Recently a customer asked if she could wash the seven Zulucow cushions she’d just bought (for her beautiful contemporary converted barn) in the washing machine.
My cowhide rugs and cowhide cushions are of the highest quality and are very easy to maintain. However, a washing machine cycle would ruin ZC’s cushions and cowhide rugs as they are carefully crafted out of the finest, natural Nguni leather and cowhide all the way from Zululand in South Africa. It would be like putting your shoes or a leather jacket in the washing machine (the leather would harden, shrink and change shape). For similar reasons cowhide rugs and cushions shouldn’t be dry cleaned.
ZC’s cowhide rugs are perfect for busy areas of the home such as halls and sitting rooms; as they are more durable and resistant to dirt and stains compared to other types of rugs.
Cowhide doesn’t absorb dirt because the hair on the hide is not a hollow fibre. Yet from time to time, they may require attention if an accident occurs. So I thought it was time to explain more…
If muddy feet or dirty dog paws dirty your cowhide rugs and cowhide cushions, here’s what to do:
1. Let the dirt/mud dry and then shake the cowhide rug out; hang it over a gate or wall and give it a bang outside with a hand-brush.
2. You can remove persistent dirt by brushing it, in the direction of the hair, with a brush; or some people like to vacuum their cowhide rugs (in the direction of the hair), which is absolutely fine.
To remove stains or marks on a cowhide cushion or rug:
1. Just soak up the wine or food spill with a paper towel or sponge as soon as possible and that’s it.
2. For stains, use a damp (not wet) cloth from a bowl of soapy water (use non-alkaline soap or organic hair shampoo) to wipe away the wine/foodstain. Or use a solution of mostly water and 5% of organic white vinegar to clean the stain. Remember not to get the hide too wet.
Rinse the cloth out in fresh water and wipe again to remove the soap until clean.
3. If your cowhide rug does get damp, lie it flat on the floor (with a heavy book on it) in room temperature or outside in the shade and not in harsh direct sunlight as this will harden it. (More a concern in Africa than England!)
(P.S. Don’t wear high heels on your gorgeous cowhide rug as the heels will break the hair.)
To clean the suede on the back of the cushions:
1. Similarly absorb any wine spills with a paper towel and wipe the suede down with a slightly damp soapy cloth or sponge.
2. Repeat as above.
That’s it! They’re very easy to maintain and look after, even I can manage it with my filthy herd of rugby and football boot tramping boys!
Over to you:
To find out more about the story behind my sustainably sourced cowhide rugs, cushions and cowhide bags, creating jobs in South Africa, go to: zulucow.co.uk. Do you have any experience of owning cowhide rugs and appreciate how hardy they are, with animals and children. Or do you have any cleaning tips of your own? I’d love to hear about them, and/or do send me some pix.
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