So you want to create a warm alpine experience in your home this winter but you are unsure about using natural hides in your home or how to care for them? Well you are in luck! Because we are here to help answer a few questions about one of the biggest trends at the moment, furs and hides.

Q. First up, do hides promote animal cruelty?

The answer is no. Hides are the natural, unbleached skin and hair of a cow or similar animal. It retains the original colouring of the animal. Cow hides and most other hides are a natural product/by-product of the food industry from the animal in question.

This means that hides are made from animals that have been used for food purposes and have not been killed purely for the hide or fur.

The idea behind this stems back thousands of years where our ancestors used to utilise the full animal for survival. They would eat the meat and use the hide to keep warm by making clothes and blankets from the hides and furs, while also reducing by-waste.

Q. Are hides hard to clean?

No! Hides are relatively easy to keep clean and in a beautiful condition. The best way to clean a hide rug is with a hard bristled broom. “Brushing” the fur is like brushing your own hair, you will brush out dirt while also creating a silky smooth and shiny rug afterwards.

For smaller furs and hides, especially ones dripped over a sofa or bed, the same concept applies, but you will use a smaller brush.

This makes hides really easy to keep clean and maintain!

Q. How are hides preserved and do they smell?

In the tannery, a traditional hair on hide tanning method is employed to ensure that the hide is soft, and less susceptible to odour and moulting. It ensures that the cowhide will last longer.

It is then naturally dried and the best hides are separated from the rest, with the ones that cannot be used in full as decorative items separated to be used as patchwork rugs.

These are usually those with damage (for example cuts and other injuries to the skin during the life of the animal) that causes the skin to tear post drying.

Although most people would agree that alligator, snake etc. hides are taboo in use for clothes and styling your interior space, the hides that can be used as a by-product from the food industry are a wonderful way to add a sustainable and natural flair into your home this coming winter.