Tips for cleaning your horse’s stall walls!
Stall walls can collect the crusty mix of slobber, grain, bran mash, and sometimes poop. Cleaning stall walls is a chore that most of us despise, but find very satisfying at the same time. Here’s a plan on how to make it work.
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First, we should discuss how some barns are made.
- In a modular barn, the stalls are composed of large panels, measuring about 4 feet wide and framed in heavy-duty metal. These are assembled into the stall, fitting into a metal track over a concrete footer at the floor.
- Very often, the concrete and metal footer is covered with mats and shavings. The actual panels are either wood slats, stained and sealed, or composite wood covered in thin metal panels and possibly even painted. Usually, these panels are left in their original silver color.
- You will also find cinder block barns, with either raw or painted blocks. You can also find wood barns, brick barns, and many barns that use various building materials. This may impact how you choose to clean and what you clean with.
Could use a touch-up!
The easiest stall walls to clean are not wood
- I love to clean stall walls if they are made of composite covered by sheet metal – spray, scrub, wipe or hose.
- For the most part, the bran mash goo and water bucket drips and grain smears are easy to remove from these stalls. The caked-on poop and urine is easy, too, we just don’t like to do it.
Steps for a thorough cleaning
- Before you begin any stall stripping and cleaning, please move the horse out of his stall, and maybe even his neighbors, too.
- Do this on a well-ventilated day, or kick on the fans if you have them. Remove water buckets, and automatic waterers too, if you can.
- Rake and sweep the bedding into the middle of the stall or strip it all together, and have a wheelbarrow handy, as you often find the edges are where lots of wayward poops like to hide.
- Grab a step ladder if you are not as tall as Shaq, and sweep the tops of the stalls and fan and rafters for spider webs and dust before you begin with crust removal. Removing the dust saves you from changing the cleaning solution as often, and it makes your stall safer in general.
Cleaners to use
- I suggest finding a safe, non-toxic cleaner that you like or make one from vinegar to clean stall walls.
- Vinegar and baking soda with some detergent can remove just about anything. More recipes can be found here.
- Commercial cleaners are OK, too, you just need to be extra careful about getting all the residue and fumes out.
Get the dust away first, then get to town.
How to apply the cleaner.
- It’s super easy to put some cleaner in a spray bottle and apply it that way, or you can use a bucket and sponge, although I don’t always want to put my hand in there without a glove.
- Whatever method you choose, simply apply some of the cleaner and let it sit for a minute or two.
- While that’s soaking in, you can grab a scrub brush or a double-sided sponge and give a quick swirl around to loosen the crusty crud on the walls.
- Many home improvement centers have long handles you can attach to cleaning brushes to get the hard-to-reach spots, or you can work from a step stool.
- Or, use a powered screw gun and attach a cleaning brush attachment. No work is needed, let the screw gun do the scrubbing. See shopping links below for a brush set.
Rinse if necessary
- Once you have soaked and scraped the crud from your horse’s stall walls, either wipe with a cloth or rinse with the hose.
- Before you put the shavings back, you will need to let everything dry.
- If you find a ton of rust, you can use a metal brush to clean the area and immediately paint over with rust-preventing paint. Again, another chance to go to the hardware store.
For stalls with wooden walls, you will be doing a bit more elbow greasing.
- Some wooden walls are bare, some are finished with oils, and some are finished with a polyurethane finish. Either way, your elbow grease and a good stiff brush or scrubby sponge is your best friend.
- You can likely use the same vinegar-based or natural or even commercial cleaner here, but you may want to do a test patch first.
- Be warned that if you have a finished wood stall wall, and you want to touch up the finish, you should contact the barn manufacturer or a licensed contractor.
- Very often, the finishes used are combustible and have been known to cause fires. Linseed oil is a prime example. Cleaning the surface is fine, it’s the touch-up you need to be careful about.
Your horse’s stall may also be made out of cinder block – painted or bare.
- Pressure washers are super here. Just be wary of washing away the paint. That’s the trick with pressure washers – they are amazingly powerful.
- Also be aware of the puddle of water that is left behind. If your barn has great drainage, you may be just fine.
- I may do the inside of the stalls “by hand”, and save the pressure wash for the exterior, where I can sweep the puddles into the courtyard.
- Ideally, this job should be done on an “as-needed” basis depending on how messy your horse is. At any rate, it’s super critical to keep the dust and cobwebs away to improve air quality and keep any electrical stuff protected.
How do you like to clean your horse’s stall walls?
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This scrub brush as a 21″ handle
How about a drill attachment for your barn cleaning chores?