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How to Clean a Cowhide Rug

How to clean a cowhide rug
How to clean a cowhide rug

A cowhide rug can be an amazing statement piece in your home. They can complement your interior design plan while also providing high-quality and practical flooring. Many people love the aesthetics of a cowhide rug, but (perhaps more importantly) they swear by its durability of them. 

Since genuine cowhide rugs are made from the real skin and hair of the cow, they last for a very long time. Leather is known for its toughness! They are also typically resistant to stains. Due to this, it’s extremely popular to place them in high-traffic areas in the home such as hallways or common spaces. 

However, even the most durable of rugs needs some TLC every once in a while! 

Whether your cowhide rug needs a little spiffing up, or a deeper clean for something stuck in the hairs, we’ve got you covered. 

Shaking Dirt Out of Cowhide Rug

As previously mentioned, cowhide rugs are very often resistant to stains! This is a truly glorious trait of the rug, as it means easy maintenance. Especially if your rug is in an area where it’s exposed to dirt or dust often, you can ensure it stays fresh by regularly shaking it out. 

If it’s small enough, take it outside by yourself and shake it or pat it until no more dirt falls from it. If it’s a bit too big to manage on your own, get someone to help you hold it and shake it until the crumbs have fallen out. 

Vacuuming Cowhide Rug

If you prefer not to remove the rug to shake it out, no worries. You can also use a vacuum! First make sure that your vacuum does not have rotating brushes, as this can ruin the hair on the rug. Move the vacuum in the direction of the hair. It’s also okay to use a brush attachment. 

For Liquid Stains 

Although cowhide rugs are usually resistant to stains from daily wear and tear, liquids can create a bit more of an urgent situation. The cow hair is still relatively resilient, but you’ll need to tend to the liquid quickly in order to prevent a permanent stain. 

First, use a clean cloth to dab the liquid off. It’s important to use a dabbing motion rather than wiping, so that you don’t spread the liquid around. 

Then, mix together a bit of shampoo with warm water. Use a cloth to apply the mixture to the stained area. Continue using the dabbing motion to remove any color. You can also begin to rub the cloth in the direction of the hair. Repeat this pattern until you’ve removed the stain. 

Keep in mind that you shouldn’t let your rug get too wet from cleaning it. Use modest amount of the water and shampoo solution. 

For Removing Gunk or Food

Maybe your rug has something stuck in the hairs like food or another material. Don’t worry! This problem is easy to solve with a cowhide rug. 

First, you’ll need a butter knife or a similarly shaped object. You’ll use the blunt side of the knife to scrape out whatever is stuck (in the direction of the hair). Continue to gently scrape the debris out until it’s gone. 

If that method can’t get it all out, then you can mix some organic white vinegar with water and dab this concoction onto the stained area as a spot treatment. Use your cloth to dab at the substance until it’s released from the rug. 

For Grease Stains 

If you happen to get grease or an oil stain on your rug, you can tackle that by first removing any solid matter from the rug. You can use the method we covered above for approaching food stains. 

Next, use a tiny bit of eucalyptus oil to apply to the stained area. Use it sparingly, and add more if necessary. Continue to use a gentle dabbing motion around the affected area until the grease is gone. 

For Deodorizing It

If you feel your cowhide rug has developed an unwanted odor, you can consider bringing it outside and letting it air out for a day. Just be sure that you’ve checked the weather to make sure it won’t rain. 

If the smell needs more attention, you can use a leather-safe powder deodorizer and follow the directions on the product. This generally means sprinkling a bit on, leaving it to absorb the smells for a few hours, and then vacuuming it off. 

Extra Pro Tip for A Smooth Rug

Many recommend regularly brushing the rug with a stiff-bristled brush. This removes dirt extremely well and keeps the rug looking sleek and shiny. Always brush in the direction of the hair. 


We hope by using these tips, you can clean your cowhide rug to keep it in tip top shape! With proper care and upkeep, your cowhide rug will last for many years. Stylish and durable, you can’t go wrong with a cowhide rug. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my cowhide rug be steam cleaned?

Yes! Many people like to seasonally steam clean their cowhide rugs as a way of keeping it clean. Just move the steamer in the direction of the hair. 

Will the hair fall out if I clean my rug?

No. Cowhide rugs are so durable that they can withstand the cleaning methods we’ve outlined above. 

How can I remove animal urine?

Treat this liquid removal process the same as the other liquid stains we covered in this post. 

Can I use a dry-cleaning kit to clean my cowhide rug?

No, it’s recommended to only remove stains or debris by hand. Dry cleaning or using too much water or liquid to clean it can damage the rug.

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