Caring for a Cow Hide or Other Animal Skin Rug and Accessories
Cow hide and other animal skins rugs such as zebra or reindeer have made a dramatic comeback in interior decoration in recent years and so has the need to keep them clean and in perfect condition. Taking care of a cow hide or other animal skin rug requires careful cleaning and periodic spot cleaning. Using tools and products that you can easily find to hand at home and a simple cleaning process you can keep a cow rug looking fresh and perfect for a very long time.
What You Will Need
- A vacuum cleaner with a suitable brush attachment
- Hard-bristled brush (an old fashioned scrubbing brush is ideal)
- A soft cleaning soap
- A normal household sponge
- Scotch Guard or a similar fabric protector
- A steam cleaner (such as a Vaporetto) will help to get deep inside the fur and clean the rug to the maximum effect.
Having bought your rug and installed it in your home you must ensure you vacuum it regularly to prevent your cowhide rug becoming heavily soiled and so avoid unnecessary deep cleaning. Make use of your vacuum’s brush attachment to clean the fur in the direction of its natural ‘grain’. You need to do this while gently drawing out dust and other grime contaminants. By doing this every week you will ensure that gritty pieces of dirt will not start to cut the fur from the hide. A good old-fashioned beating of the rug outdoors will also shake out embedded contaminants.
Don’t soak the rug when cleaning, however, you can gently steam clean it with no negative after effects. The fur within the hide is of course made up of tanned (to preserve the protein of the skin) animal material. Fur hides repel water and damp and so keep the animal relatively dry. If when cleaning the hide it gets too moist, then go outdoors and naturally dry the hide under the sun. This also has the effect of killing any bacteria or germs that may be in the hair.
Remove dirt spots with a non-alkaline cleansing soap. Leather soaps will work with stains on a smooth fur-free hide, but when fur is involved then baby shampoo or mild detergent gently scrubbed into foam when cleaning is much better for hides with hair. Apply the soapy froth to a sponge and then gently wipe the hide in direction of the grain. Finally thoroughly rinse with a moist sponge to get rid of any shampoo residue left in the fur.
Use Scotch Guard or a similar fabric protector well before your rug becomes stained and after you have just cleaned it as this will help the fur to repel further stains and so keep your valuable and beautiful cow hide rug in a pristine condition.
Ian works for one of the UK’s largest and most reliable importers and retailers of Cow Hide Rugs. We sell only the finest quality, South American cowhide rugs, and have one of the UK’s largest selections with over 200 cowhides in stock. Our hand-selected cow skin rugs have been chromium hand-tanned in the traditional way so they will last for years.
You can find out more about these wonderful animal skins and purchase them at out two websites – City Cows UK – – cowhiderugs.co.uk and our companion website Cow Hide Rugs UK.
Thank you for your tip to not soak the rug when cleaning it but to instead gently steam it clean. I’ve been wanting to buy a cowhide rug for my dining room for a while now, so I decided to look up some cleaning tips. Now I know how I will take care of my future rug, so thank you for that.
Thanks for explaining that vacuuming with the grain of the hide will prevent the fur from being pulled off over time. I just got a job that will require travel a few times a year and I want to get a cowhide duffle bag to use on my trips for function and style. Since I imagine a lot of the cleaning tips will be the same as for a rug, thanks for taking the time to share them here!