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​How to Clean Your Cowhide Rug

​How to Clean Your Cowhide Rug

Posted by The Team on 29th Nov 2023

Having a cowhide rug can add warmth, beauty, and a touch of luxury to any space. However, to keep your cowhide rug looking its best, some maintenance is required. In this article, we will guide you through the process of effectively cleaning and maintaining your cowhide rug, ensuring it stays in pristine condition.

Preparing for Cleaning

Before you begin cleaning your cowhide rug, gather the necessary supplies. You will need a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment, a soft-bristled brush, mild detergent, warm water, cornstarch or baking soda, a clean cloth, and a leather conditioner. Clear out the cleaning area, ensuring there are no obstacles that could hinder your work.

Basic Maintenance

To ensure your cowhide rug stays clean, implement basic maintenance practices. Regular vacuuming will help remove loose debris and prevent it from settling into the rug's fibers. Use the brush attachment to gently vacuum in the direction of the hair. Additionally, brush out any pet hair using a soft-bristled brush, which will prevent it from becoming embedded in the rug.

Spot cleaning spills and stains promptly is crucial to preventing permanent damage. Use a clean cloth to blot the spill gently. Avoid rubbing, as it can push the stain deeper into the rug. If needed, you can use a mild detergent and warm water solution to gently clean the affected area.

Deep Cleaning Methods

For a more thorough clean, you can choose from different deep cleaning methods. Dry cleaning with cornstarch or baking soda is a popular option. Sprinkle the powder onto the rug and leave it for a few hours to absorb oils and odors. Then, vacuum it off using the brush attachment.

Using a mild detergent and warm water solution is another effective method. Mix a small amount of mild detergent with warm water, and gently sponge the mixture onto the rug. Be careful not to oversaturate the rug. Afterward, wipe off the soap residue with a clean, damp cloth and allow the rug to air dry.

Steam cleaning can also be used with caution. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and test a small, inconspicuous area before proceeding. Steam cleaning should be done sparingly to avoid excessive moisture, which can damage the rug.

Handling Specific Stains

Different types of stains may require specific treatment. If you encounter an oil-based stain, immediately apply cornstarch or baking soda to absorb the oil. Let it sit for a few hours, then vacuum it off. For ink or pen marks, use a cotton ball dampened with rubbing alcohol and gently dab the affected area. Food and beverage spills can be cleaned using the mild detergent and warm water solution mentioned earlier.

Drying and Conditioning

After cleaning, ensure the rug is adequately dried before placing it back in the room. Hang it outdoors or lay it flat in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Avoid excessive moisture to prevent the hide from warping or curling. Once dry, apply a leather conditioner to keep the hide supple and prevent cracking.

Prevention and Protection

To reduce the need for frequent cleaning, take preventative measures. Place your cowhide rug in low-traffic areas, as excessive foot traffic can lead to faster wear and dirt accumulation. Using rug pads underneath provides an extra layer of protection and helps keep the rug in place.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When cleaning your cowhide rug, it's essential to avoid common mistakes. Harsh chemicals, such as ammonia or bleach, should never be used, as they can damage the hide. Scrubbing aggressively can cause the hair to become tangled or even detach from the hide. Lastly, avoid exposing your cowhide rug to direct sunlight for extended periods, as it can lead to fading and discoloration.

Rug Storage

If you need to store your cowhide rug temporarily, clean and dry it thoroughly before packing. Roll the rug carefully, with the hair facing outwards, and secure it with twine or a cloth ribbon. Store it in a cool, dry place, away from moisture and pests.

Tips for Prolonging Rug Life

To extend the lifespan of your cowhide rug, consider implementing a few simple tips. Periodically rotating the rug will ensure even wear and minimize the appearance of traffic patterns. Avoid placing the rug in areas prone to excessive moisture, as it can cause the hide to become stiff or moldy.


Cleaning your cowhide rug doesn't have to be a daunting task. With the right techniques and regular maintenance, you can keep your rug looking beautiful and ensure its longevity. Follow the outlined cleaning methods, practice prevention, and avoid common mistakes for a well-maintained cowhide rug that enhances any space.


How often should I clean my cowhide rug?

Cleaning frequency depends on usage and the level of dirt accumulation. Generally, it's recommended to vacuum and spot clean regularly, with deep cleaning every 6–12 months.

Can I machine wash my cowhide rug?

No, machine washing can damage the hide and hair. It's best to avoid machine washing and stick to recommended cleaning methods.

What should I do if my cowhide rug gets wet?

If your cowhide rug becomes wet, gently blot the excess moisture with towels and allow it to air dry in a well-ventilated area away from direct heat sources.

How do I remove pet odours from my cowhide rug?

To eliminate pet odours, sprinkle baking soda onto the rug and leave it overnight. Vacuum the powder off the next day, and the baking soda should absorb the odors.

**Can I use a regular carpet cleaner on my cowhide rug?**

No, regular carpet cleaners are too harsh for cowhide rugs and can damage the hair and hide. Stick to the recommended cleaning methods mentioned in this article.