How to wash a horse blanket in the washer


When it comes time to store your horse’s blankets for the summer, you probably want to make sure they are clean, fresh, and dry. You can definitely wash a horse blanket in the washer, but you want to be sure of a few things to keep your washer from dying a slow, painful, dented, and hairy death.


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Horse blanket washing tips


  • Get the layers of dust and hair off before you do anything.


  • I reach for my favorite grooming tool of all time, the super stiff brush, and I do much of the manual labor by hand. If anyone has ever had to clean the trap of a washing machine, you may recall how puke-inducing it can be. Now just think about horse hair, mud, and perhaps poop remnants mucking up your machine. *GAG*


  • If you really need to “put your back into it”, lay your horse’s blanket out and use a push broom to break up and sweep away any glued-on “things”. I’ll let you guys define “things” here.


stiff brush to clean

A stiff brush can remove a lot of mystery horse “stuff” that goops up your blankets.


Use a front load machine.


  • Straps and such can get twisted around the agitator of a top-load machine. I’m pretty sure we have all had a bra get tangled up there, but the unforgiving straps of a horse blanket can make things stuck. And then your agitator may need to be replaced, or your blanket will not have been fully cleaned or rinsed.


  • I recently discovered that some top load washing machines don’t have that typical pokey agitator, it’s short and blends into the bottom of the drum. You might be okay using this? PS – if you try it and your washer explodes, don’t blame me but also send photos.


front loading washing machine


Protect your washer from the buckles and snaps 


  • One way to do this is to use thick socks pulled over the straps. And then you have to sew them in slightly so they stay over the metal parts when in your washer.


  • A thick upholstery needle and thread or dental floss can be used here. You are only going for a functional way to keep the buckles and straps covered, no need to be precise and surgical.


socks on blanket buckles

Avoid using your fave pair of socks to secure buckles.


Be mindful of the detergent that you use to wash your horse’s blankets.


  • Some detergents might leave your horse feeling itchy. If your detergent is fine for his saddle pads, it’s likely fine for his blankets, too. You may need to re-waterproof the blankets after they have dried.


  • You can also find specialty detergents designed just for horse blankets. Some of the horse blanket manufacturers make detergents.


dirty winter blanket on a horse in the snow

So charming and cute and also so messy and gross.



Modify the settings on your washing machine when washing horse blankets.


  • Add a pre-wash cycle for extra smell removal and extra stain removal. I also add an extra rinse to make sure as much detergent as possible is washed away. I use cold water to prevent any more damage to waterproofing, and I will add an extra spin cycle, also. Summed up – extra. Extra all of it.


  • Hang your horse blankets to dry. It’s best to do this in the shade, and I find that a fence or deck railing is great. Dry both sides before your store the blankets away. When the blankets are dry, you can re-waterproof them if needed. To check this, sprinkle some water on a dry blanket. It should bead up. If not, you can wash in a re-waterproofing treatment or spray one on.


  • After you are all done washing your horse’s blankets, run a quick “clean cycle” in your washing machine. This usually involves a cup of bleach and a specialty cycle on your machine. This helps to remove any remaining horse, manure, and mud smells from your loads of skivvies and towels that might follow.


  • You also might need to wipe out your washing machine to remove any last bits of hair that wish to remain in the drum. Again, to save your skivvies and towels from certain hairy contaminants.

If you want to skip the washing machine, this article has tips for doing so.


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