A cowhide rug makes a stylish floor covering in any room, but this type of accessory is particularly popular in apartments or homes with hard floors. Unfortunately, curling edges are a common and annoying problem that homeowners face with cowhides, and if you don't fix the issue, somebody could trip over the rug. If a curling cowhide rug is driving you to distraction, find out what you can do about it here.
Why cowhide rugs curl
Poor quality, thin cowhide rugs are more prone to curl than their top-quality counterparts, but even the best rugs can curl at the edges. The most common cause of a curling cowhide rug is heat. Heat from sunlight, underfloor heating, an open fire or a radiator will dry out the hide, causing the skin to contract. When this happens, the edges of the rug will start to curl. If you don't do something about it, the leather may ultimately crack and leave permanent damage.
Curling may happen more quickly or more obviously if your rug is in an area that gets a lot of foot traffic. Human or animal footsteps in the home can accelerate the curling on a cowhide that has started to dry out. Cowhides are most prone to curling around the narrower parts like the front legs or the cheek leather near the head.
Flattening curling edges
It's relatively easy to flatten the curling edges on a cowhide rug. Lightly mist the top and bottom of the rug with warm, clean water. Don't saturate the rug. Just use enough water to make the hide slightly damp. You can also use leather conditioner instead of water.
Place the damp, curled edge between two towels, so there is something to absorb the moisture. You should then place some heavy books or ornaments on top of the sandwiched hide to flatten the curled edge. You'll probably need to leave the hide to flatten for several hours before you get the results you want.
For a quicker fix, you can use a steam iron, but make sure you have a thick enough cloth on top of the hide to protect the rug from the iron's hot surface.
Trimming curled edges
If certain edges of the hide keep curling, you may decide to trim small pieces off. Use a sharp, clean craft knife to carefully cut the offending pieces off. Trim from the underside of the hide, as this will cut away the leather without trimming the hair. Hair on the topside will then fall over the edge, leaving you with a more attractive finish.
A curling cow hide is an annoying problem that could create a trip hazard. Talk to a specialist cow hide supplier for more information and advice.