What's the best way to clean brushes and grooming tools?
A nice bath in some nolvasan solution or even a mild shampoo does the trick.
It's one thing to groom your horse, it's another to groom your grooming tools. No use in trying to clean a dirty horse with dirty brushes, right? Even if I'm not going to be scrubbing my horse's brushes clean, I like to keep them as clean as I can during use. I like to "bang" my curry comb against a hard surface to get all of the dirt out as I curry along. Some days, I'm "banging" the curry comb a few times for each side of the horse. Sometimes I use the floor, other times I will bang the dirt out of the curry comb on the wooden handle of the brush that I'm also holding. If you use the floor, there's less dust and dirt floating around.
On a daily basis, I will also brush my brushes with bristles with each other to remove some of the dirt and dust. Some folks like to hold a metal curry comb in one hand and use it as a scraper for the brushes as they go along the horse. (FYI - love metal curry combs for keeping your brushes clean. For use on a horse I prefer to use them cautiously and not over the hips, shoulders, or other bony areas.)
There's also a bit of satisfaction about smacking your curry on the ground and seeing your hard work spill out. Instant gratification!
Every now and again (I aim for weekly or so), I will do a deep wash with all of my brushes and curry combs. I usually end up also washing the brush box, too, as that tends to be a collection of hair and dust and gunk.
Never underestimate the power of baking soda to clean your grooming tools. Works wonders on my Hands On Gloves! For more on baking soda, read this article.
A good soak and scrub in warm water with nolvasan solution, or even a mild horse shampoo will work well. I will use a bucket, swirl it all around and let it soak for a few minutes. I then rinse thoroughly with warmish water for a few minutes. I like to dry my brushes with the bristles facing down or to the side - a wood handle will get a little too wet if the bristles drain into the wood. I have a laundry rack that unfolds, which is perfect for drying brushes and blankets. You can also dry in the grass, on the ground, or any place out of the way of curious horses.
Drying your brushes on their side is a good way to preserve the handle.
Because my horses have their own set of grooming tools that are not shared amongst the barn, I find that I may be able to go a bit longer between deep cleanings. When each horse has their own set, this allows for easy contaiment of skin issues, like rain rot, that can be transmitted from horse to horse.
What are your ideas about cleaning brushes? How often do you deep clean your horse's brushes?