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Maintaining Cowhide

Maintaining Cowhide
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Cowhide Cleaning Tips

I personally have loved and enjoyed cowhide  & sheep products since a child, playing at the tannery on weekends, and would like to share what works for me.  

This article outlines my experiences, and whilst they do work, always seek professional help from your supplier before doing anything drastic. Cowhides are hardwearing, durable and long lasting, and will age better with time, if you clean and maintain them regularly. 

Cowhides generally speaking need minimal cleaning, other than vacuuming or simply shaking off the excess dirt. It is also a good idea to rotate you hides regularly, so that they wear evenly.

Should an accidental spill occurs, it is best to mop it up with paper towel or even a ball of toilet paper immediately, to avoid the fluid from penetrating the hide. Always follow the grain which is the direction in which the hair grows when removing unwanted fluids. 

Dirt deposits, can be simply brushed off with a banister brush.

Maintenance tips I have found that worked best for me.

  1. Vacuum regularly 
  2. Use a soft brush for dirt, biscuit or other more solid dirt particles
  3. Rotate your rugs so wear and tear is even
  4. Brush gently regularly to keep your rug shiny
  5. If a lot of loose dirt from shoes is present, a gentle vacuum or a bang with the banister brush, whilst the rug is draped over a fence will remove this
  6. Mop up moisture with paper towel or a tea towel immediately
  7. Popping an object such as a box under a damp rug will allow the tanned back to also dry quickly, or take the rug outside for a while to dry in the sun
  8. Rotate your rug to make sure you balance the wear on the surface
  9. Cowhides should never be left damp or mould will occur
  10. Cowhides also do not like to get wet, if this occurs, take outside and face the underside to the sun. This is the non hair side.
  11. NEVER place your hide in a tub or in a washing machine, this is a massive no, no.
  12. If a pet soils your hide, deal with this immediately as bile or urine can damage your hide, for these occurrences I find no.14 works best.
  13. To keep the hair supple, brush gently with the grain as this straightens the hairs, and disperses oils, that are naturally found within the hide
  14. If soiling occurs, I have found a drop of shampoo in water will help remove it, I dab the area and work it into the hairs, of course with the grain. I then rinse the cloth off and repeat with just warm water. Pat dry with paper towel, and either lift the section off the floor with something, or take outside to day. Always remember to try not to wet your cowhide too much.
  15. You can use a dish sponge for water or fluid spills also as this will quickly soak them up
  16. Scrape off dirt clumps with a bread and butter knifes blunt edge, then banister brush to remove the final soiling.
  17. Please note these are just tips I have found over many many years of working with hide. Dr Google will have many more for you to use for other problems such as chewing gum etc.
  18. For serious spillages or stains, a professional carpet cleaner may be able to help.


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