While a few hundred years ago everything we wore and decorated with came from natural sources, either from plants and trees or animals, today many of us are conflicted about using real animal hide. First, there is the moral quandary of killing an animal for its hide and then there is the strangeness of having the skin of a once-breathing creature in your home or adorning your body. With so many synthetic materials available today, it seems like there is no reason to use natural animal hide any more.
There is something to be said though about using materials from nature, especially cowhide for cowhide rugs. It is hypoallergenic and won’t irritate the skin and lungs of anybody who has allergies like synthetic fibers can.
It is also very sturdy and not easily stained. And it holds up better against dust and pollen than synthetic fibers. It is also very versatile coming in many different colors including black, brown, white, brindle and speckled. And because no cow has the exact same pattern on their hide, you are guaranteed to have a very unique rug. Cowhide rugs can work in any styled room so don’t think you have to have a western aesthetic to appreciate the power of a beautiful cowhide rug.
If you still can’t get past how the rugs are made though, here are a few things you didn’t know about cowhide rugs that will set your heart at ease. First of all, cows are not killed to make cowhide rugs. The cowhide rug industry buys the skins from meat processing plants instead. This way they are just recycling material the plants consider waste. And there is also no reason to worry over the feel and smell of the rug either. Do cowhide rugs smell? Not any differently than any other leather product.
The hair on the cowhide rug is soft and supple and you will enjoy sinking your feet into it. It will feel luxurious but not sinful. And while there may be a finished leather smell to the rug that comes from it being properly cleaned and treated like happens in all real leather products that will fade over time.
Have you ever heard of the new leather smell in a car? It is the same sort of thing. If the smell is a little overpowering to you, simply hang it outside for a while or keep your windows open and your cowhide will just have a nice fresh scent. If that doesn’t work then try a carpet deodorizer. The most important thing is to not try to wash your cowhide rug.
Another issue that sometimes comes up with a natural cowhide rug is that the corners may curl over time. It happens to all cowhide rugs because the corners are thinner than the rest of the rug. To avoid this from happening, keep your rug away from heat and direct sunlight. If your rug is already curling, then try spraying some water on the back of the rug and massage the rug. You can also try to hold the edges down for a few days with some books.