how to clean a cowhide rug

Steps on How to Clean a Cowhide Rug at Home

A cowhide rug is not everyone’s choice of décor. However, it is definitely a worthy investment for certain spaces. Besides adding accent and style, it adds warmth to cold floors and functionality to furniture and upholstery décor.

All the same, cleaning can be involving, and it also requires a certain degree of skill.

Cowhide rugs that are made of real leather can easily get damaged by water. Prolonged exposure to moisture causes irreversible hardening, leading to curling edges.

Water retention can also lead to the formation of molds, which are hard to remove. Further, if your real cowhide rug is stained and the stains are left to dry, they can be difficult to clean.

Fake cowhide rugs are easier to clean, but they also have their share of challenges. For example, some of them can shed excess dye if saturated with water, or after air-drying in the sun.

How to clean a Cowhide Rug

Whether your cowhide rug is real or fake, there are unwritten rules to follow when cleaning it. They help with general maintenance and improve the longevity of your rug.

Step 1: Shake off the Dirt

Depending on the place you spread your rug, it collects dust and debris. The first cleaning step is to take the rug outside and shake off the mess. Although all of it will not come out, a lot will.

The good thing about shaking is that it does not ruin your rug. As such, you can do it as regularly as weekly. 

Hung the rug on a clothesline or rails and beat the inner side with your hand or an object such a broomstick so that the hairs can release hidden dirt and debris.

Step 2: Vacuuming

A common question among cowhide rug owners is whether you can vacuum the rug. Of course you can. But the right question is, should you vacuum your cowhide rug?

You should vacuum it but the procedure is not as straightforward as vacuuming the other rugs in your home. You have to be extra careful to avoid ruining this special investment.

Firstly, adjust your vacuum to the lowest suction setting. An extremely powerful vacuum that is not adjustable may not be an appropriate choice for this task

Secondly, use an appropriate hose attachment and ensure that the beater brush is not rotating. Have in mind a cowhide rug show be handled with extra care and gentleness.

Work from the center of the rug and vacuum in the direction of the hairs. This will help pull out the dirt while maintaining the quality of your rug.

Move in different directions from the center until you vacuum the entire rug.

Step 3: Brushing

Brushing can serve as an alternative to vacuuming or it can be done after vacuuming. Use a brush with stiff bristles and pass to through the cowhide hairs and in the direction of the grains.

It should remove all the food particles, pet hairs and other debris from underneath the hairs.

Step 4: Treating Stains

Like other rugs and surfaces in your house, a cowhide rug can be exposed to stains from liquid and solid spills. Do not freak out if this happens. You can restore the good condition of your rug by treating the stains. However, it is advisable that you do so immediately for best results.

For immediate stains, use a paper towel or soft cloth to blot out excess.

Follow up by cleaning the spot with a microfiber cloth that is dipped in a solution of water and mild shampoo or soap. When choosing the soap or shampoo product, ensure that it is appropriate for cowhides. Ordinary soaps can have a drying effect on your rug especially if it is made of real leather.

Wring the cloth in clean water and use it to rinse off excess soap from the rug. Lastly, use a clean cloth or towel to absorb as much moisture as possible from the spot.

For old stains that have dried on the spot, begin by scrapping off excess spillage with a blunt knife or spoon. You can also clear the spill with a brush.

Dip a microfiber cloth in a solution of water and a leather friendly shampoo, and wring it. Rub the stain repeatedly until it fades away. Alternatively, you can use a solution of water and vinegar mixed in equal portions in the same way.

Rinse with a cloth dipped in clean water after the stain fades away and dry excess moisture with a towel or dry cloth.

If both of these measures fail, try to use rubbing alcohol. And if the stain is greasy, a few drops of eucalyptus oil might come in handy.

Step 5: Steam Cleaning

If your rug is still dirty after all of the above steps, the next step is to steam clean it. This should be done every once in a long time to deal with grime that has accumulates over time.

While steam cleaning, ensure that you do not soak your rug with excess water.

Step 6: Hang to Dry

After steaming your rug, do not let it sit in a place where it will hold the moisture for a long time. Instead, hang it on a rack to air dry.

Do not let it dry in the sun. They rays will affect the dyes on the hairs and the overall quality of the rug. However, you can place the rack outside under a shade for quick drying.

How to Remove Smell from a Cowhide Rug

Now your cowhide rug is all clean but bad smell is still lurking from who knows which section of it. This happens because you probably have pets in the house.

Pets and especially cats and older dogs produce urine with smell that can linger for a very long time. Further, pets especially male ones can choose a specific spot (and that could be your cowhide rag) for marking.

To eliminate the bad smell, you need to wet the rug a little bit and use a powerful order absorbing agent. In this case, I recommend baking soda.

Firstly, spray the rug with a solution of water and vinegar mixed in the ratio of 1:1. Be careful not to soak the rug with the solution. That can be counterproductive because cowhide skin does not handle moisture well.

Then generously spread baking soda all over the rug and let it sit for several hours. You can even leave it overnight.

Take your rug outside and shake off the baking soda. Use a bristle brush to remove excess powder sticking to the rug.

If the smell is still there, the only remaining option is to invest in an enzymatic odor eater. Such a product eliminates pet odor pee because it is specific for the purpose.

How to Maintain and care for a Cowhide Rug

A cowhide rug is a precious piece of décor that can also last for a long time. However, it requires high maintenance because cleaning it regularly can cause permanent damage. As such, we recommend a few simple things you can do to keep your rug clean most of the time.

Place it in a low traffic area: Cowhide leather is not appropriate for places with people always coming in and going out. You also don’t want it in an area prone to food and liquid spillages. It will always be unnecessarily dirty and you might be forced to toss it into the bin after it has hardened irreversibly from regular washing.

Keep it away from moisture: Moist areas and rooms with high humidity create the right conditions for mold growth. Avoid having your rug in such places. It will grow molds and they are very difficult to remove.

Keep your cowhide rug from within the reach of pets: Felines and dogs are interesting buddies to have around. However, they can also mess around with your nice stuff. A pet with stray peeing behaviors might turn your rug into a favorite spot for the job. This will create a cleaning problem that is quite difficult to address.

Shake cowhide rugs regularly: It is good to shake your rugs regularly to remove dust and debris. This cuts down the need vacuuming and brushing sometimes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you wash a cowhide rug?

Yes! You can wash a cowhide rug but do not soak or dip it in water. The best way is to treat stains first then steam clean the entire rug. 

How do you clean urine from a cowhide rug?

Prepare a home cleaning solution with water and vinegar and spray it sparingly on your rug. Finish up by spreading baking soda generously on the affected areas and let it sit for several hours before shaking and brushing it off. If this technique fails use an enzymatic pet urine odor eliminator.

Can cowhide rugs be vacuumed?

Cowhide rugs can be vacuumed but it is important to be careful when doing it. For starters, you have to set your vacuum to the lowest suction setting. Secondly, use an attachment and ensure that the brushes are not rolling.

Can a cowhide rug get wet?

A cowhide rug can get wet but you should not make it soaking wet. Water can ruin it by hardening it irreversibly after drying.

How do you dry cowhides?

Dry cowhides by spreading them on a rack or chair. You can also spread them on a flat surface.

Can you hose down a cowhide rug?

You cannot hose down a cowhide rug because you will oversaturate it with water. Use water sparingly on such leather to avoid ruining it.

Can you put a cowhide rug in the washer?

You cannot put a cowhide rug in the washer. The washer brings anything that is placed inside into contact with a lot of moisture. This is bad for your rug.

How long to cowhide rugs last?

Unless your cowhide rug is fake, it should last for many years. Leather is very durable. Further, you can improve the lifespan of your through proper care and maintenance.

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