How do I clean my horse’s sport boots?
There are as many styles and brands of horse sport boots out there, and it’s likely that most of them can be cleaned the same way - depending on what they are made of! I spent a lot of time one afternoon calling boot manufacturers and stalking their websites for cleaning instructions - here’s what I learned.
A little prep - get rid of hair and dirt before you do the deep clean - especially if you are tossing your horse's boots into the washer!
It really depends on the materials used as to how to clean them. Almost all of the suggestions start with brushing off the boots, inside and out. My favorite type of brush to use is a synthetic brush with really stiff bristles. You may want to let the boots dry, this usually makes any mud and sweat and arena dirt come of easier.
Now it really comes down to the materials. Leather boots will likely need a super soft brushing or wiping, and maybe even some conditioning so the leather doesn’t crack over time. Some soft sided boots are leather, and some hard sided boots are leather. No washers or dryers for leather!
Neoprene on the inside! Shampoo works well, as does the hose!
If the boot is some sort of neoprene, the consensus is that the neoprene can be hosed for several minutes to clean. You can, if absolutely needed, used a super mild detergent or shampoo to wash. The other option for neoprene is a soak in cold water, then a rinse, then a soak again, then a rinse, you get the idea. The shampoo suggestion came via horse boot manufacturers and surfing wetsuit manufacturers.
If the boot is mystery material - assume it should be hand washed unless the manufacturer says otherwise. I did find some manufacturers who state that any warranty and guarantee is voided if you use a washing machine. One manufacturer even voids their warranty if you soak their boots, rinsing is the only method.
For some mystery materials, you can wash and dry the snot out of them with no issues. But these were synthetic fleece with an almost rubbery nylon outside that took all sorts of abuse. Also this was a decade ago, now the fabrics and materials are quite high tech.
As for tossing things into the dryer, it’s a resounding no in most cases. Drip dry in the shade! Some people use a fence, others use a line. Some stash on a trunk. You get to pick!