How to Clean a Cowhide Rug
Weekly Cowhide Cleaning Advice
Ever wondered how to clean your cowhide rug? We make it easy with these cowhide cleaning tips and instructions.
Include your cowhide rug or cowhide ottoman in your normal cleaning routine; simply vacuum with the vacuum head brush down (for hard floors) and if possible the vacuum suction reduced to the rug setting.
Or give your cowhide rug a shake outside to remove dust and small dry particles of dirt.
Brushing with a hard plastic bristle brush or broom helps to keep the hair soft and fluffy and to remove dirt, sand and larger dirt particles trapped in and under the hair.
When a Spill Happens - What to do to Rescue Your Cowhide Rug
It's going to happen eventually. Someone will spill something on your cowhide rug. Here is what you need to know to rescue your cowhide.
For common spills or accidents like red wine, coffee, tea, juice, food, soup, urine, faeces and vomit - soak up or wipe up spills with a paper towel or sponge as soon as possible.
Remove any solid matter with the blunt edge of knife by scraping gently in the direction of the hair. Try not to push nasty solid accidents deeper into the leather.
Lightly spray your cowhide rug with the Gorgeous Creatures cowhide cleaner treating a small area at a time; complete one section before starting the next.
The Gorgeous Creatures cowhide cleaner is antibacterial so any nasty spills will be neutralized. It is also non-ionic and pH neutral so is safe to use on the leather.
Here is a good description of the differences between detergents and what non-ionic really means at a technical level.
What happens next?
Wipe the cowhide vigorously in all directions with a damp (but not dripping wet) clean cloth to spread the cowhide cleaner over the hide and into the hair.
Do not soak the hide or get it too wet (unless this is a last resort for extreme cleaning situations like a muddy flood).
Rinse the cloth in fresh water and wipe again to remove any residual cleaning solution until clean. Repeat if necessary.
Wipe the whole hide with a clean dry towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Brush the hair into its natural direction so that it dries smooth.
Dry the cowhide flat and very slowly away from direct heat and sun. A dehumidifier in the room can really help to pull moisture out of the leather slowly.
DO NOT wash cowhides in a washing machine, hose down (other than as an extreme last resort) or dry clean a cowhide rug.
Our cowhide cleaner is not a stain remover which is why it is so important to treat spills and stains immediately.
You have to see this...
Seeing is believing - this demonstration shows the Gorgeous Creatures cowhide cleaner in action with common household spills including red wine, butter, oil, jam, tomato sauce, food, cat food and urine on real cowhide.
Six Monthly Cowhide Maintenance Advice
These tips will help to increase the life of your cowhide rug.
Rotate your cowhide rug, or move to a different location in your home from time to time, so that the rug wears evenly.
On a sunny day you can put your cowhide outside with the underside facing the sun for about 1 hour (no more) to air out, freshen and remove moisture.
This is different to our advice about NOT putting a cowhide in the sun to dry (when wet from washing). The difference is that the hide is already dry, so this cannot make the leather fibres constrict.
Every three to six months a light surface clean with our Gorgeous Creatures Cowhide Cleaner will keep your cowhide rug looking like new and restore shine to your rug.
It doesn't take long and it's an important step to remove microscopic dirt that can damage a hide long-term. The dirt acts as an abrasive sandpaper grinding and damaging the hair.
Spot Cleaning a Cowhide Rug
The Gorgeous Creatures cowhide cleaner is perfect as a spot cleaner when a something spills. Whether it's muddy dog paws or a cup of coffee, a glass of red wine or some spaghetti bolognese sauce. It can all be cleaned quickly & easily with the cowhide cleaner.
Cowhide Rug Storage Advice
It's important you do this right.
Store cowhides in a clean dry place, preferably rolled around a tube core to avoid fold lines. Then wrap the rug with a clean cotton sheet to protect from dust and dirt while in storage.
It's OK to fold your cowhide rug for a few weeks, but it will need some time to relax and for the creases to fall out again after it is unfolded.
If your cow skin rug is good quality, the creases will come out naturally after a few days lying flat.
A heavy weight like books can speed up this process. You can also steam iron the cow skin on the underside or hairy side to reduce creases more quickly.
If the cowhide rug becomes musty after being in storage for a long time, clean the whole hide with our Gorgeous Creatures cowhide cleaner which contains special ingredients that inhibit mould and mildew growth.
We recommend that white, cream, beige or other light coloured cowhides be sprayed with a light coating of colourless Fend water proof spray when they are new.
Extreme Cowhide Cleaning Circumstances - When You Can Wash a Cowhide
Normally we would warn people about NOT getting a cowhide rug really wet (in general it is NOT a good idea to get a cowhide soaking wet).
But there can be situations where a cowhide rug is already ruined.
As a last resort completely soaking a cowhide rug with a full immersion clean in a special leather safe non-ionic wash is the only hope of rescue and sanitation.
Our Gorgeous Creatures Sheepskin Woolskin (leather) Wash is safe to use for this purpose and is non-ionic.
This should only be done if the rug can not be used in it's current filthy & smelly state, and would otherwise be thrown away.
Read our two blogs with examples of real life cowhide cleaning situations.
Two real life customer examples of cowhide emergencies are:-
"Help! I have a cowhide rug and a large container of cooking oil from a deep fryer was completely spilled on it! It is everywhere on the rug and I don't have a clue how to get it out. Can you help?? It smells like oil too. I tried as best I could to get out the oil but it is still on the rug."
"I was given 2 beautiful cowhide rugs that were left wadded up in a house that was full of cats. There's a few spots that are definitely pee and there's mouse poop all over. The worst of it is the house smelled horrible, and the rugs do too."
In these two real examples, the only option to rescue these cowhide rugs is to attempt a full immersion soak in the Gorgeous Creatures Sheepskin Woolskin (leather) Wash (which has very similar ingredients to our Cowhide Cleaner).
This is done as your own risk - we can not promise that your cowhide rug can be rescued, but what other option do you have? It is worth a try right!
Another example would be if a cowhide rug was caught in a flood, and was already soaking wet and dirty.
Rugs should always be sanitized after a flood, because sewage and other nasty or smelly things can often be mixed with the flood water.
The main difference is that the sheepskin wash is a concentrate that is diluted before use for a proper full immersion wash, and the cowhide cleaner is already pre-mixed and is used as a surface spray.
They also have some minor ingredient changes and proportions as well.
Totally saturate and soak the hide for a few hours with the special Gorgeous Creatures Woolskin Wash antibacterial cleaner to kill the bacteria & remove the urine & poo that has soaked into the leather fibres.
This will also cut through oils but will take several washes and water changes to remove oil properly.
The cowhide rug will need to be washed in a bath or other large tank. The rug will be very heavy when wet, so probably a 2 person lift.
And the cowhide rug will need at least 2-3 fresh water rinses until the water runs mostly clear.
We won’t lie, this will be a big job but if it means that your cowhide rug can be used in your home again then it’s probably worth a try.
Cowhide rugs are valuable so they are worth rescuing.
Squeeze out as much water from the leather as possible while the rug drains in the bath. Lay the hide flat over towels and pull into shape. Wipe the whole hide with a clean dry towel to remove as much water as possible.
Dry the cowhide flat and very slowly in shade away from direct heat & sun.
We can not promise that the rug will lie perfectly flat after it has been washed. Each situation is different and each cowhide rug is different.