Can You Vacuum A Cowhide Rug?

Generally speaking, a cowhide rug is very easy to keep clean, but can you vacuum a cowhide rug or does it require special treatment?

A cowhide rug can be vacuumed so long as you do it correctly and follow these helpful tips: Vacuum using suction only, turn off the beater brush, and vacuum from the middle of the rug outward.

In the rest of this article, we will explore vacuuming cowhide rugs in more detail, as well as some maintenance tips you can use to keep your rug in top condition.

What is a Cowhide Rug?

Cowhide rugs are very soft and durable. Many people like them because of their organic or rustic look. Others prefer cowhide rugs because they are made out of leather that stands up to high traffic areas.

Cowhide rugs are great for those who suffer from allergies since the rugs are hypoallergenic. They are also environmentally friendly, stain-resistant, and easy to clean.

As the name implies, a cowhide rug is made from the skin, or hide, and the hair of a cow. They are manufactured and cured with either vegetable tanning or chrome tanning. Sometimes, an over-dyeing process is used to create elaborate prints on the rug.

How to Vacuum a Cow Hide Rug

You don’t need a special vacuum to use on cowhide. Any type of vacuum is safe provided you use the proper settings. A vacuum that allows for a variety of settings meant for soft carpets and rugs is ideal.

A good vacuum will do three things when used on a rug:

  1. loosen
  2. lift
  3. suction

It will also create clean lines on carpeting or rugs. For cowhide rugs, you will want to create these lines in the direction of the cow hairs on the rug.

The settings of the vacuum are also important, otherwise, you may find your vacuum becomes too difficult to move.

Suction Setting

First, be sure to always turn off the beater brush if the vacuum comes equipped with one.

Vacuum a cowhide rug using suction only. Reduce the suction power on the vacuum cleaner to a setting that would be appropriate for upholstery or for curtains. Use the upholstery attachment if one came with your vacuum.

Head Setting

Set the head of the vacuum cleaner to a hard floor setting.

If the vacuum has a beater brush, turn it off to keep from pulling out the hairs that are part of the rug. Make sure the brush is in a down position so that while the vacuum is sucking up dirt and dust, it is also brushing the rug at the same time.

Vacuuming Position

Follow these helpful vacuuming tips for what position to vacuum:

  1. To prevent the hairs from coming out of the rug, always vacuum a cowhide rug in the direction of the hair that makes up the rug.
  2. Stand in the center of the rug.
  3. Start vacuuming from the middle of the rug outward.
  4. Push the vacuum cleaner toward the outside edge.
  5. Let it run off of the edge of the rug.
  6. Do not pull the vacuum head back toward you. Instead, once it reaches the edge of the rug, lift up the extension hose and place it back in the center of the rug.
  7. Make another sweep across the rug toward the outer edge.
  8. Keep repeating this motion until you have finished a complete 360-degree circle and covered every section of the cowhide rug.
  9. When you have completed a full circle, you will know that you have vacuumed every section of the rug.

It’s also a good idea to turn the rug over and vacuum from the bottom of the rug as well.

Additional Cleaning Tips

If there is still some hair or other debris stuck in the rug after vacuuming it, use a large plastic bristly scrubbing brush to loosen the stubborn dirt. Be sure to brush in the direction of the rug hairs, and do so gently. Once the debris is loosened, run the vacuum over the rug one more time.

Never over-soak a cowhide rug with water, since it could change the shape of the rug once it’s dry. If it does get exposed to too much moisture, take it outside and let it dry out in the sun.

Just make sure it is not left in direct sunlight or so hot to fade the color.


There are a couple of things to never do when cleaning a cowhide rug:

  • Never machine wash a cowhide rug
  • Never send it to the dry cleaners

If you follow these pieces of advice you should have no problems in the future.

Spot Cleaning Cowhide Rugs

If the cowhide rug has a stain, there are a few ways to spot clean it. The main thing to remember is to never over saturate the rug. Follow these spot cleaning tips:

Apply eucalyptus essential oil directly onto the stain. The eucalyptus will help dissolve the stain fibers to make them easier to clean.

If the stain is wet, use a clean, dry towel to blot up the excess liquid from a spill. If the stain is dry, start with a brush or by gently rubbing the stained area with the edge of a spoon or other similar object that has a  dull straight edge.

Use a spray bottle to apply warm water directly onto the stain. Do not use hot water. Use a cloth to blot the area dry while wiping up the stain until it is gone and the rug is dry.

If the stain is deep-set in, use a cowhide cleaner soap designed specifically for cowhide rugs.

When to Hire a Professional

Sometimes, a cowhide rug may become so stained that nothing you attempt in spot cleaning touches the stain.

If this happens, it’s time to call in a professional. Call someone who has experience working with cowhide rugs. Specifically, ask about their skills with cowhide before hiring a professional to clean your rug.

Maintenance Tips

In addition to weekly vacuuming, and proper spot cleaning, keep your cowhide rug looking great by properly maintaining it from the beginning.

  • Every so often, move heavy furniture that is sitting on top of the rug, so it doesn’t leave marks or pull out rug hairs as it sits in one place for a long time.
  • Even if the rug is not positioned under furniture, rotate the cowhide rug on a regular basis so that high traffic areas don’t wear down the rug.
  • Tend to any and all spills as quickly as possible.
  • If any water or moisture gets on the rug, make sure that you dry it completely.
  • If a rug gets soaking wet, it can change its shape as it dries.
  • If the rug does become wet, and you dry it out, be sure to stretch out any creases or folds after it is completely dried.
  • If you decide to store the rug away for a while, be sure to store it properly. Place it in a cool, dark, dry location that is well ventilated, so it doesn’t start to mold. Cover the rug with a sheet to keep excess dirt and dust away and to protect it from direct sunlight.

Final Thoughts

Not only can you vacuum a cowhide rug, but it is the preferred cleaning method so long as you do it correctly.

Regular vacuuming keeps the rug looking great and extends the life of the attractive and durable floor covering. If you keep your cowhide rug cleaned properly and well maintained, visitors may think it’s brand new even years after you purchased it for your floor.