"Horse Laundry" is a pain in the neck! How can I make this chore easier?
Aside from just buying new stuff when the old stuff gets dirty, you may just have to suck it up and get really good at laundry. A few tips from years of getting things wrong with horse laundry and then figuring out how to get them right:
- Know the fabric of what you are washing. Wool items will get all sorts of mixed up in the washer and dryer. For wool cleaning tips, read this doozy. Cottons also wash differently than sheepskin. Nylon things like wraps don’t take as long to dry. Some things are ok to dry in the sun (like some blankets), other things should dry in the shade (like sheepskin). For sheepskin cleaning tips, read this one.
My cooler collection has wool and fleece... laundered totally differently!
- Get your horse laundry prepared before you toss it in the dryer. Use a brush to remove hair and the top layer of dirt. Pre-treat stains with your stain buster of choice.
- Pick your detergent wisely. Sheepskin items don’t do well with regular detergents. Avoid detergents with perfumes that may be irritating to your horse. Use bleach carefully!
- Plan on the “stain busting” cycle of the washer, and add a pre-treat cycle and extra rinse, too. The pre-treat cycle lets your horse stuff marinate for a bit, and the extra rinse helps remove any last traces of detergent. This is especially important for blankets, as they get all squashed up in the washer and you unfold to find gobs of soapy bubbles.
Spend a few minutes with a brush. You will be surprised/horrified at how much hair and dirt can be removed. Save your washer some wear and tear!
- Use an appropriate machine. Front loaders are super if you can use one, or you can use a top loader but try not to fill to the brim.
- For blankets, consider using a laundry additive that adds a layer of waterproofing. You can find them at most camping supply stores and easily help to add back any waterproofing that detergents and time and horses being horses will remove.
Some other tips to think about:
- Be careful where you place boot polish on your riding boots. Polish is notoriously hard to remove from saddle pads. Neatsfoot oil and other conditioners are also tricky to remove, so let your tack finish marinating before you hop on.
- If you can’t even stand washing sheepskin numnahs or western pads, use a baby pad as the bottom layer to take the brunt of grunge, you sheepskin will thank you. For western pad cleaning tips, read this gem.
So comfy, and so annoying to wash.
- Make sure your horse is beyond clean! A proper grooming will keep everything cleaner, longer.
- When you toss stuff into the wash that has velcro, make sure that the velcro is fastened back on itself to prevent it having a torrid love affair with something else in the wash. For standing warps, wash in a laundry sack to prevent excessive tangles.
Return the hook and loops back into their upright and locked position.
What’s your best laundry tip?