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Cowhide rugs and carpets if looked after properly and with some minimal maintenance ought to last a lifetime – even though it is normal for a small amount of hair to shed from the cowhide over time. You should take care when cleaning your cowhide rug or carpet – the simplest way is to take the cowhide rug outside and shake it vigorously in the old-fashioned tried and trusted way. You can of course vacuum your cowhide rug in the normal way taking care not to nap the fur too vigorously.
If you are using you cowhide rug in the floor then rotate it from time to time so any wear is distributed evenly over the rug.
If your cowhide rug requires a more through cleaning then you may use a damp cloth and wipe the cloth or sponge with the grain of the hair rather than against it (in the same way you would brush your own hair!) and use a mild soap – such as Dove soap. Do not soak the cowhide or let the hide get too wet and certainly don’t put your precious cowhide in a washing machine.
Once you have finished cleaning then you may dry the cowhide rug or carpet using an old towel and run along with the nap. Do nor rub the cowhide rug too hard and do not use saddle soap or other specialist leather cleaning products as these may damage the cowhide.
For the most common and irritating spills and stains such as red wine, tea, coffee, fruit juice and other liquids soak up the spill immediately with kitchen towels or a sponge as soon as possible. You can remove more solid material with a blunt knife edge and scrape the cowhide carefully – particularly so if you’ve got every rug’s nightmare stuck in chewing gum. Once free of foreign material then you can wipe with a damp but not too wet cloth or sponge using a mild sop solution. For a final ‘polish’ of your precious cowhide rug or carpet then clean with a damp cloth using a solution of 1% ordinary white vinegar and 99% water.
As an alterative way to clean your cowhide rug or carpet then you can use mild shampoo (baby shampoo is the mildest and best) and spot sponge carefully on the areas requiring cleaning- repeat and rinse out the sponge with warm water until your hide is finally clean and fresh.
For more difficult stuck in solid matter such as fat, grease, lipstick, tar and chewing gum – then extract the solid matter with the blunt edge of knife by gently scraping the material form the cowhide. Next apply dry cleaning fluid directly to the dirty section on a soft cloth and dabbing the stain gently. Lastly wipe with a slightly damp (but not too wet) sponge or cloth and use a mild soap solution. These stains though can be particularly troublesome and there is no guarantee that this will remove the stain, but it the best method to try and is done at your own risk.
Lastly it should be noted that cowhide rugs and carpets should not be allowed to get too wet and if this is a problem in your home then use a dehumidifier to remove excessive moisture from your room. On a sunny day it is good to place your cowhide rug or cowhide carpet outside with the underside of the cowhide facing the sun. This will naturally dry and disinfect the cowhide rug.
So with these few simple steps and precautions your cowhide rug or cowhide carpet should last you a lifetime of use. Indeed many cowhide rugs and carpets become family heirlooms passed from grateful generation to generation.