How to Clean Your Favorite Animal RugsAnimal rugs allow homeowners to create a unique style within their homes. Whether displayed on walls or used as actual rugs on the floor, these rugs made from animal hides are durable, attractive conversation pieces. These pieces charm some and raise the ire of others. Many believe no one should display the hides of animals in their homes. They feel it shows a lack of concern for living things. Some people make animal rugs from hides of animals that are eaten, ensuring that no part of the animal goes to waste.

Despite your personal feelings about animals—and rugs made from them—if you own one you must address the issue of cleaning it. You either employ a maid service that will perform this chore for you, or are left to fend for yourself and clean it on your own.

Items Needed for Cleaning Animal Rugs

The items needed for cleaning one of these rugs may vary depending upon what kind of animal hide it is made from, or if it is man made. Many of them require simple staples that you likely already have inside your home.

  • Straw bristled broom
  • Soft cleaning brush
  • White vinegar
  • Plastic spray bottle
  • Clean cellulose sponge
  • Vegetable oil
  • Soft cleaning cloths or clean rags
  • Leather sealant/waterproofing solution
  • Suede brush

Simple Cleaning

While you should never vacuum your animal rugs, they do require frequent cleaning—the same way any other area rugs in your homes do. Make sure any maid service you hire knows this. Shaking these rugs out on a weekly basis will remove a majority of the dust and debris. Leaving them to hang over a railing or clothesline in the warm sun is a great way to freshen these rugs.

How to Clean Your Favorite Animal Rugs and hides in your home

More Detailed Cleaning

As with everything within your home, animal rugs sometimes become dirty enough to require a more detailed cleaning. If you don’t employ a maid service to take care of such chores, it falls upon you to clean them.

Begin by using your straw bristled broom or a soft cleaning brush and brushing the animal hide in the direction of the grain or the fur growth. This will eliminate even more dust, dirt, and debris than shaking them out. If your animal rug doesn’t have fur, a suede brush makes this step of the cleaning process easy. Simply brush the side of the rug that receives traffic.


If your animal rugs are more leather-like than furry, you will want to protect them after they’ve been cleaned. A commercial waterproofing spray—much like one you’d use for winter boots or shoes you wear outside in inclement weather—works well. Leather sealant is another option.

Simply apply the selected product via the manufacturer’s instructions. If your animal rugs are fur-laden you will skip this step. Once you have performed the spot cleaning with the vinegar and water solution, hang the rug or rugs outside for a blast of fresh air and sunshine.

How to Clean Your Favorite Animal Rugs and take away stains


If your animal rugs are stained or have areas that appear dingy, you need to clean them the way you would any other item in your home. Start by mixing 95 percent tap water with 5 percent white vinegar in a plastic spray bottle. Shake gently to mix. Spray any soiled areas on the animal hide with this mixture. Wipe the areas with a clean sponge dampened in water and wrung out.

If the animal hide is leather-like, you may clean and condition it with a bit of vegetable oil. Using your fingers, apply a few drops of the oil to the affected area if there are stains. Work the oil into the hide until the stain has lightened or is gone. Continue to work small amounts of the oil into the entire animal rug until it is both cleaned and conditioned—spending more time on soiled areas.

Helpful Hints

If a maid service doesn’t do your housecleaning, it is up to you to maintain the investment you’ve made in your animal rugs. And as you well know—most of these rugs are costly. There are a few simple steps you can take to prevent them from becoming soiled in the first place.

  1. Don’t place your animal rugs in a high traffic area.
  2. Set floor mats both inside and outside of your doors so people will wipe their feet and not track outside dirt onto your rugs.
  3. Animal rugs should not be placed in areas where people will be eating or drinking.

Enjoy these design statements throughout your home in multiple rooms. Following these simple steps to cleaning and maintaining your animal rugs will ensure you enjoy them for many years to come.