Hot toweling your horse – great for winter deep cleaning.


Grooming your horse in the winter is challenging, especially if your horse is fuzzy and thoroughly enjoys the mud.  While it may seem impossible to bathe your horse in the winter, try hot toweling to steam clean your horse.  


Jump to videos and shopping 


Hot toweling accomplishes a few things:


  • Get your horse sparkly clean in the winter.  Yes – you can give your horse this type of “bath” in the winter. 


  • Work on your strength by employing elbow grease.  Hot toweling, or hot clothing as some horse lovers call it, takes a bit of time and effort. 


  • Steam clean your own pores.  Hot toweling uses steam and perhaps a bit of no-rinse shampoo to clean your horse, and it’s almost like a day at the spa for you, too. 
Work in small areas. Perhaps even smaller than this area pictured. Have a cooler on your horse to cover his steamed areas. This prevents chills and helps the drying process.



What is hot toweling a horse, exactly?


  • Hot toweling is a way to use a hot towel to steam clean your horse using small rags or towels soaked in piping hot water.


  • For best results, start with a thorough curry, brush, and vacuum of your horse. This will remove most dirt and dust and leave the steam to do the dirty work.  The more you can curry and brush, the cleaner your rinse water and cloths will remain. 

 Steps and tools needed


  • Well, gather some towels.  Washcloths or dishtowel sizes are best, otherwise, you are slogging around a huge wet towel that’s hard to wring and use. 


  • You will also need a clean bucket (or two) and access to steamy hot, hot water. Not boiling, but definitely hotter than you could stand. I use an instant hot kettle, which allows you to almost instantly get hot water.  It does cool quickly in cold weather, so keep making fresh batches.  


  • I also like to use rubber gloves, so my delicate hands don’t get drier and more cracked than they already are. 



This instant hot water kettle is great for having a fresh supply of steamy goodness.


  • You can use hot water from the faucet if you have it, you can lug it from the house, or you can use a water heater that plugs into an outlet. Use your preferred hot water method with supervision so that nothing gets melted or overheated.


  • Soak your towels in the hot water and thoroughly wring out a towel. You want steamy damp, not hot wet. Use the towel like a curry comb to work back and forth in small areas at a time. Work with and against the natural lay of the hair.


  • To encourage drying, leave the hair poking up and cover with a cooler to help dry and keep warm. If the hair is wet, you have too much water and must wring out the towel more.  Aim for your horse to be barely damp.  Almost dry.


  • If your horse is clipped, please be super careful with the water/steamy towel temp as a clipped horse has much less protection from the heat.  


The order of things


  • Then I don’t muck up the original hot water, and hopefully, it’s still hot enough to keep going with more towels. You may also find that you need to have a system here, perhaps like this:


  • Create a steamy towel soup in a bucket of clean, hot water.  Add some spot cleaner and deodorizer like Easy Out if you like.


  • Curry your horse with the damp steamy towel.


  • Let the used towel soak in a rinse bucket to remove dirt, dust, remnants of stains, hair.


  • Cycle through your towels – steamy, dirty, rinsed.


  • Stop occasionally to admire your buff arms. This is probably the most important step. 


Does hot toweling work for all horses?


  • It’s all a giant experiment – your horse’s hair coat is different from every other horse! Very thick winter coats can be helped with hot toweling, but often get too wet and take too long to dry. However, if you need to do it, you can always try it in critical areas (like the saddle) and go from there!


  • You can also add a few drops of grooming oil to condition the hair as you buff the coat. Less is always more when it comes to grooming oils. 



When you are all done, your arms will have had a great workout and your horse will be awesomely clean!



Hot toweling instructions.


Oil buffing vs. hot toweling – similar, but not really. More details on oil buffing your horse for an amazing shine are here





Stock up here for your horse supplies! As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, but it’s ZERO extra cents to you.  You can also visit my Amazon storefront here:  PEG storefront.

Shapley's Easy-Out No Rinse Shampoo 32 fl.oz

Spot removing, deodorizing, dust busting, shine adding spray.

02/20/2024 12:33 am GMT
Shapley's Hi Shine Shampoo, 1-Gallon

Other sizes, too! Adds shine with the most gentle formula.

02/20/2024 09:52 pm GMT
SHAPLEY'S Medi-Care Med Shampoo W/Tea Tree & Lemon Grass, 32 oz

The best shampoo for shine and soothing.

02/20/2024 06:13 pm GMT
Shapley's No.1 Light Oil
$19.99 ($0.62 / Fl Oz)

For shine, conditioning, detangling, and stain protection.

02/20/2024 11:02 pm GMT
Shapley's No.2 Heavy Oil

For deep conditioning and detangling - coat, mane, and tail.

02/20/2024 02:47 am GMT
Rubber Latex Waterproof Dishwashing Gloves, 2 Pair Medium Long Cuff
$9.99 ($5.00 / Count)

It's fashion and function

02/20/2024 10:17 pm GMT
Shapley’s 32 oz. Color Enhancing Shampoo - Whitening Formula

For all colors - to add shine and help lift stains.

02/20/2024 01:57 am GMT

Big Hoss - Outlaw Nutrition

Omega 3's plus gut health support in a delicious flax formula.

02/20/2024 02:53 am GMT
02/20/2024 02:02 am GMT
02/20/2024 01:47 am GMT
02/19/2024 11:22 pm GMT
Cashel Quiet Ride Horse Fly Mask with Long Nose and Ears

This style is great for riding!

02/20/2024 02:57 am GMT
Shires Sweet-Itch Combo Fly Sheet 78
$149.99 ($149.99 / Count)
02/19/2024 10:02 pm GMT


Thank you!