Cowhides have this magical ability to provide warmth in any room, even a monochromatic contemporary one. There’s something about it that makes it so easy to add to any decor. With so many different colors, patterns and styles, it can adapt to almost any space.
But a cowhides are not the same as a synthetic fiber carpet and should be treated in a very different way. Where synthetic fibers can stand up to years of abuse from foot traffic, water, heat and stains, natural fibers would be permanently damaged if they sustain the same kind of treatment.
Here are our main tips to keep your cowhides looking their best, as well as solutions if the inevitable were to happen.
Preserving your cowhide:
Funnily enough, there are a lot of parallels between maintaining a cowhide and maintaining natural wood. Similarly, cowhides will deteriorate quickly if exposed to moisture and heat, so it’s important to keep that in mind when you decide where to place your hide (the bathroom is not a good place). Here are some simple do’s and don’ts to remember:
- Do protect your hide from direct sunlight
- Do rotate the hide every 3 to 6 months to ensure it wears evenly
- Do place your hide in low traffic areas
- Do clean it regularly following our directions below
- Don’t ever, ever, ever wash your cowhide in the washing machine Ever.
- Don’t dry clean it either, for that matter
- Don’t expose your hide to a heat source (like a blow dryer or a heater), especially not to dry it. It shouldn’t be that wet in the first place anyway.
- Don’t allow the hide to get soaked in any kind of liquid.
The right way to clean a cowhide
You can easily clean your cowhide regularly as long as you’re gentle. Cowhides are actually quite resistant to stains and can be very durable as long as you take care of them properly. For a regular cleaning, all you need to do is brush the hairs in the direction of the hair growth using a stiff bristle brush (or a broom). You could also just shake the hide outdoors. For a deeper clean you can vacuum the hide, but make sure you do it by hand using a brush attachment.
Once in a while, accidents will happen. We hope it’s a rare occurrence, but in the event that the inevitable should happen, here’s what to do:
- Immediately blot the stain (don’t rub it) to try to absorb as much of the liquid as possible.
- Soak a clean cloth with mild soap and warm water. A gentle dish soap is a good option.
- Gently rub the stain with the soapy cloth
- Absorb any excess moisture with a clean dry towel.
If you’re facing a grease stain, rub the soapy cloth just a little while longer and make sure you use a grease cutting soap.
- To soften the stain, let a clean, soapy cloth sit on it for a few minutes (don't let the hide soak!)
- Using a soft brush (or a toothbrush) lathered in soap and water, gently brush the hairs in the direction of the hair growth
- Absorb any excess moisture with a clean dry towel
Help! My cowhide is curling at the edges!
Curling is a common problem, especially for cheaper hides. However, areas of the hide that are naturally thinner will tend to curl over time, especially when the level of humidity in your home is unstable or if it’s exposed to heat or sunlight.
If your hide’s edges have curled, try this:
- Roll the leather in the opposite direction to the curl. Warm it up with your fingers and gently massage it until it softens and relaxes
- If that doesn’t work, you could lightly mist the hide with water to give it back some moisture, then continue the massage
- Another option is to steam the leather. Do this by ironing the hide with a wet cloth between the hide and the iron. Again, make sure you don’t soak the hide.
- If all else fails, your last option is to cut off the curled edge.