Cleaning your horse brushes


One key tip about horse grooming is to use clean grooming tools!  Cleaning your horse brushes prevents you from smearing around the dirt.  


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It’s one thing to groom your horse, it’s another to groom your grooming tools.


  • No use in cleaning a dirty horse with dirty brushes, right? Even if I’m not scrubbing my horse’s brushes clean, I like to keep them as clean as I can during use.


  • If you use a curry comb, you can “bang” it against a hard surface to get the dirt out as you curry along. You can use the floor, the back of your hard brush in your other hand, the wall, or a railing.


  • If you use grooming gloves, shake your hands and the hair and dander will release. You can get your grooming gloves wet, which is great for bathing your horse AND keeping them clean.


  • Daily, I will also swipe my brushes against a metal curry comb or a door frame to flick out some of the saved-up dirt.


curry comb and the dirt it contained

There’s also a bit of satisfaction about smacking your curry on the ground and seeing your hard work spill out. Instant gratification!


The weekly wash


  • Now and again (I aim for weekly or so), I will do a deep wash with all of my brushes and curry combs. I usually end up also washing the brush box, too, as that tends to be a collection of hair and dust and gunk.


grooming gloves one clean one dirty

Never underestimate the power of baking soda to deep clean your grooming tools. For more on baking soda, read this article.


  • A good soak and scrub in warm water with Nolvasan (AKA chlorhexidine) solution or even a mild horse shampoo will work well. I will use a bucket or my tack box to hold my solution and then swirl it all around and let it soak for a few minutes.


  • Rinse thoroughly with warm-ish water for a few minutes. I like to dry my brushes with the bristles facing down or to the side. A wooden brush handle will get too wet if the bristles drain into the wood.


  • I have a laundry rack that unfolds, which is perfect for drying brushes and blankets. You can also dry in the grass, on the ground, or any place out of the way of curious horses.


hard brush laying on a rag to dry

Drying your brushes on their side is an excellent way to preserve the handle.


  • Because my horses have their own set of grooming tools that are not shared amongst the barn, I may be able to go a bit longer between deep cleanings. When each horse has their own set, this allows for easy containment of skin issues, like rain rot, that can be transmitted from horse to horse.


bucket of soapy water with hard brush

A nice bath in some Nolvasan solution or mild shampoo does the trick.



This is how I do my weekly grooming brush clean.

I also keep my horse’s brushes clean as I work.


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