How to spot clean your horse’s tail


The bright white tail is sometimes a mythical thing in the horse world! But you can reach clean and white tail status. I have some tips for you – mainly collected over years of owning a gray horse. That also lives outside.


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  • You may, or may not have noticed, that I’m the Groom that likes to let horses get oily instead of using a ton of products and detergents that strip your horse of his natural defenses. A horse’s coat can be really good at producing sebum (read more about that here) which is a natural stain repellant. Using gentle products as directed can help you keep everything clean, also.


  • But tails can be a different story. Just the sheer length of your horse’s tail means his own sebum shine-making skills have a long way to travel. So what do you do to get any yellow out?


dirty horse tail on gray horse



I gather some yellow fighting tools:


  • My hot water kettle. This is great in cool or cold winter weather, in the summer you can just use water.


  • My fave stain removing dry shampoo, which really isn’t technically dry, but you don’t need to rinse it.


hot water kettle and wash cloths

You can never have too many washcloths.


  • Some wash rags or cloths.


  • A hair tie or two, maybe, depending on how thick your horse’s tail is.

How to spot clean the tail:


  • Brush out my horse’s tail as best I can. I always start from the bottom and work my way up. You may need to add some detangler. Don’t freak out about lost hairs, they grow back and it’s just part of your horse’s hair growth cycle. More on that in this riveting article.


  • I then section things off. If your horse’s tail is somewhat sticky, you may be able to tie it in a knot. Or just use a hair clip or tie.


clean the tail in winter


  • Then I spritz the smaller sections with my Easy Out. Just a tiny bit, maybe a few spritzes at most.


  • I dunk my washcloth into my hot water (in winter) or regular water in summer and just that to wipe the sections of tail that have been spritzed. I try and keep the washcloth more damp than wet. Too wet and it gets all sudsy with your spot remover.


  • Carry on to the next sections.


  • I follow up with a conditioning treatment, like with a grooming oil. Or, you can spritz with a sheen product.


damp towel on a dirty tail

If the steamy cloth is too hot, I’ll wear rubber gloves.


When I do this:


  • This is usually a winter time tail cleaning activity for really cold days. I can wash a tail in the winter, but do I want my hands to get super cold and wet and the soaking tail to turn into icicles? By using the hot water to dampen a cloth, combined with a spray, I stay warm and my horse’s tail gets clean.




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