Cowhide rugs are a popular choice for home decoration, not only because they look good, but also because they’re highly durable and easy to maintain. Additionally, cowhides are naturally resistant to stains, making them a great choice for highly trafficked areas of the home where spills frequently occur.
This guide offers instructions for how, and how often, to perform routine cleaning of cowhide rugs, as well as what cleaning methods to avoid in order to prevent damage to the hide. It also covers how to remove stains when they occur, and how to deep-clean cowhide rugs so they will last for years.
Care Basics for a Cowhide Rug
Caring for your cowhide rug is easier than you might think – in fact, it’s one of the easiest types of rugs to take care of. You can shake it, brush it, or vacuum it to remove things like dust, dirt, dander, pollen, and hair. And when it comes to stains from spills, pet accidents, or tracked-in dirt or mud, cowhide is naturally resistant to staining. Oftentimes, all you need is water to get rid of the stain.
When cleaning your cowhide rug, avoid exposing it to too much water as this can damage the backing, causing it to stretch or become misshapen.
It’s also important to vacuum using suction only – never vacuum a cowhide rug with an attachment that has rotating or beater brushes, as this can tear the hair out of the rug’s backing and cause bald spots. If you’d rather not vacuum your cowhide rug, you can take it outdoors and shake it vigorously to dislodge any soil. Cowhide rugs can also be brushed with a broom.
Tips for Vacuuming a Cowhide Rug
Routine vacuuming is the best way to remove environmental soils, like dirt, dust, pollen, and dander, from a cowhide rug.
When vacuuming a cowhide rug, only use the suction function on the vacuum. Attachments with a rotating brush or beater bar can cause hair loss. If your vacuum doesn’t have a head without a beater brush, use a nozzle or upholstery attachment. When vacuuming a cowhide rug, move in the direction of the hair growth.
Tips for Steam Cleaning a Cowhide Rug
If your cowhide rug is in need of a deep clean, consider using a clothing and upholstery steamer. Steam cleaning not only eliminates bacteria and odors, but it can also refresh the look of a tired cowhide.
Before you begin steam cleaning, be sure to vacuum the rug to remove any debris. When using a steam cleaner, work in the direction of the hair growth. It’s important to be careful not to over-saturate the hair or the backing of the rug with moisture, as too much water can damage the backing and cause the rug to stretch or become misshapen.
How to Treat Stains on a Cowhide Rug
When it comes to treating stains on a cowhide rug, it’s best to do it as soon as possible. However, with cowhide, stain removal is actually a lot easier than with other types of flooring. That’s because cowhide has natural stain-resistant properties; many stains can simply be wiped away using a small amount of water. Just be careful not to use too much water or any other liquid cleaners, as this could damage the hide.
What You Need
- Paper towels or rags
- Butter knife or spoon
- Light-colored cloth
- Gentle clear shampoo
Step 1: Blot Liquid and Pick Up Solids
If your rug has been stained by liquid, start by blotting up as much of the liquid as possible using paper towels or rags. If there are any solids present, pick them up and dispose of them, using paper towels if necessary. If solids have dried, use the edge of a butter knife or spoon to gently scrape them from the rug’s fibers.
Step 2: Wipe the Area
Using a light-colored cloth dampened with water, wipe the area where the spill occurred, working in the direction of the hair. When cleaning cowhide, oftentimes water is all that is needed to remove residual staining from a spill.
Step 3: Apply Detergent to the Stain
If the staining persists after wiping the area with water, you can try using a small amount of clear shampoo like baby shampoo or clarifying shampoo. Apply a small amount of shampoo to a damp, light-colored cloth, and be careful not to oversaturate it with water. Work in the direction of the hair growth, and apply the shampoo to the cowhide. Wipe it off to remove the stain.Step
4: Rinse the Area
After removing the stain, rinse the cleaning cloth in fresh water. Then, wipe the cowhide in the direction of hair growth to remove any residual detergent.
How to Remove Grease Stains on a Cowhide Rug
When your cowhide becomes stained with oil or grease, an unusual technique can save the day. This method is hands-off, so you won’t have to worry about ruining your hide.
What You Need
- Paper towels (optional)
Step 1: Blot the Oil
If the stain is fresh, begin by blotting up as much of the oil as possible using paper towels. Then, use a clean cloth to apply a small amount of dish soap to the stain. Rub the dish soap into the stain using a circular motion. Rinse the area with warm water and blot it dry with a clean towel.
Step 2: Apply Cornstarch
If you have an oil or grease stain that you need to get rid of, one way to do it is by using cornstarch. Cover the stained area with a pile of cornstarch, and let it sit for several hours or even overnight. The cornstarch will absorb the grease, and you’ll be able to get rid of the stain easily.
Step 3: Vacuum Rug
Use a vacuum cleaner to remove the cornstarch. If the stain is still there, repeat the process.