Animal hides (hair-on) are tanned skins in their natural shape and colouring. They are tough and durable but they also require some care and maintenance to maintain their look and feel. Most commonly used in a domestic environment, animal hides can be used for a multitude of purposes including floor or chair coverings, bed liners, wall displays or infant rugs.
The information below is designed to be used for animal hides supplied by Cowrug.com.au and considers the tanning processes used. While most of the information is generic, the chemicals and methods used in tanning, as well as the particular animal or breed, can result in some slight changes needed for the best care of a particular hide. If your hide has been purchased from another supplier, you should seek specific care details directly from them.
Cow and Calf Hides
Cow hides are most popular as floor coverings in a domestic environment and have a natural grip on the underside of the hide to prevent slipping and moving. On a tile, vinyl or wooden surface, small sticky dots on the underside of the hide will also keep to keep it in place and prevent the edges lifting. Cow hides should not be used as a floor covering in wet areas or areas with direct sun or concentrated heat. In a traffic area, it is unavoidable that a hide mat will show wear although rotating the hide occasionally will help to even out wear and traffic marks.
To keep your cow hide clean and free of dirt and dust build-up, simply include your cow hide as part of your normal domestic cleaning routine. Cow hides can be vacuumed as part of your normal vacuuming cycle and a shake-out outside will also help to loosen any particles from the hairs. Brushing the hide with a hard plastic brush, in the direction of the hair, will help keep the hairs soft and also loosen small dust and dirt particles from the hairs.
Spills should be treated immediately while the liquid is pooled on the surface of the hair. Spills left to sit on the hide will eventually be absorbed into the leather and may not be able to be removed. Small spills and light soiling can be treated with a mild, non-alkaline soapy solution (eg. shampoo and water), wiping in the direction of the hair. Avoid soaking the hide. Heavy stains such as wine, coffee, tea, juice and bodily fluids should be soaked up immediately with a paper towel and sponge, scrape any solid matter off the hide, don’t rub. Wipe the stain with a damp cloth and a mild soapy solution to remove the excess fluid then rub vigorously to release the deep staining.
You can balance the PH levels of your hide and help eliminate unpleasant odours by wiping over your hide with a cloth damped in a solution of 5% vinegar and 95% water.
Cow hides can not be hand or machine washed or dry cleaned. You should avoid leaving your cow hide in exposed sunlight or concentrated heat which can warp or shrink the hide or cause the edges to roll up. Cow hides can be stored folded, any creases will relax within a few days after unfolding.
Cow Patchwork Rugs
Cow Patch Rugs are made up of a patchwork of various cow hides, usually with a hide border and sometimes lacework edging.
Patch Rugs can be treated in much the same way as cow hides although additional attention should be paid to seams and joins during vacuuming. If the Patch Rug is used as a floor covering, lacework edging can loosen on occasion especially if in a traffic area. If this occurs, simply relace and hold the end in place with a dab of glue or a few small stitches. It is best to do this as soon as possible to avoid ripping or damaging the lace.