How To: Care for your Hide
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Each and every cowhide is unique and varies in dynamic ways. The characteristics of hides include the color, size, shape, rigidness, length of hair, coat shine, hair texture, patterns, and the dye or finish. The combination of these factors contribute to the personality of the individual hide, thus aiding in the transforming of an ordinary space into something you can call home. Hides can subtly blend into the natural setting of a rustic home, stand out in a contemporary space, or bring some texture in from the outdoors, adding in elements of warmth and style. For serious style with a capital S, our acid washed and metallic dyed hides in silver or gold finish really make a statement, bringing art and durability together. But of course we hear all the time, "how do you clean it"?
Cowhides are extremely durable and stain resistant; this makes them suitable to last for years to come with very low maintenance. Natural oils in the hair cause any liquid to bead up on the surface, essentially floating, thus allowing anything from red wine to black coffee to be quickly absorbed, removed, and dried with a cotton or paper towel. This makes it quick and easy to clean so if you spill something, don’t sweat it!
However, you must remember that cowhides are natural thus easily affected by their surrounding environment. We put together a brief guide so you can be sure with the right handling and care your hides will last for years. Always remember that it is never a good idea to wash or dry clean a hide. Getting it soaking wet or exposing it to harsh chemicals will both cause severe damage. Follow these steps to ensure your cowhide looks great and lasts:
- Occasionally bring your cowhide outside and give it a vigorous shake. This will remove the majority of dirt and dust particles without the risk of any damage.
- While you can vacuum as with any other rug, we suggest you do so carefully. Make sure the vacuum brush is not running and if it cannot be stopped, use the hose. Always work in the same direction as the hair.
- A sharp object can be used to remove dried dirt or other substances, scraping in the same direction as the hair.
- Use a mild soap and a bit of water to remove any remaining stains, then go over it using a soft brush. Once finished, dab any remaining moisture with a fresh towel.
- If your hide needs a serious cleaning, it can be steamed. In this case seek a professional who works with leather. It is important to remember that the hide should not be soaked with excess water.
After cleaning, if the hide is damp, hang dry allowing the excess moisture to escape. If drying outside face the hair side down in order to protect it from the sun and heat. Furthermore, if you do notice any curling or wrinkling around the edges keep your hide out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources as this will cause the material to dry up. At the first signs of curling, spray some water on the skin side and gently massage the rug. Then place something heavy on top of the corner such as an encyclopedia, leave this for a day or two, and your hide will straighten itself out. We hope you enjoy these natural works of art!