Cowhide rugs have become a popular choice in interior design due to their unique and natural appearance. They add a touch of rustic elegance to any space, whether it’s a cozy cabin or a modern urban apartment. However, to maintain their beauty and longevity, it’s crucial to know how to properly clean and care for cowhide rugs. In this guide, we will reveal essential cleaning methods to help you keep your cowhide rug looking fresh for years to come.
Understanding Cowhide Rugs
Before diving into cleaning methods, it’s essential to understand the nature of cowhide rugs. These rugs are made from the hides of cows, which means they are natural products with specific characteristics that require special care:
- Natural Variations: Cowhide rugs come in various colors, patterns, and textures, as each cow’s hide is unique. Embrace the natural variations, as they add to the rug’s charm.
- Durability: Cowhide rugs are known for their durability, making them suitable for high-traffic areas. However, proper care is essential to maintain their longevity.
- Sensitivity to Sunlight: Cowhide rugs can fade when exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods. To prevent fading, place your rug away from direct sunlight or use window treatments.
- Shedding: Cowhide rugs may shed some hair initially, which is normal. Regular cleaning and maintenance will minimize shedding over time.
Regular vacuuming is essential to prevent dirt and debris from settling into the rug’s fibers. Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment or a handheld upholstery brush to gently remove dust and dirt.
- Here’s how to vacuum your cowhide rug:
a. Set the vacuum to a low suction setting to avoid damaging the hide.
b. Vacuum in the direction of the hair, following the natural grain of the hide. Avoid vacuuming against the grain, as this can lift the hair.
c. Be gentle when vacuuming the edges and corners to avoid pulling the hair loose.
Shaking and Beating
To remove embedded dirt and refresh the rug, take it outdoors and shake it or beat it gently. Hang the rug on a clothesline or a sturdy rail and use a rug beater or a soft bat to gently beat it. This action will dislodge dirt and dust that vacuuming alone may not remove.
Accidents happen, and spills are inevitable. When a spill occurs on your cowhide rug, it’s essential to act quickly to prevent staining. Follow these steps for spot cleaning:
a. Blot the spill with a clean, white cloth or paper towel to absorb as much liquid as possible. Avoid rubbing, as it can push the stain further into the rug.
b. Prepare a mild cleaning solution by mixing a few drops of mild liquid detergent with warm water. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as they can damage the hide.
c. Dampen a clean cloth with the cleaning solution and gently blot the stained area. Do not saturate the rug; use a minimal amount of water.
d. Rinse the area with a clean, damp cloth to remove any soap residue.
e. Pat the cleaned area dry with a clean, dry cloth.
f. Allow the rug to air dry completely. Avoid using heaters or direct sunlight to speed up the drying process, as excessive heat can damage the hide.
While routine maintenance will keep your cowhide rug looking fresh, it’s important to give it a deep cleaning every once in a while, especially if it’s in a high-traffic area. Here’s how to deep clean your cowhide rug:
Remove the Rug
If possible, remove the cowhide rug from its usual location before deep cleaning. This will make it easier to clean and allow you to access the entire rug.
Shake and Beat
Start by taking the rug outdoors and shaking or beating it to dislodge loose dirt and dust, as mentioned in the routine maintenance section.
Use a soft-bristle brush to gently brush the rug in the direction of the hair’s natural grain. This will help remove any remaining dirt and revive the hair’s appearance. Be gentle to avoid damaging the hide.
To wash your cowhide rug, you’ll need a large, shallow container or bathtub, mild liquid detergent, and lukewarm water. Follow these steps:
a. Fill the container or bathtub with enough lukewarm water to submerge the rug.
b. Add a small amount of mild liquid detergent to the water and mix it until it creates a gentle soapy solution.
c. Place the rug in the water, ensuring it is completely submerged.
d. Gently agitate the rug in the water by lightly swishing it from side to side. Avoid harsh scrubbing or wringing, as it can damage the hide.
e. Let the rug soak for 15-20 minutes to allow the detergent to loosen dirt and stains.
f. Drain the soapy water and rinse the rug thoroughly with lukewarm water until all soap residue is removed. You may need to repeat the rinsing process several times to ensure thorough rinsing.
After rinsing, gently squeeze out excess water from the rug by pressing it between clean, dry towels. Avoid twisting or wringing the rug, as this can damage the hide.
Lay the rug flat on a clean, dry surface, such as a patio or a clean towel, with the hair side up. Ensure it is positioned away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Allow the rug to air dry completely, which may take a day or two, depending on the weather conditions.
Once the rug is completely dry, use a soft-bristle brush to fluff up the hair and restore its natural appearance. Brush in the direction of the hair’s grain.
Cowhide rugs can be susceptible to various stains, including food, beverages, and pet accidents. Here are some specific stain removal methods:
- Food and Beverage Stainsa. Blot up the spill as soon as possible with a clean, white cloth or paper towel.b. Mix a solution of mild liquid detergent and warm water.c. Dampen a clean cloth with the solution and gently blot the stained area.d. Rinse the area with a clean, damp cloth to remove any soap residue.e. Pat the cleaned area dry with a clean, dry cloth.
- Pet Accidentsa. For urine stains, blot up as much liquid as possible with a clean cloth or paper towels.b. Mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water.c. Dampen a cloth with the vinegar solution and blot the stained area.d. Rinse the area with a clean, damp cloth to remove any vinegar residue.e. Pat the cleaned area dry with a clean, dry cloth.f. To neutralize odors, you can sprinkle baking soda over the cleaned area and let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming it up.
- Ink or Oil Stainsa. Ink and oil stains can be challenging to remove from cowhide rugs. If you encounter such stains, it’s best to consult a professional cleaner who specializes in leather and hides.
To keep your cowhide rug looking fresh for an extended period, consider the following preventative measures:
- Use a Rug Pad: Placing a rug pad underneath your cowhide rug can help prevent it from slipping and sliding on smooth surfaces while also providing extra cushioning.
- Rotate the Rug: To ensure even wear, periodically rotate the rug 180 degrees. This will help prevent one side of the rug from becoming more worn than the other.
- Protect from Sunlight: Avoid placing your cowhide rug in direct sunlight to prevent fading. Use window treatments or rotate the rug periodically to distribute the exposure.
- Keep Pets Away: While cowhide rugs are durable, pets with sharp claws can damage the hide. Consider keeping your rug in an area where pets don’t have access.
- Shoes Off Policy: Encourage a shoes-off policy in your home to reduce the amount of dirt and debris brought onto the rug.
Cowhide rugs are not only beautiful but also durable when properly cared for. By following the essential cleaning methods and routine maintenance outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your cowhide rug remains fresh, vibrant, and a timeless addition to your home decor. With the right care, your cowhide rug can last for many years and continue to be a source of comfort and style in your living space.