How to Care for a Tanned Hide

Written by jennifer hench
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How to Care for a Tanned Hide
Keeping a tanned hide clean helps preserve the piece. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Keeping and displaying tanned hides -- the cured skins of animals -- is a way to preserve a portion of an animal. A hide may, for example, be kept by a hunter as a trophy piece or it may simply serve a decorative purpose. Whatever the case may be, tanned hides need to be cared for in order to keep them clean and presentable. Properly maintaining a tanned hide requires routine maintenance to ensure that it looks good and does not suffer the effects of ageing and potential deterioration.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Soft cloths
  • Vacuum with upholstery and soft bristle attachments
  • Wall clips
  • Dehumidifier
  • Dark coloured cover
  • Detergent

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  1. 1

    Remove dust and loose dirt from the hide on a routine basis. Visually inspect it once every two weeks to see if dust has collected. Take the hide outside and shake it to remove dust. Hides will attract dirt and dust in varying quantities, depending on where they are kept.

  2. 2

    Lay the hide flat on a clean, dry surface. Use a soft cloth and brush the hide gently but firmly to loosen any remaining dust. Take the hide back outside and shake it again to remove the loosened dust and dirt. Use a vacuum with an upholstery or soft bristle attachment to remove excess dirt and debris from the top of the hide.

  3. 3

    Display the hide so that it is flat. Hang the hide on a wall, for example, to keep it flat and stretched out. Use wall clips to hang the hide so that you do not need to poke holes through it. If you do not have a wall to hang the hide on, consider using it as a bedspread or rug. Doing so will also help keep the hide flat.

  4. 4

    Use a dehumidifier in the room or area where the hide is kept to prevent moisture from building up. Excessive moisture could potentially weaken the hide or cause mould to form.

  5. 5

    Put the hide in storage if you do not have a suitable space to display it. Use a dark coloured cover to protect it from sun damage. Store the hide in a cool and dry location. If storing the hide in this way, make sure to take it out every few months in order to stretch out the material so that no permanent creases occur. Roll the hide for storage as opposed to folding.

  6. 6

    Spot clean the hide as needed by using mild washing powder and water. Rub the material gently with a soft cloth only on the areas where stains appear. Go back over the area with a damp cloth to remove any trace of the detergent. Allow the hide to thoroughly dry before putting it back into storage or out for display.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep tanned hides out of direct sunlight to avoid fading.
  • Popular places for displaying a hide are on a wall or thrown over the back of a couch.
  • Do not wash tanned hides in a washing machine.

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