Wash your horse blankets without a machine


There are lots of options to wash your horse blankets without a machine. You want your horse’s blankets to last, stay waterproof, not shrink, and not be quite so smelly, and I have solutions for you!


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stiff brush to clean


  • Before you do anything, take a few moments or more to clean as much dirt and dust and crust from your horse’s blankets as possible. This means less to scrub and less to rinse later. I use a stiff brush, or in extreme cases during mud season, you can use a push broom after you have laid out the blanket. Really get in there.


  • Then do the same for buckles and straps. This also allows you to check the stitching and see if you need to make any repairs. Pro tip – use dental floss as thread, it lasts longer than regular thread.


Options for skipping the washing machine.


  • Take them to a horse blanket service. Some tack stores and feed stores will act as drop-off and pick-up centers. Some blanket cleaning services will pick up and drop off at your barn. The service I use does both, or I can drop at her location. The bonus is that some services will fold your blankets as well as they were folded in their original packaging, a skill which I do not have.


  • If you have a pressure washer at home or the barn, go for it. If you have a hilly area, this makes laying the blanket out on the hill an easy way to spray it from the top to the bottom. The same process – get wet, lather, rinse. A stiff brush is ideal for scrubbing.


horse blanket drying on a line

You can connect two cross ties to hang your horse’s blanket to be washed and dried.


Take a quick trip to your local car wash.


  • The advantage here is that you can use a high-pressure nozzle to really power wash things. Some car wash stations have giant clips on the wall for holding up floor mats, so just use those to clip up your horse blankets. Wet, lather with your laundry soap, rinse.


  • You can soap up with the car wash detergent. BUT, this might break down some of the waterproofing on your blankets, and your horse might not like the detergent residue. This is really the same for any cleaner that you use. If you wash his saddle pads in one laundry soap and he’s fine, you could use that.


More horse blanket washing tips:


  • Opt for cold water. This helps to keep the waterproofing intact.


  • Try and use a mild soap with minimal detergent properties to clean your horse’s blankets. Harsh chemicals can also interfere with waterproofing. Some blanket manufacturers make their own blanket wash, and there are several others cleaners that are specifically designed for horse blankets.


  • You can always touch up waterproofing when you are done cleaning and drying. There are wash-in options or spray-on options to treat your horse blankets.


  • You will need to air-dry your horse’s blankets. I use a fence, deck railing, or two cross ties latched together to create a clothesline. Windy days get the drying done faster. I do find that you will need to flip the blanket over to dry the other side. Make sure they are totally dry so you are not folding up dampness that can turn into mold and mildew.


For tips on using your washing machine to clean blankets, read this.



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Thank you!