How to Clean the Cowhide Rug: Get 7 Tips from the Experts

Rug Cleaning
A Cowhide Rug is the complete hair and skin of a cow, cured using either vegetable tanning or a chrome tanning method. The result is a soft, long-lasting rug that retains the animal’s unique markings, although sometimes hides are re-dyed to create fascinating prints.

Note that the size of cowhide rugs vary from 20 to 50 square feet, depending upon the size of the animal from which it came. There are outsize rugs available in the market and made by merging two or more hides.

Every Cowhide Rug possesses a different colour and pattern. Buyers purchase cowhide rugs mainly because of two reasons. Either they go for looks or fancy a rug specifically to augment an existing colour scheme.

Apart from the aesthetics, cowhide rugs can create a cozy vibe in a bedroom or provide a focal point on a wooden floor. Their arched lines can be utilized to soften the angularity of a straight-sided room. Owing to their long-lasting properties, they can even be put up in areas of heavy traffic, such as hallways.

Top benefits of having a Cowhide Rug:

Long Lasting

As they are built out of leather, Cowhide rugs are notably enduring.

Cowhide rug buyers usually get to enjoy their rugs for several years with just some little care. Cowhide rugs can maintain their soft and pliable feel for years. This makes them very soothing for the feet.


Many high-quality cowhide rugs are free from fragrance and hypo-allergenic. As they don’t require frequent vacuuming, they ensure pure air and a nice breathing experience.

Easy maintenance

Simply vacuuming or shaking the rug to eliminate loose debris and dust goes a long way with Cowhide rugs. There is no dedicated maintenance routine you have to follow; neither do you need complex cleaning techniques. You can also brush the rug with a hard plastic brush to soften the rug’s hair and keep the dirt at bay. Liquid substances like tea, juice, coffee, etc seldom infiltrate deep into the hides.

More on cowhide maintenance later in this article.

Discover Expert Tips for Cleaning a Cowhide Rug

Cowhide rugs usually work well in all spaces, including your home’s highest traffic zones due to the hide’s long-lasting innate properties.  They are stain-resistant and, as discussed above, are effortlessly easy to maintain. Due to the quality of leather, they can last for many years without needing a replacement.

We asked experts as to how to best clean the cowhide rugs. We discuss their suggestions in this article.

1. Shaking the rug

It can be a great idea to carry the rug outside and shake it off occasionally. Although a vacuum cleaner can clean a lot of dust and dirt out of the material, jerking it off outside can loosen anything that might have penetrated deeper into the rug.

Shaking off the rug is a simplistic method that you can use to keep your cowhide rug clean and long-lasting. Note that you don’t have to beat the rug aggressively to knock loose the dirt. Just shake it off properly till you see the dirt coming out.

2. Vacuum the rug:

Vacuuming cowhide rugs isn’t different from doing other rugs. It will help keep it tidy and inhibit any stain or dirt from setting up on it. Although you don’t need a strict cleaning routine, it’s always good to clean your cowhide rug if you’re cleaning other materials as well.

A few guidelines to abide by:

  • You can use hose attachments to vacuum the rug. However, if you feel the suction is high, you can go with a dustbuster instead.
  • Experts advise vacuuming in the direction of the hair.
  • Ensure that the brushes are not spinning on the vacuum.

3. Brush the cowhide rug

Regular brushing can make your cowhide rug look new and keep it clean at the same time. While vacuuming, it’s likely that some areas inside your rug might still contain dirt and debris.

Brushing can help remove that stubborn dirt from your rug. Unlike vacuuming, brushing is a simpler and effective way to clean your cowhide rug.

Tip: You can use a broom or brush with hard plastic bristles.

4. Use shampoo and water to remove stains

You can remove minute stains from spills on your cowhide rug using a mix of water and shampoo. This technique is effective in breaking up the stain and restoring your cowhide.

Tips to follow:

  • You can use a wet fabric or sponge to apply the shampoo-water mix to the cowhide rug. Start with applying a little shampoo and keep adding more if needed.
  • Unlike brushing, you can rub and scrub in any direction.
  • Ensure that the towel or sponge isn’t soaking wet.
  • Refrain from using any alkaline shampoos or soaps.

5. Removing grease stains from cowhide rugs

Do you see grease stains on your rug? Do not fear or panic. Begin by lightly scraping away the grease as best as possible with a brush or anything with hard bristles.  Rug cleaning experts suggest using a little amount of eucalyptus oil on top of the stain.

It is an effective way to eliminate the stain from cowhide rugs. Just apply a minute amount of oil and thoroughly rub it with a dry, clean fabric. If you cannot get the stain out, repeat the process till the stain comes out.

6. Removing food stains

Food stains can be efficiently removed from your cowhide rug by using a butter knife or a brush. Gently scrape in the same direction of the rug fibres till you see the stains gone.

If the stain persists, using a damp fabric with a little amount of non-alkaline soap or a mix of white vinegar and water should extract most of the food-stains from the rug. Once you see the stains on the surface, use a dry towel to rub the surface and scrape off the stains.

7. Removing liquid stains

While dealing with tea, red wine, or coffee, you can’t afford to waste time. Start immediately by following these measures on washing a cowhide rug effectively:

You’ll need: 

  • A paper towel,
  • Knife
  • Sponge
  • Shampoo,
  • Water and cloth

Absorb the liquid

Using a paper towel, sop up the liquid stain. Refrain from rubbing the affected area; simply dab it. Rubbing the stain will spread it more.

Note: If you see the dried matter, scrape it off in the direction of the rug-hair, using the blunt edge of the knife.

Prepare a solution

Mix lukewarm water with a couple of drops of shampoo or soapy water.


Use a wet sponge to apply the mix to the cowhide rug. Rub and scrub with care until the stain goes off.

Note: Ensure that the sponge is not completely wet.


Take a clean fabric and moisten it with water. Wipe off the shampoo solution residue gently.

Caring for cowhide rugs

Cowhide rugs are amazing statement pieces. They add beauty to any room. But as they get dirty quickly, how to take the best care of them?

Here are a few tips you can follow:

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning is an effective method to take care of your cowhide rugs. It’s absolutely safe to use a steam cleaner, should you want to use one.

Before using the steam cleaner:

  • Make sure you pre-vacuum the rug to eliminate excess pileup of stains.
  • Let the steam cleaner warm up to its operating temperature before using it on the rug.
  • Watch your technique while you steam clean cowhide rug.
  • You have to ensure that you clean in the direction of the rug’s hairs. It would help if you also keep the cleaner constantly moving to not over clean one area. Ensure you don’t allow the rug to get wet as excess water can damage the rug’s hair.


People buy cowhide rugs in a lot of different styles and colours. Irrespective of the pattern and colour, all cowhide rugs suffer from one common phenomenon: curling.

Many cowhide rug owners complain that their rugs’ corners begin to curl after some time. However, before rushing to replace your rug, hear us out.

Curling happens because the rugs’ corners are thinner compared to the central area. This is rather uniform across all cowhides. One typical cause of curling is high exposure to heat. If the rug is dealing with more heat often, it’s best to keep it in a relatively colder place and let it uncurl.

Alternatively, you can sprinkle a bit of water on the rug and brush it till it comes back to its original shape. Then put a little weight to the corners for a couple of days until it regains its shape.

Note: be extra careful while spraying water on the rug. Cowhide rugs can get critically damaged from excess water. As a best practice, experts advise keeping the water usage to a bare minimum.

Regular Care

Some maintenance practices will lengthen the lifespan of your rug. Regular vacuuming is the first of the lot. Although you don’t have to follow any hard and fast rule to vacuum your rug, doing it occasionally can prevent dirt pile up.

Make sure you’re vacuuming in the rug hairs’ direction and also shaking the rug from time to time.

Brushing the dirt off is also an effective way of rug care. Similar to vacuuming, make sure that you brush in the direction of the hair.

Also, use a brush with hard bristles. Treat your rug like you treat a brand new car, and it will repay you with years of quality performance.


Many rug types like wool and jute require an extensive cleaning and maintenance routine. However, cleaning and maintaining cowhide rugs are easy if done properly. The tips mentioned in this article are suggested by experts and are doable. Follow them and see your cowhide rug glow like it was bought yesterday!

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