As floor covering, a cowhide rug provides natural durability along with a classic look. Since cowhide is all-natural, it doesn't contain the potentially toxic or off-gassing chemicals that are used to stain-proof some synthetic rugs. Basic spill cleanup and regular vacuuming are generally enough to keep that cowhide from acquiring new spots or holes.
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Since cowhide rugs are made directly from the hides of beef cattle, rather than from yarn or fibers stitched together tapestry-style, they offer long-lasting durability, even in areas of moderate foot traffic. The hide is naturally stain-resistant, so most types of spills clean up with ease. Cowhide does not wear thin as a woven or stitched rug might, and it cannot shed rubbery scraps from the bottom side since the entire rug is an animal hide. Patchwork-style cowhide rugs are slightly less durable along their seams, as the threads may pull loose a bit under tension. This minor type of damage is not difficult to repair.
- Vacuum the rug regularly every time you vacuum other floor coverings or sweep the floor.
- Shake the rug outdoors to remove dust and debris without vacuuming.
- Brush the hide from time to time with a nylon- or soft-bristled brush, following the natural direction of the animal hair.
Dealing With Spills
- Blot basic liquid spills with a paper towel without rubbing the affected area. Act quickly so the liquid does not soak through the hide.
- Treat slight stains with a drop of gentle shampoo on a slightly damp sponge, wiping in the natural direction of the hair. Wipe the area again after rinsing the sponge; then pat it dry with a soft white cloth.
- Scoop up spilled materials such as a bowl of spaghetti to remove all the solid materials first; then spot-clean with a drop of shampoo on a damp sponge. Wipe the area again after rinsing the sponge. Scrape any materials that dry on the rug by rubbing them with the bowl of a spoon or the edge of a plastic gift card; then spot-clean with water or shampoo and water. Do not soak the rug.
Keep the rug in an area that stays dry all the time -- do not use it on a bathroom floor or in a kitchen near the sink, where it may get wet. Keep the rug out of direct continual sunlight, which may dry out the back of the hide.