uses for washcloths at the barn



Many uses for washcloths at the barn!


There are only a few things in my horse’s grooming kit – I like to keep it simple. A pair of grooming gloves, an all-purpose brush, hoof pick, cactus cloth, spot remover. I also have a large stack of washcloths that are just for the barn, and I use them every day.


My favorite uses for washcloths while grooming my horse or doing barn chores are:


  • Cleaning tack. I will use a barely damp washcloth to wipe everything down first. This gets rid of hair, surface dirt, and you can use the cloth to shine up stirrups, buckles, bits, etc. I also think if you use a paste or thick saddle soap, you run the risk of covering up the dirt instead of really getting rid of it.


chestnut horse with white nose over fence

No more boogers.


  • Wipe noses and lips. Boogers and slobber be gone! I wipe my horse’s nostrils and lips every day, for a few reasons, including to practice daily handling and proper horse manners! This also gives me a smooth surface to apply sunscreen and helps me check for scrapes and bumps. Also, use your fingers to check the corners of his mouth for sores and under his chin for bonks and scrapes.


  • Washing faces. I never suggest squirting a horse in the face with a hose, so I wash my horse’s face with a washcloth. You could also use a sponge, but washcloths are easier for me to keep clean, and I just prefer them. You also can be more specific about where you are washing by wrapping a finger or two with a cloth and doing some targeted cleaning.


  • Freezing for a cool neck cloth for you. Screw hot days in the summer! Freeze a damp washcloth for some refreshing coolness around your neck.


  • Drying your horse’s lower legs. After a damp turnout, or a shower, or frolicking through a stream, you’ll want to dry your horse’s legs to help prevent scratches and other dermatitis possibilities. I might reach for something a bit bigger, like a dishtowel here, but a washcloth can be pretty handy.


big stack of washcloths

Two things I love – washcloths and vertical storage.


  • Cleaning your tack trunk. Or not. Perhaps you are in a dust collecting contest with your barn mates? I will wipe off the tack trunks as needed, just to keep things mostly tidy.


  • Cleaning around the barn. Shelves, lockers, trunks, it all could be cleaned with washcloths. I like to have two buckets – one with fresh water and homemade cleaner, and another rinse bucket to toss dirties into to be wrung out and used again.


  • Drying your hands. Or use your pants. No judgment here.


  • Using a washcloth to hold a muddy hoof for picking. There are some days that there’s no way you are getting your horse de-muddified but you still need to pick hooves. I’ll find a washcloth, usually one I’ve already used, to hold my horse’s muddy hoof with. I might also add in some cussing.


  • Cleaning muck tubs. Some of the materials that make our horse’s tubs and buckets can be scratched by abrasive sponges or brushes. I will use a washcloth instead because once those scratches get in there, they are really hard to clean.


gray horse butt cheeks under the tail

So squishable. And in need of daily inspection!



  • Cleaning under your horse’s tail. Yes, your horse’s butt needs attention. And further up, and on the underside of his tail. And all around.


  • Spontaneous barn yoga. Holding a washcloth between your hands for an overhead stretch is just a nice thing to do for your back and shoulders. Especially when you work around horses and they are always making you have workouts and exercise and do physical things.


  • Warm water sheath and udder cleaning. Find your softest washcloth ever to help tidy up all parts of your horse’s body. I won’t put a washcloth into a sheath, but some horses don’t mind a warm water bath if their penis is descended.


  • Wiping your own face after a particularly dirty barn visit. Or use your pants again.


  • Spot cleaning manure stains. You don’t always want to give your dirty horse a total bath, so you can spot clean with stain removers. Most do just fine with a spray and a dry cloth, sometimes you can wet the washcloth and stains will slide right off.


hot water kettle and wash cloths

A hot water kettle and some cloths are a great way to deep clean your horse in the winter.



  • Hot toweling your horse in the winter. This is a great way to “steam clean” your horse in the winter, and the size of washcloths makes this super easy. Just like when I’m cleaning around the barn, I’ll use one washcloth in the clean water, and toss into a rinse bucket when it’s all gross.


Best of all, they come in all colors and textures and prices. Washcloths are super easy to clean, and don’t take up a lot of room to store, either. Happy cleaning!




If you are interested in anything I mention, you can pick it up here. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, this comes at no additional cost to you! Thank you, a million times over.


Shapley’s Easy-Out No Rinse Shampoo 32 fl.oz – spot remover and deodorizer


Hamilton Beach 40880 Electric Kettle, 1.7-Liter, Silver – for instant hot water at your cross ties.


HandsOn Grooming Gloves – use code PEG in the checkout for free shipping, too!


Thank you!