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Spring has FINALLY Arrived! Horse Blanket Cleaning Tips Below:

Spring has sprung so it’s time to start thinking about putting away horse blankets. We know some of you will say, “just don’t blanket your horse!” We hear you! However some of us do blanket, so it’s a great time to share ideas on how to take care of our blankets with regular maintenance, spot cleaning, repairs, and an end-of-winter deep

clean that will help them last through multiple seasons.*


If you do take care of your blankets yourself, here are a few things to keep in mind: You should always check your blanket manufacturer’s instructions and their recommendations for cleaning and waterproofing. If you do not follow their instructions, you will most likely be voiding your warranty if you have one, so check the blanket tags or check online for information! Regular spot cleaning will help your blankets during our cold, wet, and muddy months. Brushing off mud and dirt with a stiff brush helps the waterproofing do its job as mud and dirt hold onto water. Overwashing will remove the waterproofing from the fabrics and stresses seams and straps. So brush off the muck and mud periodically. While you’re brushing off your blankets, check for rips, tears, holes, damage to straps, or other wear and tear.


If your blankets do have some damage, address it immediately to avoid injuries to your horse, prevent further damage to the blanket, and to make sure it continues to be waterproof. Some blanket manufacturers have fantastic warranties and will often accept blankets for repair or replace them outright if the damage is beyond fixing. Several stores in town and online sell tent repair patches which work well on small holes and they’re easy to find in a pinch. If you have a sewing machine, using a leather needle helps the machine penetrate all the layers though some manufacturers recommend you do not sew through the outer layer of the blanket.


Washing sheets, coolers, and lightweight blankets can usually be taken care of in a large capacity home washing machine. Be careful to take steps to protect your home machine from metal buckles and prevent straps from wrapping around and damaging agitators. Check your machine’s manufacturer’s recommendations as well. Before washing, brush off as much dirt as you can from your blanket. Hang it over a fence or sturdy clothesline and spray it with a hose. Some manufacturers recommend using a net wash bag to keep straps from getting tangled and wrapped up while they’re in the machine. I don’t have one large enough, so I run my straps up as short as they’ll go and remove the straps that go between the hind legs. I soak those in a bucket of water with a little detergent then rinse by hand. Only wash one item in your washer at a time to avoid overloading and creating undue stress on blanket materials and prevent damage to your home machine.


My favorite wash products are manufactured by Nikwax. They’re easy to use for cleaning and waterproofing, PFC free, non flammable, and you can buy non aerosol versions of their spray-on waterproofer. Whatever products you use, make sure they’re non-irritating to your horse, do not contain fragrances or dyes, and never use fabric softener. Many regular detergents and softeners will damage the waterproofing on your blankets. Fragrances and softener residues can cause allergic reactions in some horses as well as make materials more flammable. There are several blanket washes on the market sold by Schneiders, Horseware, and other manufacturers. Nikwax also sells a product called Rugproof, a wash-in product, that renews waterproofing. I like doubling down and using the wash in as well as a spray on to make sure my blankets are repelling water once they’re back in use.


After washing, hang your blankets to drip dry. Some manufacturers tell you it’s ok to use gentle heat from a dry cycle to recharge the waterproofing. Again, always check your manufacturers’ recommendations. If you do use a dryer, tossing in 6 or so tennis balls will help your load dry faster. If you choose to take your blankets to a laundromat and use a large capacity machine, you might want to call ahead and see if they’re ok with horse blankets. As a courtesy, I will run an empty load after my blankets are out, or bring along some cleaner and wipe out the machine to help it smell less like horse. I like to be welcome the next time I need to use the facilities. I have found the spin cycles usually don’t do a very good job and heavy weight blankets have been pretty waterlogged. I’ll bring along a large lawn and leaf bag so I don’t drip my way across the floor on the way to my car.


Once my blankets are clean, dry, and a spray on waterproofing has been applied, I store them away in their original bags. If you don’t have a blanket bag, there are several large capacity garment bags available on the market and the vacuum sealed ones are great for helping save space. Just make sure your blankets are thoroughly dried before storing. It’s a great feeling to pull out a nice, fresh, clean, and ready to go blanket when the chilly temps inevitably return! Happy Spring and happy riding!

~Linda




*These are suggestions and opinions only and should never take the place of recommendations by your blanket or washing machine manufacturers. All Creatures Chiropractic, Inc is not responsible for any damage that may occur as a result of failure to adhere to guidelines set forth by blanket or machine manufacturers or your inability to use common sense or accept personal responsibility for your own actions.

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