One of the best things about a cowhide is how easy it is to maintain and care for.
The vast majority of all contaminants (whether soil, dust, or pet hair) come out with a simple brush of a broom.
Nguni rugs are naturally resistant to stain and discoloration. Much like our own hair, a literal mud bath won’t change the color, as there are natural oils that protect both the shine and color. The natural oils also help to keep major spills “pooled”, and a quick response time can eliminate the need for spot cleaning all together. While the majority of your hide’s maintenance is simple and easy, we know over the course of a lifetime, a few spills are bound to happen. When these dreaded spills occur, act quickly to soak up any excess amount of the liquid.
For more solid material, use the blunt edge of a knife and scrape carefully with the grain of the hair. Once you are satisfied with this first step, you typically need only a damp cloth or lightly damp sponge to restore it to its natural coloring.
For spot cleaning, simply dampen a sponge or cloth (damp, not wet!) and gently rub the affected area. If water doesn’t seem to be enough, you can use a mild soap or shampoo (baby shampoo has the fewest chemicals!) and again, gently rub the area, going in the direction of the hair as much as possible. In our experience, this has worked on everything from a crushed blackberry to a bit of red wine. After using any type of cleaning agent, or even a bit of excess water, it is wise to use the Hide Treatment Product to put natural oils back into the hide and protect it’s longevity.
What about tougher stains, like that of a pet “leaving its mark” on your precious carpet? If none of the above seems to work, you have two main options. The first, and preferred, is to try a steam cleaning option. This prevents excessive soaking of the hide, which can shorten the lifespan of your cowhide. As your cowhide is similar to any other kind of leather, excessive amounts of water can dry it out or cause other types of water damage. Because of this, your absolute last resort for any serious stain is to wet it and scrub it like you would almost any other type of serious stain. When you are satisfied the stain is gone, make sure to dry your cowhide away from direct sunlight.
Please note give it a week or two before attempting these instructions as the wrinkles should resolve themselves.
What You Need
2 rags (for absorbing water)
pile of heavy books
1. Lightly spray the top and underneath of the cowhide with water. You don’t need to saturate, but just dampen. I used about 5 good sprays on each side of mine.
2. Place a dishrag or old towel underneath the hide so that your floor doesn’t get wet. And place one one top of the curling piece.
3. Set a pile of heavy books on top of the curling piece and leave it there for a couple of hours, or overnight.
4. Voila. The cowhide is now laying flat and will no longer cause you tiny moments of torment.
This method is basically a way to re-stretch the hide so you can do it over and over, as needed.