Easily the most common question asked about cowhide rugs is how to clean them. One of the best things about a cowhide is how easy it is to maintain and care for. The vast majority of all contaminants (whether soil, dust, or pet hair) come out with a simple brush of a broom. It is easier than any “regular” carpet and many hard surfaces.
Our Nguni cowhide rugs are naturally resistant to stain and discoloration. Much like our own hair, a literal mud bath won't change the color, as there are natural oils that protect both the shine and color. The natural oils also help to keep major spills “pooled”, and a quick response time can eliminate the need for spot cleaning all together. Please see the product note at the bottom of this article on our Cowhide Treatment Product, as it mimics these natural oils on your hide and help to keep it “self cleaning.”
While the majority of your hide’s maintenance is simple and easy, we know over the course of a lifetime, a few spills are bound to happen. When these dreaded spills occur, act quickly to soak up any excess amount of the liquid. For more solid material, use the blunt edge of a knife and scrape carefully with the grain of the hair. Once you are satisfied with this first step, you typically need only a damp cloth or lightly damp sponge to restore it to its natural coloring.
For spot cleaning, simply dampen a sponge or cloth (damp, not wet!) and gently rub the affected area. If water doesnt seem to be enough, you can use a mild soap or shampoo (baby shampoo has the fewest chemicals!) and again, gently rub the area, going in the direction of the hair as much as possible. In our experience, this has worked on everything from a crushed blackberry to a bit of red wine. After using any type of cleaning agent, or even a bit of excess water, it is wise to use the Hide Treatment Product to put natural oils back into the hide and protect it’s longevity.
What about tougher stains, like that of a pet “leaving its mark” on your precious carpet? If none of the above seems to work, you have two main options. The first, and preferred, is to try a steam cleaning option. This prevents excessive soaking of the hide, which can shorten the lifespan of your cowhide. As your cowhide is similar to any other kind of leather, excessive amounts of water can dry it out or cause other types of water damage. Because of this, your absolute last resort for any serious stain is to wet it and scrub it like you would almost any other type of serious stain. When you are satisfied the stain is gone, make sure to dry your cowhide away from direct sunlight.
Again, if you resort to this, make sure you use our Nguni Guy cowhide treatment product to return some of the naturally present oils to your hide, to stop it from drying out.
The Nguni Guy Cowhide Cleaner protects the color and shine, and cleans your hide with the least harmful and most effective natural agents. Our Hide Treatment product is made with tea tree oils, lemon myrtle extract, and other naturally based elements that help to maintain the natural oil levels of your hide, all while cleaning and adding anti-allergenic and anti-bacterial agents to it.
Cleaning Do’s and Don’t’s
Do: Regularly brush your hide with a broom (always “with the grain” of the hair)
Dont: Use a high powered vacuum (very gentle/low settings are okay, but brushing is preferred)
Do: Shake your hide outside like you would a towel at the beach.
Dont: Shake your hide upwind of anyone else. Good manners, people!
Do: Spot clean with a lightly damp sponge or cloth
Dont: Excessively soak your hide
Do: Use The Nguni Guy Cowhide Cleaner to put natural oils back in the hair and leather, especially after any spot cleaning or prolonged periods of drying out.