How do I clean the inside of my horse trailer?
Well, you have clearly lost a huge bet. Cleaning the inside of a horse trailer is quite the “undertaking”, but I have a few tricks that make this task easier. The first tip is obvious, make another double or nothing bet and take your chances!
All kidding aside, you can split this job into two pieces, tack room and horse area. Both areas need to be stripped “naked” to be thoroughly cleaned. In the tack room, this is a great chance to muck out unused stuff, organize things, and also check to be sure your tack and stored items are in good working order. If you are so inclined, you could give everything a cleaning before you put it back in the trailer….
In the tack room of your horse trailer, the walls may need to be wiped down, and the flooring vacuumed or thoroughly swept. I have carpet in my tack area, which I’m not super fond of. It is easy to clean, however, with a stiff broom to gather the “stuff” and then I use the horse vacuum to get it out of the tack area.
Vinyl instead of carpet. Easy to clean!
A very enterprising person that I know actually ripped out the carpet in her tack room and replaced it with vinyl. (Photo above - also showing a spare tire and a trailer jack for flats!) So easy to do - make a paper template, take it to the home improvement center, they can cut a piece or two to fit! Much easier to clean. (Thanks Courtenay for the idea!)
Take the mats out. You gotta do it. This floor is bare metal, and can easily be corroded by time, weather, urine, and manure.
This intersection of ramp and trailer bed has been damaged by manure and urine - note the rusted metal that has broken away. Tetanus, anyone?
For the horse compartment area, this is where you gotta bring the big guns. Strip the trailer of bedding, remove your hay nets, and sweep all the dust with a broom. You may, or may not, want to remove your dividers.
Now it’s time to pull your mats. The easiest way to do this is to use a vice grip in each hand to latch onto those trailer mats and tug them out. If you have a power washer, this is the time to bust that baby out!! Power washing the inside of your trailer with mats removed is the easiest way. Then you can “sweep” out the water and/or tilt your trailer a bit so the water drains and then dries. It’s critical that you dry everything before putting your mats back! I did speak to the manufacturer of my particular trailer, and they suggested only using water, and chemical cleaners can be caustic. I’m sure a heaping scoop of elbow grease would help, too!
These bad boy vice grips (on the right) will save your fingers when pulling mats.
Any padded areas can be wiped clean with a sponge or cloth. Now’s a good time to inspect tie rings, latches, divider mechanisms, even any padding that’s on butt or shoulder bars.
For the entire horse trailer, you will also need to clean and inspect your windows. Make sure they open and close easily, the screens are solidly in place, and there’s no rust. Then you can pop your mats back in, add some shavings, and you are good to go!
This is a big task, so I suggest being thorough and double checking everything while you go. I also suggest calling your trailer’s manufacturer and asking them what the best way is to clean your horse trailer. Have fun and enjoy the muscle building opportunity!!
This is a trailer AFTER the mats are pulled. See all the gross stuff? That's the stuff that can eat your trailer floor. The mat seams may seem tight, clearly they are not!