Whatever the weather, you need to make sure your horse is dry and comfortable. Horse rugs and turnout sheets are the perfect solution. These items repel water and also allow your horse to adjust to temperature changes, there are many different types of horse rugs but they all share the fact that they will need to be cleaned at some stage.
Being on the horse for so much time they inevitably get dirty and so require cleaning to keep them in top shape and provide the best performance at improving your horse's comfort.
This guide will help you with cleaning and maintaining your rugs, as always if you have a specific question or anything we haven't covered here please get in touch with me!
Why Is It Important To Clean Horse Rugs?
- Horse Comfort - By removing dirt and build up on the rug you eliminate the possibility of areas of dampness that can irritate the skin and cause sores. It will also help reduce smell of the rug
- Rug Longevity - Regular cleaning will keep the rugs in good condition to extend their life and also provides an opportunity to spot any damage or tears in the rug which you can fix while they are small.
There are 3 main options for cleaning your rugs:
- Putting them in your washing machine at home.
- Hand cleaning them at home.
- Paying for a specialist service to do it.
Before You Start Cleaning
Before you do anything, take a few moments to clean as much excess dirt, dust and crust from your horse’s blankets. This means less to scrub and less to rinse later. Use a stiff brush to get the job done right
Then get onto the buckles and straps. This is the ideal time to check over the entire blanket and look for any damage that needs attention, fixing issues when they are small will greatly improve the life of the blanket.
Also check the blanket to see if it includes specific cleaning instructions that need to be taken into consideration.
How To Wash Horse Rugs - The Options
Home Cleaning in the Washing Machine
Before opting for this option ensure your washing machine can handle these sorts of loads, you don't want to cause damage to your machine.
Use cold water as this helps keep the waterproofing intact and run it on the delicate cycle.
You should always hose down a blanket and give it a quick scrub before putting them in the machine. This will make it easier on the machine as it won't have to deal with so much dirt and muck.
Secure all straps so hardware (such as buckles, snaps, and clasps) so they are not clacking around and catching on things. This can cause damage to your blanket and to the inside of the washing machine or drier.
After running the machine you will probably want to put it on a rinse cycle a few times to ensure all the dirt and hair it clear of the system for the next use.
Use a mild detergent that's been formulated for delicate fabrics. Skip the fabric softener during the wash cycle to maintain the waterproof and breathable coating, as well as wick away sweat from the horse's body.
Hand Cleaning Them
Fill a large container with cold water and non-detergent soap. Detergent soaps can harden the proofing layer of your rug and cause it to peel off. Scrub the rug in the bucket replicating what a washing machine would do.
Alternatively you can put the blanket on the ground and drench it with soapy water and then scrub it with a brush or broom. A pressure washer can also be used for this just like you would clean your car in a car washing bay.
Once you are happy with the cleanliness of the rug, take your hose and rinse it with cold water to remove all the soap.
Allow the blankets to thoroughly dry after cleaning, depending on your climate this may mean you need to turn them over to ensure they are totally dry. Folding and storing a damp rug will likely result in mold growing with will mean you will need to clean it again before being able to use it.
There are specialist horse rug cleaning services available which may be a better option for you for its simple convenience and quality results. They have washing machines and driers built for heavy duty garments and can guarantee a high quality end result.
Business doing this can be your local equestrian shop or even commercial laundromats which may offer it if the quantity of rugs to be cleaned is bigger.
A benefit of having a professional doing it is some of them offer a pick up and drop off service and also deliver the cleaned products neatly folded to be easily stored.
Tips On Cleaning Your Horse Rugs
- To help keep the waterproofing intact always use cold water.
- If you need to do repairs you can use dental floss as thread as it is thicker and stronger than regular sewing thread.
- You may want to clean the rugs at your local car wash utilising their high-pressure nozzles.
Once you have cleaned and dried the rugs the next important step to improve their longevity is proper storage. There are many horse rug storage options so you should be able to find a solution that fits your situation best and help ensure you get the most life out of the rugs.