Last week, Javier was in the home of one of our clients. It’s a beautiful contemporary farmhouse and he was there to clean the carpeting upstairs. When he walked in the front door, he noticed a beautiful cowhide rug sitting in the entrance.

It looked to be in great shape, but the edges were starting to curl as you can see from our pictures. It also didn’t seem to have a firm position on the ground, as there was no pad under it.

Dutifully, Javier suggested to the customer that we treat their curled edges with a little bit of moisturizing gel and recommended a custom cut pad for underneath.

Cowhide rugs are very durable because they are top grain leather,  and they are easy to clean because the hair has left intact, but they all have the same issue of curling edges as the hide starts to lose moisture. Because the hair is left on the hide, it prevents you from being able to moisturize it the way you would a normal piece of leather. The only way to moisturize is from the suede side – this doesn’t take your typical leather conditioner because of its unfinished state. Using moisturizing gel (which is what we use for suede and unfinished leathers) over the entire hide would be cost prohibitive, so we treat the curled edges and always recommend a pad. Pad does a number of things.

  1. It protects the hide from unnecessary wear as it reduces friction – giving feet a softer surface and cushioning for the rug.
  2. It prevents the rug from slipping and sliding over the floor, make it safer – particularly for an entry rug and more so in this case a rug at the bottom of the stairs.
  3. It also prevents damage to the hardwood flooring under the rug. Every time the rug shifts and moves, it causes small scratches in the flooring, and over time will dull and strip the finish.
  4. Protects the hide from loss of moisture. Our pads are natural rubber on the floor contact side, and felted wool on the rug contact side. Wool naturally has a higher moisture content than wood, so it will help lessen the loss of moisture from the hide.
  5. And finally, because the pad is cut slightly smaller than the outline of the rug, the edges are allowed to fall slightly which helps prevent curling. In the rug here, it will take some time for the edges to do that, but in time the rug will have a nicer edge to it as it drapes down the slight step – our pads are 1/4 inch thick.

So we laid out the rug, traced the outline on the pad, cut it to size (less 1-1/2″ all around) and placed it perfectly for her.

We asked the client for a testimonial following her experience.

“I can’t articulate how much different the rug looks and feels now! I guess you could say that it went from being a throw rug to being a designer rug. It feels so much more intentional in the space and it is so much better to walk across. As soon as they put the pad under the rug and set it all up, my dog came over and laid down. She never lays on that rug!” Juliane Bringham – San Rafael

The client was kind enough to send us a picture of that!

Click here for our blog post about why you need a pad for your rug, and to our page on rug pad for more details. Give us a call if you have a rug to save or just want a nicer look and feel to an area rug in your home.

Happy Cleaning!