Can you wash a cow hide rug?


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No, you cannot wash a cowhide rug in the traditional sense. Placing your cowhide rug in a washing machine or taking it to a dry cleaner is not recommended, as it can cause damage to the rug’s natural structure and appearance.

For regular maintenance, try vacuuming your cowhide rug in the direction of the hair growth. Be gentle and avoid using a high suction setting to prevent the hairs from being pulled out. You can also occasionally shake out your rug outside to remove dirt and debris(source).

If you need to address specific stains or spills, use a mild soap or detergent and spot clean the affected areas. Work in the direction of the hair growth and apply the soapy solution with a soft cloth or sponge. Make sure to rinse the area with clean water afterward, removing any residual detergent(source).

For food or grease stains, it’s essential to act quickly to prevent permanent damage. Scrape away any solid matter and then apply a suitable cleaning solution to the area to remove the stain (source). Always test any cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the rug first to ensure it won’t cause any harm to the rug’s material.

Dos and don’ts of washing cow hide rugs


  • Vacuum your cowhide rug regularly, ideally, once a week, to keep it clean and free from dust and dirt. Make sure to turn off the beater bar and vacuum in the direction of the hair.
  • Spot clean any spills immediately using a clean, dry cloth and a water/vinegar solution or a damp cloth and mild soap. Gently rub the rug in the direction the hair lies, being careful not to soak the rug
  • Use a hard plastic bristle brush or broom to clean the cowhide rug when needed


  • Avoid soaking the rug, as excessive moisture can damage the hide
  • Do not use harsh chemicals, dry cleaning, or carpet cleaning machines, as they can damage the rug and cause discoloration.
  • Do not place the cowhide rug in direct sunlight, as this can cause fading over time.

5-step guide to cleaning cow hide rugs

Step 1

Shake the Rug
Take your cowhide rug outside and give it a good shake to remove any loose dirt and debris. This will help to dislodge surface particles without damaging the fibers of the rug. Regularly shaking the rug can be an effective way to keep it clean between vacuuming sessions

Step 2

Spot Clean
In case of spills or stains, dampen a clean cloth with a mixture of water and a mild detergent. Gently rub the affected area in the direction of the hair growth, being careful not to soak the rug source. Avoid using alkaline soaps or shampoos, as they can damage the rug

Step 3

Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to clean your cowhide rug regularly. Make sure to vacuum in the direction of the hair growth to avoid damaging the fibers source. Remember not to use heavy suction, as it can pull out hair from the hide.

Step 4

Rotate the Rug
Regularly rotating your cowhide rug can help keep it looking fresh and prevent uneven wear, extending its lifespan

Step 5

Avoid Moisture
Excessive moisture can damage your cowhide rug, so make sure to keep it away from damp areas or situations where it might get wet source. If the rug does become wet, let it air dry naturally without using heat, such as from a hairdryer or radiator.

FAQs washing cow hide rugs

Can you wash a cowhide rug in a washing machine?

No, you should not use a washing machine or dryer on your cowhide rug. It can cause significant damage, and should be cleaned using gentle hand washing methods instead.

How do I remove liquid spills on my cowhide rug?

First, blot the spill with a clean, damp cloth to absorb as much of the liquid as possible. Then, use a solution of 95% water and 5% white vinegar to gently clean the area. Put the mixture on a washcloth and dab it on the stain until it’s removed.

How can I get rid of food and grease stains?

Scrape away any solid matter with a blunt object, such as a plastic knife. For grease stains, you can use a mixture of water and a mild shampoo to clean the spot. Apply the mixture with a sponge or moist towel, making sure not to saturate the cowhide rug.

What if my cowhide rug has a strong smell?

To neutralize odors, mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle, and lightly mist the rug without soaking it. Then, generously sprinkle baking soda all over the rug and let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming it up.

How do I maintain my cowhide rug?

Vacuum or shake out your rug regularly to keep it clean and free of dust. Keep it away from direct sunlight to prevent fading, and avoid placing heavy furniture on it, which can cause irreversible damage. Proper care and maintenance will ensure your cowhide rug remains in good condition for years to come.

Can you wash cowhide?

Yes, cowhide can be washed, but it requires special care to avoid damaging the leather. Here’s a general guideline on how to wash cowhide:

To wash cowhide, start by shaking off dirt and debris. Then, gently clean the leather using lukewarm water and mild, pH-neutral soap. Pay attention to stains and blot them with the soapy water. Rinse the cowhide thoroughly and squeeze out excess water. Air dry it flat or hanging in a well-ventilated area. Finally, reshape the cowhide while it dries and use a soft brush or cloth to restore its natural shine. If unsure, consult a professional or follow manufacturer’s instructions.

Final thoughts 💭

Remember to vacuum or brush the rug regularly to remove dirt and dust, always working in the direction of the hair. If there are any liquid spills, act quickly to blot them up to prevent staining. You can also use a mild shampoo and water solution in combination with a gentle rubbing technique for more stubborn stains. Just make sure not to oversaturate the rug during the cleaning process, as this can damage the leather backing.

Rotating your rug’s position on the floor occasionally can also help prevent uneven wear and tear, ensuring that it retains its beauty for years to come. Always protect it from direct sunlight and avoid placing it in damp or humid areas to prevent color fading and damage to the hide.

By following these tips, you will be able to keep your cowhide rug looking its best, and be sure to enjoy its natural elegance and style in your living space.

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