How to Clean Cowhide Rugs

Shake a cowhide rug outside or vacuum it to remove dust and debris. Use a damp lint-free white cloth to treat spills.

Cowhide rugs cannot be washed in a machine like some rugs, but they are still fairly easy to maintain.  Shake them outdoors, vacuum them from time to time, and spot-treat spills with a little water or a dedicated cowhide cleaner.

Cleaning Without Water

* Carry the rug outside to [shake out](http://wwwgorgeouscreaturesconz/About+Cowhide+Rugs/Cowhide+Cleaning+and+Curlinghtml) some of the dust, dirt and debris it collects over time.  Loosely fold the rug in half without creasing it; then carry it with the fold on the bottom to move it outdoors without dumping dirt particles all over the floor 
* Sweep or brush the rug from time to time to help keep it clean.

Use nylon-bristled brooms or brushes for best results  * A vacuum cleaner may also be used on the rug.  Set the cleaner to a low suction setting and either stand or set a weight along the rug's edges to prevent the rug from being drawn into the vacuum cleaner, which may cause damage or creasing.


Dealing With Spills

* Blot up spilled liquids or foods as soon as possible to help prevent stains.  Use paper towels or a lint-free white cloth to blot the affected areas 
* Remove spilled items such as ice cream or pasta by scooping up the material with a rubber scraper or a large spoon.

Scoop from the outer edge of the spill toward the center, working your way around until you've removed as much as possible.  Blot up remaining liquids afterwards.

Keep a bowl nearby so you have a place to deposit the substance removed from the carpet  * Treat soiled areas with a damp lint-free cloth.  Use a **white cloth** to prevent dye transfer.

If the stain does not come up easily, apply a pea-sized squirt of baby shampoo or a mild dish soap to the cloth; then wipe the rug again.  Rinse out the cloth; then wipe the cleaned area again with the cloth to prevent soap residue that may attract dirt.

A few drops of white vinegar in a cup of water can also be used to help remove residue from soaps and spills. 

Drying and Airing Out the Rug

Any time the rug gets wet or smells a little less than fresh, air it out, hair-side down, over a clothesline or the back of a chair for several hours on a dry, non-humid day. 


Do not use abrasives or harsh chemicals on a cowhide rug. Store it only in clean areas that do not smell musty or damp; otherwise, the rug may pick up the odor as well.

Things You Will Need

  • Vacuum
  • Cloth
  • Mild soap
  • Plastic brush

About the Author

Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, Landlordology, SFGate and others.