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.