The best tack cleaning tools


In the never-ending daily chore of tack cleaning, you have some great the best tack cleaning tool options needed to keep your leather soft, strong, and clean.  The entire purpose of cleaning your leather (and synthetic tack) is to prevent it from snapping.   The protein bonds in leather make your saddles and bridles pliable and strong.  Because the leather is no longer “alive,” those protein bonds can fail.  The result is cracking, tearing, and eventually breaking.  


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washcloth and tack cleaning brush

You can’t go wrong with a washcloth in your tack-cleaning kit.


My favorite tools for tack cleaning:


The small, natural bristle brush


  • These are great for cleaning seams, removing hair, and working conditioner into the grooves of an embossed, heavily grained, or tooled leather. For super slick leathers, you may want to avoid this.  A small finishing brush is great for this.


  • These smaller brushes sweep away dirt and hair.  You could also use them to apply a creamy cleaner or conditioner. 

using a small finishing brush to clean a dressage saddle

This saddle has textured and grainy leather and does fine with a soft or hard brush. Some smooth saddles do better with a sponge to get rid of hair.


The sea sponge


  • These sponges come in all shapes and sizes and are great for working your tack cleaner into your leather saddle and bridle. They can last a long time and are fairly inexpensive to pick up. 


  • Sometimes they take a while to dry out, especially if you use a lot of water when cleaning tack.


The double-sided kitchen sponge


  • This guy has a soft side, but I’m likelier to use the rougher side to do a deep cleaning on the tack. The rough side is great to remove that layer of “tack goo” that can accumulate.  


  • The rough side of the sponge is also suitable for metal parts, like stirrups and buckles.



The loofa glove


  • I stumbled across this gem of a tack cleaning tool one day and thought it would be awesome to clean around buckles and around those totally annoying leather stoppers on reins.  I would also use loofah gloves to clean moldy, dried tack that is not safe for use but would look good as decor or memorabilia.


exfoliating scrub gloves for deep tack cleaning


The toothbrush


  • New or slightly uses, it’s great for tight spaces, the bit, fancy browbands, and around buckles. Optional to brush your teeth with it after it’s been to the barn.


toothbrush to clean a bling browband




  • You could use a washcloth or a specialty leather cleaning cloth here. 


  • I love these to start the tack cleaning process by using a damp washcloth to wipe hairs, sweat, and dust from the tack. This is critical to do before you add your cleaner and conditioner!


Easy tack cleaning video

Alternatives to glycerin soap


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For some tack cleaning tools, you can pick some up here. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, which are at no additional cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!


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.


Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap – Baby Unscented – 8 Ounce



Spray cleaner from Carr & Day & Martin

Carr & Day & Martin tack balm for conditioning leather 


For sponges:


Pack of 12 Tack Sponges – these are the smaller types


Honeycomb Form Tack Sponge – this is the larger variety



Loofah mitts for deep cleaning barn things 

Microfiber cloths


Thank you!






tack cleaning tools