A cowhide rug can be a great addition to any home décor, but just like any of the other material in your home, they do require a certain level of care and maintenance. Whether you are using a cowhide rug to give your room southwestern flair or just to provide warmth and style to your favorite sitting room, you will eventually need to care for this rug. While many people avoid buying a cowhide rug because they are concerned about how difficult they are to care for, the truth is that these rugs are relatively easy to maintain. Here’s what you need to know:
Cleaning Your Cowhide Rug
Just like the cow that your rug came from originally, cowhides are naturally resistant to stain and are very durable. It is important to note, however, that because they are technically leather, any excess water might be dangerous and could harm the backing of your rug, making it stretch out of its normal shape. For everyday cleaning, a vacuum is usually the best tool. Your rug is going to pick up dirt and dust as you walk across it. A quick once over with a vacuum can help to remove the dirt that is deposited there.
If you do not want to use a vacuum on your hide, a good alternative is to pick up the rug, take it outside, and shake it vigorously. This should loosen and get rid any debris that has clung to the rug. Many owners of cowhide rugs are concerned that their rugs are starting to develop smells. If this is the case with your rug, you might want to use a powder that contains deodorizers. If you sprinkle this onto your rug, let it sit for the prescribed time on the canister, and then use a vacuum to suck it up, you’ll see those smells evaporate.
Sometimes your rug will need more advanced cleaning, beyond simply removing everyday dirt and dust. If there is a spill on your rug that could potentially stain it, it is important to act quickly. Even though these rugs are resistant to staining, if you just let the liquid sit on the rug, it will become more and more difficult to fix over time. For small stains, the best course of action is to use a little water.
Start by blotting up any excess liquid with a cloth or paper towel. Do not rub the stain, as this will only grind the stain into the material and make it more difficult to get rid of. As you soak up the liquid, you will probably see the majority of the stain removed. If not, get a damp rag and carefully rub it over the site of the stain. You might want to use a little bit of mild soap, if you still are not seeing the stain come up. A good alternative to soap is to use organic shampoo, since you are actually trying to cleanse hair. Using a little bit of vinegar after the stain has been removed can prevent any stains from materializing once the rug is dry again. This is a particularly good tip if the stain is a pet stain.
For a food stain, the process is largely the same. Start by scraping up any of the excess debris from the rug. Try to minimize spreading the stain as much as possible, while removing all of the solid particles from the fibers of your rug. It is important that you scrape with the grain of the hair, as scraping against it could damage the hairs. Then, use the same method as you would use for getting rid of liquid stains, using a gentle soap or shampoo, followed by a clean, damp rug to get rid of any leftover residue.
Grease stains may seem like the most difficult to get out, and they might be the cause of you tracking something across the rug or dropping food. The most important thing to do is to not grind the grease stain into the rug, as this will only make it more difficult to get rid of. As soon as you notice the stain, apply a damp, soapy cloth to the area. Use a soap that is specifically designed to break down grease. Give it a light rub, and then follow it up with a clean, damp rag. If the stain persists, you might try using something like eucalyptus oil to help lift the grease stain away, rinsing the rug again when you are done. If you are still dealing with a stain at the end of all of this, you might want to hire a professional carpet cleaning service that has experience dealing with cowhide rugs.
Storing Your Rug
If you occasionally need to store your rug, you do not simply want to fold it up and shove it in a closet. Instead, you should roll it, avoiding creasing the rug as best you can. Then, place it somewhere cool and dry, where it will not be affected by sunlight. If you can put it in a box, this is the best way to store your rug. Unless you are moving and need to take your rug outside of the house and then are going to roll it back out again, do not store it in plastic. A plastic bag can protect it from the weather and from the dangers of moving, but it could also damage your rug.