Area Rugs Area Rugs
Written By : RugKnots  |  

Cowhide rugs are quite in trend nowadays. A cowhide rug can be a great way to add a bit of nature’s touch to your house. For those of you who may not know, a cowhide rug is a rug that is made entirely from the skin and hair of a cow through a process called chrome tanning. The result is a beautiful and strong rug which ends up looking amazing due to its natural markings. A cowhide rug is usually just the normal color of the cow but is often dyed other colors to add more exotic funky designs.


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Benefits Of Cowhide Rugs


For people who have allergies, putting the hair and the skin of an animal in your house may not seem like the smartest idea. Fortunately, however, cowhides are known to be hypoallergenic and even help reduce pathogens that may carry allergies around your house. If you own a synthetic rug with thick fibers, then the fibers of these rugs will trap numerous allergens in them. These fibers trap dust, pollen, pet hair, etc. Whenever you come into your house with dirty shoes, the synthetic fibers trap every allergen and particle in them, which stays in your home. Unlike synthetic rugs that trap such particles, real cowhide rugs do not. Obviously, they do get dirty after some time; but you can just easily vacuum your rug or even just shake off your rug to clean the dust that has built up. Synthetic rugs have thick fibers due to which the allergens get stuck in the rugs. Cow hair, however, is thin and brittle which allows them to be allergen-free as nothing gets caught up in them. Most people who own synthetic rugs have to put a lot of effort and money into cleaning their rug. With cowhide rugs, you are free from such expensive and they can stay dirt-free with weekly vacuuming easily.


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Easy Cleaning

If you live in a house where there are many children around, then you know that every piece of furniture you have is bound to get stained. And it’s the worst feeling in the world to have someone spill bright paint on your newly bought expensive rug. Cowhide rugs do not consist of any synthetic materials and are not treated with chemicals such as pesticides and flame retardants. Trying to remove any stains from synthetic rugs can be a menace to clean as the cleaning process can get quite tricky. Furthermore, if you send your rug to professionals for cleaning you know they’re going to clean them with toxic chemicals that have no place in your home. On top of that, most synthetic rugs are treated with Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which can be harmful to an extent. Another benefit of cowhide area rugs is that they naturally repel stains. The actual cow skin and the cow hair have properties that make them natural stain repellents. If you make sure to clean spills soon after they’ve occurred then there is no way that your cowhide rug can be stained. So unlike synthetic rugs, cowhide area rugs won't be a menace to clean. One thing to remember is that you must take your rug out for drying after cleaning to prevent over-soaking. 


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Cowhide area rugs are known to be one of the most long-lasting forms of rugs. Any other sort of rug takes a lot of damage and even if you take the best care of them as much as you possibly can, they would still go a maximum of around a decade. Cowhide area rugs are much more resistant. They can take a much larger amount of foot traffic and the use of all sorts. Furthermore, they’re naturally stained repellant so their fibers are much stronger too. This durability allows them to be used for many years as their natural look and feel are maintained throughout.


Even besides all practical purposes, the main reason to buy any rug is to add a beautiful touch to your home decor; and on that it delivers. Cowhide rugs add a great natural earthy touch to your house which instantly lifts your room’s look. When it comes to versatility, cowhide rugs perfectly deliver that part too. Cowhide rugs can virtually be placed anywhere in your house. You can place them on the floor in any room at all or you can even hang them on walls if you prefer. Since there are so many variations of cowhide patterns, you can find any color that is fit for your decor and place it in your home. If you take proper care of your rug, then it can be a valuable part of your home.


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Making Of Cowhide Rugs

Cowhides are usually selected by their patterns, color, and condition. After being selected they go through the process of curing which removes chances of molting and removes unwanted colors. This is done by salting and washing the hides over two weeks, after which they are ready for the next step. Then comes the tanning; there are two ways to go about it. Vegetable tanning is a natural process that uses tannic acid from trees and takes about 6 months. It is an environmentally friendly process but a very long one. Chrome tanning is the second process which is much faster than the previous but is significantly damaging to the environment. Next is the treating of the cowhide. This is done in various ways to give it a polished finish look. After that, it is ready to be sold in the market. 


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Cowhide Rugs Cruel

Cowhide rugs do not traditionally involve animal cruelty. Cowhides are mostly a by-product of farms that use cows for meat and other purposes. Unlike the fur industry, which employs many unsafe and cruel practices on animals; cowhide rugs are mostly made of cows being used for other purposes, cows are not specifically cut open just for their skin. Of course, if you’re vegan and find the killing of animals to be cruel in any way then that’s another story, but cowhides are taken after an animal is dead and about to be used for another purpose. Which means the animal does not go under any additional suffering for cowhide rugs. 

Clean My Cowhide Rug

Cowhide rugs are usually very easy to clean, especially small cowhide rugs that do not require much effort in cleaning due to the nature of their fibers. There are some specific techniques that you should use while cleaning your rug to ensure maximum cleanliness without damaging them. Here is a guide for you to clean your cowhide rug.


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Regular Vacuuming

Vacuuming your cowhide rug should come as just a normal part of cleaning your house. As you regularly vacuum the rest of your home, make sure to include your cowhide rug as well. Vacuuming the rug regularly keeps it clean and prevents dust from depositing on it.  Make sure to vacuum in the direction of the cow hair and not have spinning on your vacuum as it can damage the hair. 

Shake It Off

Since a cowhide rug has natural hair fibers, dust and dirt do not get stuck in them and can be removed easily. So a simpler way to clean it is to take it outside and to shake the rug till the dust and dirt are removed. This is a simple and less damaging method compared to vacuuming. Make sure not to beat your rug or shake it too hard or too much to avoid damaging the rug.


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Keep Rotating

Most people lace their cowhide area rugs on the floor which means they experience quite a lot of foot traffic. This will gradually amount to wear and tear and damage your rug. IF you don’t change its position, then parts of the rug may become more worn out than others and leave you with a rug that is uneven in quality. So make sure to regularly rotate your rug to avoid it looking off-balance. 

Brush It Regularly

Just like the coat of any animal, regular brushing maintains the shine and look of the hair. Your cowhide rug will benefit greatly from being brushed regularly. Brushing can be a great way to specifically target areas. It can reach parts of your rug that a vacuum may miss and can easily remove all dirt. You must, however, remain gentle to avoid harming the hair. 


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Clean Spills Instantly

Liquid spills can be a real pain in the neck for any sort of rug, luckily for cowhide rug owners they can get rid of that issue easily but they have to be fast. If you get to a spilled liquid quickly, it will be easy to remove and won’t cause any damage. However, if you take a long time the liquid will dry and settle in, making it hard to clean and damaging your rug in the process.

Clean Food And Grease

If any food or grease falls on your rug then you should clean whatever can be cleaned at a surface level by scraping it. You can use the blunt part of a knife or similar objects to do so. However, there will be particles of the food or grease that are left behind. Wait for these to harden and then remove them in the same manner.


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How Do I Take Care Of My Cowhide Rug?

Fortunately, Cowhide rugs are very low maintenance. Cleaning them is extremely easy as mentioned before since they have natural hair fibers and do not catch stains or dirt easily. They require very little special care due to their high durability and ability to last for years. However, they do require extra care in some regards. You must be careful not to let your rug get wet for a long period. It’s fine if you use a little amount of water to clean your rug or steam it but large quantities of water can severely damage it. If a significant portion of your rug is soaked and not dried immediately then that portion may be damaged permanently. So it is essential to use as little water as possible on your rug in cleaning and never let it get wet otherwise.

Another issue regarding cowhide rugs is pets. While generally, pets are not a threat to your rug, their fluids and aggressive behavior can be a problem. If your dog has a habit of chewing on rugs then that’s a big issue as the hairs can be damaged. It can also be dangerous for your dog as it may choke on the cow hairs. Animals urinating on cowhide rugs are also an issue. Animal urine is naturally alkaline and can deteriorate your cow hairs. So if your animal does urinate on the rug you should clean it as soon as possible to avoid deterioration of your rug’s hairs. 


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Select A Good Cowhide Rug

Know Where It’s From

Many websites and companies have cowhide rugs for sale but not every company offers the same quality. It is unanimously agreed upon that Brazilian cowhide rugsArgentinian, French, and Columbian rugs have the highest quality cowhides, so if your cowhides are from these regions then you’re in good hands. High-quality manufacturers use the best techniques and products in preparing the cowhide; such as special salts and oils during the tanning process to produce the softest and top-quality rugs. Looking at the company’s background is also important; you must check their animal cruelty policies to see if they use cows that have been raised for dairy and meat. 


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Test The Quality

There are a few simple quality tests you can perform on a cowhide rug to know whether it's a high-quality cowhide rug, a cheap cowhide rug or in some cases even a faux cowhide rug.  Try bunching up the rug and letting it fall freely. If it collects itself easily without any wrinkles, then it is a high-quality rug, if not then it’s probably made from subpar materials. You can also do a smell test if the previous method is not feasible. Leather has a very specific smell that you can easily detect. If it smells like real leather then that is a testament to its quality. Even by looking at a cowhide rug you can tell its quality. If the coat looks shiny and healthy then you have nothing to worry about since it is probably quite a high-quality product. However, if you order your rug online then it’s impossible to do such tests on your rug. In that case, you should always make sure that the company you’re buying from has a good return policy. A good reputable company would not have shady return policies. That way you can test its quality once it arrives, and if it is not up to your standards, you can send it back.


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Choosing The Coat

This part is quite tricky; it requires you to have good knowledge about what pattern would go with your decor. Many people find it troublesome as it's not often that you buy decor with such designs so you don’t know what works and what doesn’t. There is a variety of patterns that are available on the market that you can choose from:


Spotted designs can add a western look to any room they’re in. This is a more common and traditional pattern used in various cowhide rugs due to its casual look and availability in various colors. Tri-colored spotted rugs are great for people who want to add more range and variety to their decor.


Brindle rugs come in many colors, they all have a patchy or striped pattern that varies and changes with every hide. Lighter and darker colors both are quite trendy and work well in a professional setting like an office.


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Speckled hides are often confused with spotted hides; However, unlike spotted hides that have defined spots and patches, speckled hides have a more random look. Almost like ink blots that have been spurt everywhere. These types of rugs work well in both traditional western settings and modern style settings.


While most cowhide rugs have the natural markings and patterns of a cowhide, you can also find some stenciled types. Stenciled cowhides have different patterns and designs on them that have been done artificially. They have all the benefits of natural pattern rugs but allow you to have a more diverse looking rug with more complex patterns.

Acid Washed

Acid washed cowhide rugs aren’t a completely separate type of cowhide rug but an add-on. Acid washed rugs have artificial color added on to them. The acid wash makes it possible for you to get any color that isn’t naturally the color of a cowhide. Silver or gold acid washed cowhide rugs can add a posher and finished look to any room you put them in.

Cowhide rugs can be a great addition to any area, whether it be a household or a professional setting. They give a very warm natural vibe to your place and have many benefits. They last for decades and are easy to handle. After these tips finding a good quality cowhide rug should be a relatively easy task. If you follow these tips and keep them in mind when you go shopping for cowhide rugs. Get the most high quality rugs from RugKnots!


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Sue L.

I recently ordered a cowhide rug. Unfortunately, on one particular section it has all sorts of leather bits (from the back, as it was folded up on itself) stuck into the cowhide hair. I don’t know how to remove them. Any ideas?

Taylor Hansen

It’s interesting that you have to brush the cowhide rug regularly to remove any dirt missed from a vacuum. I’m wanting to get a cowhide rug to put in my new cabin and I’m worried about upkeeping it. It’s probably smart to clean it every day so it looks the best in my cabin.