The 3 Step Solution for How to Clean a Cowhide Rug

Gone are the days when a cowhide rug made you think of boots with spurs and wide open spaces. Maybe you’ve been enticed by seeing one on social media, and decided to invest in a cowhide rug to give your home a special style… then you realized: cleaning a cowhide rug isn’t as simple as pulling out the vacuum on occasion.

A cowhide rug is a specialty piece of decor in your home – and that means you’ve got to give it that special treatment! Below you’ll find our handy guide for how to clean your cowhide rug on your own; if you’d rather trust this job to a professional, we can help with that too. Either way, you can bring life back to your cowhide rug and have it looking picture perfect with a few simple steps.

Step 1: Shake Out Your Cowhide Rug

So you’re wondering how to clean a cowhide rug? First,  you’ll start by shaking the rug. 

Carry the rug outside and shake it off to remove dust, debris, grit, and other allergens on your rug. Shaking the rug is a great way to loosen any dust particles that may have embedded into the fabric. You can also grab a broomstick and beat the rug to remove the dust. Remember to check your neighborhood rules. Some towns have rules against shaking rugs outdoors. 

Step 2: Spot-Treat Stains

Perhaps you spilled some coffee or your little one dropped some yogurt and left a pesky stain you want to remove ASAP. The next step on this how to clean a cowhide rug guide is to remove any stains on your cowhide rug.

Luckily, it’s pretty easy to remove stains from cowhide rugs provided you have the right tools. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the cleaning items you’ll need to tackle those stains.

What You Need

  • Paper towels or rags
  • Butter knife or spoon
  • Light-colored cloth
  • Gentle clear shampoo: Baby Dove or Johnson’s Baby Shampoo are good alternatives

Step 2a: Blot Liquid and Pick Up Solids

If the stain is fresh, blot up as much liquid as possible using a rag or a paper towel. Paper towels have great absorbency given the material they’re made of. If the stain has dried and formed a crust, use a spoon or the edge of a butter knife to gently scrape them from the rug’s fibers.

Step 2b: Wipe the Area

Grab light-colored cloth – don’t overlook this tiny detail as a colored cloth can stain your rug – dampen it in water, and wipe the area. When learning how to clean a cowhide rug, always remember to work in the direction of the hair. Sometimes, water is more than enough to remove residual stains from cowhide. If the stain persists, take a look at the next step. 

Step 2c: Apply Detergent to the Stain

If water wasn’t enough to remove the stain, a mild baby shampoo will do the trick. Apply a pea-sized amount of baby shampoo to a damp cloth. Then, apply the shampoo to the cowhide and wipe to remove the stain. Remember, always work in the direction of hair growth.

Step 2d: Rinse the Area

Once you’ve successfully removed the stain, rinse the cloth in clean water and wipe the cowhide in the direction of the hair growth to remove any baby shampoo residue. 

Step 3: Carefully Vacuum Your Cowhide Rug

“Can you vacuum a cowhide rug?”, is a very common question among homeowners. The answer is a resounding “yes”. Vacuuming at the end of your cleaning session will ensure you remove the dust, dirt, grit, and any stubborn particles that may have not been released when you shook the rug. However, it’s worth taking a few considerations so as not to ruin your cowhide rug  when vacuuming it. 

A few tips to vacuum your cowhide rug:

  • Only use the suction function on the vacuum
  • Vacuum in the direction of the hair
  • Don’t use a rotating brush or beater as it can cause hair loss.

At this point, hopefully your stain is a thing of the past. These three steps for how to clean a cowhide rug have been tried and tested and generally result in a nice, clean cowhide that is ready to take center stage in your home again.

Have you tried these steps? Did they work for you? Give us a shout on social media and let us know what you think!

And, If you would like a little help with cleaning around your home, we can also help with that.


  • Jacob W. Bailey

    Jacob is the Cleveland-based founder and CEO of Summit Maids, a local cleaning company with a mission to make a mark on its community by providing good jobs to more than 1,000 people.