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Horse Blanket Care Myths

Horse Blanket Care Myths

We keep a close eye on horse forums so we can learn how we can educate people to take better care of their horse gear. It is never the intent to jump on the forums and tell someone they are wrong, but we do want to clear and air and explain some myths about horse blanket care that we often see.

Popular Horse Blanket Care Myths:

Don’t wash your horse blanket in any products, only wash in water but you must use hot water to kill bacteria. In our opinion, the water in your washing machine will not get hot enough to kill all the bacteria in your horse blanket. What it does kill is your waterproofing. You should avoid washing your horse gear in hot water at all costs.

Don’t wash your horse blanket. It is better off if you leave it as it is throughout the years.”

This statement likely came from someone who accidentally destroyed their horse blanket in the washing machine. The urine, manure, grime, and dirt that build up on a horse blanket will also deteriorate blanket fabric very quickly. It is essential to wash your horse blanket, but you must do it properly to avoid damage. How To Wash and Care for your Horse Blanket

“Use canvas or tent cleaner on your horse blanket

Often times these are way too heavy for modern day fabrics, and will leave a residue behind that can irritate your horse’s skin. They also don’t get rid of odors because these cleaners don’t kill bacteria, which is the source of the stink on your horse blanket. When these washes were popular, so were canvas blankets, however in 2019 canvas blankets are not as common as they once were. Think about it, when was the last time a tent or awning was worn on an animal for 4-6 months out of the year, urinated on, rolled in, sweated in? They are not made for washing these kind of things, so they really do not work as well as they should.

Use warm or hot water for the soap to work

Some blanket washes and laundry detergents instruct you to use warm or hot water with your blanket. If your blanket label tells you to wash with cold water, you should follow those instructions. Hot water will destroy the blanket’s natural waterproofing, reduce the longevity of your blanket, and deteriorate the fabric.

Use a deodorizer on a stinky blanket if the smell does not come out in the wash

I don’t know about you, but I am a fan of removing an odor instead of covering it up. Using a deodorizer creates a two-step process. Now you must clean your blanket and then deodorize it. This adds in the problem of further breaking down your blanket by adding more chemicals to the fabric. If your horse blanket wash is working correctly, this step is not necessary. Those odors are caused by a build up of grime, mold, mildew, fungus and/or bacteria. If you are removing these with an antibacterial wash, you will eliminate the odors, not cover them up. No one wants a horse blanket that has bacteria festering in it…and I certainly would not wear an anything with growing bacteria. And I certainly wouldn’t want to put that on my horse for months at a time!

“Save money by waterproofing your stable blanket”

Stable blankets are not meant to be waterproof. Adding wax or silicone to make them waterproof does not work and can ruin the breathability of your stable blanket. If you want a waterproof horse blanket, make sure you invest in a proper turn out sheet. Quality does matter!

Use a commercial wax or silicone to waterproof your horse blanket

Putting wax or silicone products on your horse blanket will create a waterproof film over the top of your fabric, and will prevent breathability. Horse blankets are not plastic. They need to be breathable to prevent irritations, bacteria buildup and keep your horse is healthy. If your horse is having troubles regulating its temperature, it can rapidly lose weight from the effort. Also, most of the products on the market require heat to melt or cure them onto the blanket. That heat, once again will destroy the factory applied waterproofing. When the added coating gets rubbed off and starts to degrade during natural wear, you will be left with nothing.

As soon as you get a new horse blanket, it is important to provide quality maintenance to preserve it’s longevity. Proper horse blanket care increases the durability of the horse blanket and increases its effectiveness. The type and quality of the fabric of your horse blanket, the tightness of the stitching, age, and how long caked on mud has sat on the blanket are all aspects that determine how long your blanket will remain waterproof. In fact, the several blanket manufacturers we work closely with, recommend that after the blanket’s second season of use, you should be waterproofing every year to maintain it’s effectiveness.

The products we use in our waterproofing wash-in’s and sprays are a diluted version of the factory applied waterproofer. They coat the fibers but leaves the weave open for breathability. The retailers and blanket manufactures we work with, and those that want to sell our products required this. We are pleased to offer it to you as well.

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How to Wash Your Horse Blanket and Horse Gear

Wash Your Horse Blanket, How to wash your heavy weight horse blanket

We are often asked about different ways to use Blanket Safe for washing horse blankets, and how to get the best results. Can Blanket Safe wash light, medium or even heavy weight blankets in muck tubs, water troughs, or personal washing machines? Absolutely! You can use Blanket Safe with any washing method you wish. When using a smaller laundry machine or muck tub, make sure to get off any excess mud and debris before washing. This will make sure that you get a better result and preserve the machine. Keep reading to learn how to wash even your heavy weight horse blanket and horse gear, safely!

If you are going to a laundromat, it is especially important to take the time to do some pre-care. This is in the hope that you do not give equestrians all over the world a bad name. Take the time to use a hose, brush, broom, or even a power washer to remove any excess hair and mud before washing a horse blanket in a machine; especially one that is used for human clothing and bedding.

Follow these steps to wash your horse blanket and other gear:

  1. Knock, brush, or hose off excess hair, mud, and grime
  2. Attach all of the leg straps, tail straps, and metal clasps to themselves. Anywhere there is a snap, make sure to attach it. In addition, attach all tail straps back to their own D-ring so that they all start and finish in the same area. This helps avoid tangles, stretching, and breaking.
  3. Fold the blanket so the dirty part is on the inside. This allows the fabric to scrub against itself and gives you the best possible clean.
  4. Make sure your washing machine is big enough. Don’t use a machine with a center agitator. A horse blanket tangled around the agitator, may strain the motor and could destroy the machine. If the washing machine is too small, the water and dirt will not be able to escape, and the blanket will come out streaked with dirt. *A heavy weight will need more room than a light weight, or even a medium weight.
  5. Turn on the cold water setting. Cold water is essential. Hot water destroys factory applied waterproofing, causes shrinking, and destroys the fabric.
  6. Always follow the care labels on the blanket. Most say to run a gentle wash cycle. From my experience, I can tell you a gentle wash cycle may not get your horse blanket clean. You probably don’t need a heavy wash cycle; the normal wash works best for me. 
  7. Hang the blanket to dry. So whether you decide to hang your blanket on a blanket rack of your choosing or the fence, you will be providing care according to the care labels. Make sure to never let your horse blankets bake in the heat for too long. This may also cause damage, and as a reminder, never use heat to dry your blanket.

A Few Bonus Tips:

  1. If you are washing wool gear never let it spin out in the washing machine. Make sure to stop the machine before that spin cycle to prevent devistating consequences to the natural fibers. If you don’t the wool will come out mated. Let wool dry naturally on a flat surface. You may notice that the wool naturally clumps up, have no fear. Once the wool is completely dry, a good brushing with a slicker brush will help restore the fluffiness to your product.
  2. We have a wash in waterproofer that can be added in during the final rinse cycle of your horse blanket wash. When you use this, you have to skip the spin cycle; otherwise, the waterproofer will be spun out of the blanket before it gets a chance to set. After the wash, you want as much water left on as possible so the waterproofing can dry into the fabric, therefore leaving behind a light water-repellent treatment once cured.
  3. Our other option for waterproofing is a spray. Ultimately, when the damp blanket finishes washing, and hung to dry, spray the water-repellent on liberally. Always use on damp fabric, and depending on what the blanket fabric type, and how tightly the stitch, it usually needs 24-72 hours to set into the blanket and cure.

When your blankets or other gear are clean and dry, it is essential to promptly store it properly. I like to hang my blankets up high year-round.  Horse blankets are very expensive. You don’t want mice to ruin your valuable gear, and they can easily find their way into plastic bags, totes, or canvas zipper bags. The best way to protect against mice if you can’t leave your blanket’s hanging is to use a tote or tack trunk and get it up high on a shelf.

Spring is coming, and you are probably getting ready to retire your horse blankets for the season. Make sure you wash your horse blankets immediately after they are done for the season, and not when getting ready to use them again next winter. The quicker you wash your horse blankets and remove all that mud and grime the longer they are going to last, and ultimately provide your horse a better service for years to come!

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The Importance of Proper Horse Blanket Care

Importance of Horse Blanket Care

Have you ever read the care instructions label on your horse blanket or other gear? Blanket Safe is a detergent free, anti-bacterial horse blanket soap designed to clean and condition modern-day horse blankets in a cold-water wash. We created Blanket Safe to comply with horse blanket care labels after being unable to find something that worked for our standards of horse blanket care.

Most horse blankets and other horse wear instruct you to wash in cold water with a detergent free, mild soap, that does not contain bleach. Blanket Safe works with those labels, making it easy for equestrians, horse fanatics, and equine professionals to quickly and adequately clean their gear with minimal damage.

Follow Your Care Label

When you wash your equine gear, make sure you use cold water. Hot water can melt off factory applied waterproofing. Therefore, can also cause shrinking and ruin the fibers in the fabric. Did you know that most cleaning products need hot or warm water to work effectively? So, if you are washing your gear in cold water while using detergents or products that only work in hot water you might end up cleaning your blankets more than once.

The purpose of Blanket Safe is to minimize the damage caused during the wash. We do everything we can to help you keep your horse blanket working effectively for many years. Blanket Safe works in cold water, so you only have to wash your blanket once instead of running it through two or three times to get it clean. The less time your blanket spends in the washing machine, the longer it will last. 

All of Blanket Safe washes are detergent free.  Most horse gear care labels instruct against the use of detergents. Detergents degrade fabrics and ruin waterproofing. They also add chemicals to the material that make re-waterproofing difficult.

Just like human skin, some horse’s skin is very delicate. An allergic reaction from detergents and other chemicals can cause hives, irritation, and loss of hair. Detergents are in almost every product making it difficult for horse enthusiasts to find a product that actually works and abides by the care labels on their gear.

We have done all the hard work for our customers to make sure that our products do follow care labels. I’m sure we’ve all seen the commercials on TV that ask about clothing that is half washed and stretched and of shape, hence one of the consequences of detergents. In contrast, our products help condition your products rather than stretching them and tearing them apart.

Anti-Bacterial Wash

In addition, all of our products are also anti-bacterial. These antibacterial soaps are essential for horse blanket laundries as well as barns with a communal machine. It helps prevent cross-contamination when washing so your horse blanket doesn’t end up with another horse’s bacteria on it. That might not seem like a big problem until you start talking about bacterial diseases such as strangles.

Our products not only wash horse blankets, but they also do a fantastic job at clearing out the washing machines themselves and getting them ready for the next item. We occasionally get contacted by laundries who have provided washing services for barns that have tested positive for strangles. They are naturally very concerned about cross contamination to other barns and think they need to bleach out their washing machines and take a ton of extra precautions. If they use Blanket Safe, we get to tell them they don’t have to worry because the antibacterial enzymes in the soap already took care of it.

Antibacterial properties help remove odors from the blanket. Typical dirt (not manure or urine, just dirt) sand or clay does not have a nasty odor. What you smell on a stinky horse blanket or other gear is bacteria, mold, mildew, fungus, and grime. Because Blanket Safe is antibacterial, it eliminates odors from where they start.

 As we near spring and you get ready to put your horse blankets up for the winter, buy yourself a bottle of Blanket Safe horse wash so you can be confident your blankets are put away clean and bacteria free.

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Winter Horse Blanket Cleaning

Horse Blanket Cleaning

The most important thing you can do while caring for your horse blanket in the winter is keeping it clean as possible. We understand that horse blanket cleaning, especially during this winter’s constant rain and mud, this is a challenge. However, that endless amount of mud mixed with urine, manure, and grime, can degrade the nylon webbing, thread, fabric, and most importantly, the waterproofing of your blanket. The constant presence of moisture will also increase fungal and bacterial growth within the blanket and cause noxious orders. Read on for some great tips on winter horse blanket cleaning.

We highly recommend that you have a spare blanket to use while washing and caring for your main blanket. Just performing basic care between washes, by spraying with a hose or using a broom to remove caked on mud and grime. This will allow your blanket to all around perform better during the winter season.

Winter Horse Blanket Cleaning Tips

Keep your blanket’s as “clean” as possible in the winter. Make sure to use a large enough washer as to not to over fill, this will help to wash clean the entire surface of the blanket. Some laundromats allow blanket washing, but you can also wash your blanket in a clean muck bucket or tub if need be. In such cases, use a broom handle or similar device to slosh and agitate the blanket in the water. Make sure to remove or secure straps and Velcro before washing. This stops them from damaging the blanket during the wash. Always read your blanket care label if you are using a washing machine. 99.9% suggest washing in cold water with a mild soap to avoid damaging the waterproofing or shrinking the fabric.

One of the biggest complaints we receive is that waterproofing stops working after a few months. The dirt, urine, and manure that is caked onto your blanket holds moisture against the fabric for a prolonged period, and will allow water to penetrate the blanket quicker. “Waterproofing” fabric is near impossible, so we must do what we can to keep it as water-resistant as possible, for as long as possible, especially during the wet and cold season.

 Once fabric becomes wet and over saturated, water may in fact get in . We can only do so much to keep your horse’s blanket as dry as possible without the uses of waxes, silicone, and harmful chemicals that can irritate your horse’s skin and reduce the breathability of the blanket. Keeping excess moisture off of your blanket will definitely help.

Also, keep in mind, your horse rolls on the ground and rubs against fence posts, dirt will grind into the fabric, causing fibers to fray, and ultimately degrade the condition of your blanket. Washing with Blanket Safe products and spraying on Blanket Safe waterproofing will drastically in help keep your blanket fibers clean and conditioned, reduce bacteria and fungal growth that causes odors, and help to resist moisture for a longer period of time.

Make Sure it Dries

After cleaning your horse blanket make sure you hang it to dry (in a barn or your bathroom will work fine). Also, following excessively rainy days make sure you give your blanket a chance to thoroughly dry. If it does not dry, the moisture that sits on the fabric will slowly degrade the fabric, waterproofing, and quality of the material. The biggest telltale sign that your blanket is saturated from rain, is that your horse is wet in areas such as the haunches where rain should not be touching. Having a spare blanket is crucial because you can use it while you allow the wet blanket to dry, and re-treat waterproofing in areas that may need it. **Often areas that are rubbed often, will need increase waterproofing treatments, such as the shoulder and haunches areas of the blanket

When you get the occasional nice day, make sure to take the blanket off. It not only gives your horse’s skin an opportunity to breathe, but it also allows the blanket to thoroughly dry and air out. Don’t wad it up in a bunch and throw it into the wash stall. Hang it up. If you don’t have high up blanket hangers, installing old horseshoes or rubber coated hooks high up in the rafters works great.

As always, never be negligent with your blanket. It is crucial that you check your horse blankets daily. They are strapped onto moving animals that love to play and roll. So make sure to check your horse’s skins for any rubbing or irritation. Don’t forget to check leg and tail straps as well as the condition of the blanket.

If straps are too tight, they can rub and cut into the skin of your horse. If they are too loose, your horse can get tangled in them, and a dangerous situation can arise. Any small tears will get bigger if not taken care quickly. Checking your blanket daily and taking care of minor problems before they become big ones keeps your blanket in tip-top shape and allows you to use it for years.