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