leather reins cleaning

Laced leather reins – the ultimate tack cleaning challenge


  • Ah, laced reins are quite a challenging piece of tack to clean. These reins are great to ride in, with lots of grip. Terrible to clean, lots of nooks and crannies for dirt, sweat, and goopy tack cleaner to get stuck in.


  • So maybe we don’t clean these types of reins that often, or perhaps we just skip a thorough cleaning. That can lead to the leather breaking down, getting cracked, and the laces snapping over time.


clean and soft laced leather reins

Lots of nooks and crannies for goop to hang out.


The best way to clean these laced leather reins


  • Surface dirt, sweat, and grime will mix with conditioners to create a dirty paste. Get the dirt off first.


  • Take a few minutes to wipe down the reins with a damp washcloth before you get started.


  • For the flat part of the reins, you can use a damp sponge that is double-sided to get the dirt and grime removed.


  • The rough side is great for removing dirt. Have you tried loofa gloves? These are great to get in between the laces and scrubbing up the buckle areas, too.


dried out laced leather reins

These guys have seen better days.


  • Now you can use your leather cleaner of choice. When working around the laces, I will use a toothbrush to get in between and somewhat under the leather for a deep clean.


  • Keeping the water and cleaner to a minimum will help keep lather from forming. While lather seems like a good idea, it dries to a sticky finish and just becomes a dirt magnet.


exfoliating scrub gloves for deep tack cleaning

Spa gloves can help you get the goop out. Toothbrushes work, too.


  • I follow this step up with another wipe down to remove any residue. You will need to spend some time and diligence getting in between the laces, which is easier to do with some loofah-type gloves.


  • I also plan my next shopping trip to the tack store for some reins that I actually like.


go shopping button for horse products
I swear by lederbalsams, and I also like a few oils. Shop here! As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, which are not a penny more for you. I couldn’t be more grateful for your support!


Fiebing’s Liquid Glycerine Saddle Soap for Horse 16 fl oz

Effax Leather Balsam 500 ml

Fiebing’s 100% Pure Neatsfoot Oil, 32 oz. – Natural Leather Preservative

Hydrophane Leather Darken Oil, 500 ml ( 17 fl.Oz ) – This one WILL darken your tack.


Pack of 12 Tack Sponges – these are the smaller types

Honeycomb Form Tack Sponge – this is the larger variety