres onto a fabric backing, these products are more effective at redistributing pressure due to the higher fibre density of 1900gsm, compared to natural medical sheepskins with 1000-1200gsm.

Water vapour dissipation

An accumulation of moisture near the skin’s surface can cause skin maceration and discomfort. Wool is naturally hydrophilic, meaning it dissipates moisture away from the skin and protects against maceration. Medical sheepskin can absorb nearly one-third of its weight in water vapour before feeling damp.

Temperature regulation

In addition to preventing maceration, wool’s ability to dispel water vapours away from the skin helps the body cool down through sweating. The wool fibres in medical sheepskin also insulate against the cold.

Changes in body temperature can impact metabolic responses, such as energy expenditure and muscle mass development. Therefore, medical sheepskin can help users with mobility issues to thermoregulate and improve or maintain regular metabolic activity.

Due to their temperature-regulating properties, medical grade sheepskins are ideal for any season.

Shear and friction reduction

Friction and shear from synthetic bed covers and wheelchair protectors can cause long-term tissue damage or other injuries. However, the smooth outer cuticle layer of wool fibres enables users to rest and move across medical sheepskin with minimal resistance.

Medical grade sheepskin is an affordable solution to maximise user comfort while minimising the risk of pressure sores.

What is the difference between regular and medical sheepskins?

The two primary differences between standard and medical grade sheepskin centre on washability and density. AS4480.1 regulates medical sheepskins to ensure they can withstand frequent washing at higher temperatures for microbial decontamination. In contrast, the tanning methods used for regular sheepskin prevent the products from being washed at higher temperatures.

Medical sheepskins are also resistant to urea (as found in sweat and urine) that otherwise damages the leather. The high density of wool fibres in medical sheepskin ranges from 1000-1200gsm or 1900gsm for the Shear Comfort XD1900 range. Conversely, there is more fibre density and quality variability for unregulated, standard sheepskins.

Quality of medical sheepskins over other material

Medical sheepskin is more comfortable and durable than mattress overlays, boots, and other protectors made from synthetic materials. Although easy to clean, polyester and other synthetic alternatives have significant disadvantages compared to wool, such as:

  • Polyester fibres are easily compressed and have marginal pressure redistribution benefits.
  • Synthetic fibres cannot absorb or wick away as much moisture as wool, reducing temperature regulation.
  • The lower densities of artificial fibres minimally reduce shear and friction.

What should you know about medical sheepskins?

A recent study by Gefen (2011) found that the risk of skin breakdown and superficial pressure ulcers amplified with the following:

  • Increased skin and ambient temperature
  • Increased relative humidity
  • Contact pressures from skin/ clothing support
  • Decreased permeability of materials in contact with the skin

Medical sheepskins address the above risk factors through their absorbent, thermoregulating, body-conforming comfort. In addition to the benefits for individuals confined to a bed or wheelchair for any period, research shows the clinical benefits of medical sheepskins for those with Diabetes, as discussed below.

Clinical benefits of medical sheepskin for Diabetics

Diabetes can cause reduced blood flow and nerve damage, leading to an enhanced risk of foot injuries such as ulcers and infections. These injuries drastically increase the risk of lower-extremity amputations. Estimates suggest that worldwide, a limb is lost due to diabetes every 30 seconds.

As a result, medical sheepskin footwear plays a crucial role in preventing foot injuries for those with diabetes. The Shear Comfort Wrap Around Boot or  Shear Comfort Sovereign Snugs are some of the many stylish yet functional medical sheepskin boots stocked by Patient Handling. Our full range of medical grade sheepskin boots protects against injury in many ways, including:

  • The covered seams and high-density wool externally protect the feet
  • Pressure is redistributed to prevent internal damage
  • The shear and friction-reducing properties of wool fibres prevent skin damage
  • Temperature regulation helps keep feet warm and improves blood circulation
  • The wool absorbs moisture to wick away sweat and avoids skin maceration.

How to wash your medical sheepskin products

AS4480.1 ensures that Australian medical sheepskin products can be washed repeatedly. However, standard enzymatic detergents, such as those used for washing clothes, can damage and harden the leather backing.

Instead, cleaning your medical sheepskins with a specifically formulated wool wash is best. We recommend Shear Comfort Shampoo and Conditioner to clean, disinfect, soften and improve the quality of your medical sheepskin and leather. Further, you never need to worry about dust mites or bacteria, as the Shear Comfort medical sheepskin wash contains tea tree oil as a natural antibacterial agent.

Shear Comfort medical sheepskin products, as stocked by Patient Handling, are created with superior XD 1900gsm wool woven onto a non-leather backing. This unique design enhances fibre density and pressure redistribution while optimising temperature regulation. Although these products do not have leather backings, Shear Comfort recommends washing with their specialised wool wash for the best results.

Best medical sheepskin products

Wondering where to buy medical sheepskin products? Look no further than Patient Handling’s extensive range of premium quality medical sheepskin in Australia.

Shear Comfort Standard Overlay

The Shear Comfort Standard Overlay features XD 1900gsm thickness, making it an ideal medical sheepskin for recliner chairs, sofas, car seats, or partial cover on a bed. This comfortable overlay is machine washable using standard detergent and can be tumble dried according to instructions.

Key features:

  • Machine washable using a standard detergent
  • Urine resistant
  • Guaranteed to withstand 50 washes at up to 80°C
  • Available in two colours: blue or white

Shear Comfort Double and Queen Bed Overlay

Key features:

  • Full body coverage and support
  • XD 1900gsm provides superior pressure redistribution
  • Available in double and queen sizes
  • Guaranteed to withstand 50 washes at up to 80°C

This fabric-backed medical sheepskin is easily cleaned in a washing machine with household detergent and can be dry-cleaned according to instructions. Available in stylish white to seamlessly blend with any décor, the Shear Comfort Double and Queen Bed Overlay provides head-to-toe comfort and fully covers a double or queen mattress.

Patient Handling also stocks this medical sheepskin overlay by Shear Comfort in a Single and King Single Bed size.

Shear Comfort Day Chair Overlay

Key features:

  • Machine washable with household detergent
  • Guaranteed to withstand 50 washes at up to 80°C
  • XD 1900gsm thickness for excellent pressure redistribution

The perfect medical sheepskin for recliner chairs or the sofa, the Shear Comfort Day Chair Overlay reduces shear and friction while wicking away moisture. Available in white with straps or blue with or without straps.

Shear Comfort Arm Support Protectors

Key features:

  • Adjustable Velcro straps for a secure fit
  • Machine washable with household detergent
  • Guaranteed to withstand 50 washes at up to 80°C
  • XD 1900gsm thickness for comfortable padding
  • Sold as a pair

The Shear Comfort Arm Support Protectors securely fasten to the armrests of standard chairs or wheelchairs with adjustable Velcro straps. This medical sheepskin arm support prevents skin damage and pressure sores by providing users with comfortable backing to rest their arms or shift body weight.

To also protect calves from pressure sores, consider medical sheepskin calf protectors. Offering the same support and temperature regulation benefits, the Shear Comfort Calf Protector easily attaches to calf plates using adjustable elasticated straps.


Shear Comfort Sheepskin Short Slipper Boot

Key features:

  • Full foot and ankle protection
  • Velcro strap and tongue flap
  • Soft suede sole for maximum comfort
  • Machine washable with household detergent
  • Guaranteed to withstand 50 washes at up to 80°C

The Shear Comfort Short Slipper Boot is ideal for indoor use and can be worn in bed to provide comfort and full foot and ankle protection. Suitable all year round, the XD 1900gsm wool in this medical sheepskin boot regulates body temperature and reduces shear and friction.

Consider a medical sheepskin boot with a low profile rubber sole for indoor and outdoor use, such as the Shear Comfort Wrap Around Boot.

Alternatively, the open toe, hard sole Shear Comfort Sheepskin Pressure Care Boot is recommended for self-transferring and can be worn outdoors.

Shear Comfort Tall Slipper Boot

Key features:

  • Open toe design for easy inspection
  • Compatible with bandages
  • Soft suede soles ideal for indoor use
  • Machine washable with household detergent
  • Guaranteed to withstand 50 washes at up to 80°C

The generous Velcro straps of the Shear Comfort Tall Slipper boot accommodate most legs and feet, regardless of swelling, bandages, or compression hosiery. The tall design of this XD 1900gsm medical sheepskin boot protects the feet and legs from pressure sores, skin damage, and vascular problems. The open toe design enables circulation and easy inspection.


If you or your loved one want more comfort or support for your wheelchair or armchair, or you need friction and shear reduction to more easily count sheep before sleep, a medical grade sheepskin is a perfect investment.

Please read our guide on medical sheepskin benefits for further information. Or, contact the helpful team of experts at Patient Handling for tailored advice on purchasing the best Australian medical sheepskin for your needs.

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