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Horse Blankets

It may not be as easy as it sounds to just clean your horse blankets.  As the blankets endure the harsh weather conditions, one may look at the horse blanket and say to their self “no problem, I can wash this in my own washing machine”.  This is a great idea until you stuff this blanket in the small washing machine and see that it does not have the capacity to spin out the hair, manure, and other debris that could be trapped in the blanket.  This is why you should bring your horse blankets to a professional facility that has the experience to clean this type of laundry.

Of course, there are some blankets you can clean yourself.  I believe that anyone who is in the horse business doesn’t want to think about cleaning blankets after a long day.  Spare time and strong arms may even be able to clean all their blankets.  Some horse owners have been known to stuff blankets into their washing machines in spite of the washers protest.  This is really not a good idea.

Horse blankets will definitely take a toll on your home laundry equipment.  Home washers are not built to handle the volume of hair, mud and manure that come off a horse blanket.  Using a home washing machine can clog up your drainage system.
Lighter weight blankets that don’t get too much dirt can be washed at home.  These blankets will consist of sheets and coolers.  Some stable sheets can be machine washed, and this depends on the bulk.  If you decide on putting a blanket in your washing machine, make certain that it has enough room to agitate; otherwise you won’t get all the dirt off.

If you want to clean your blankets at home, some suggest draping the blanket over a fence and using a shedding blade to remove as much fur and hair as possible.  Then go over the blanket with a stiff brush to remove loose dirt.  Next, hose the blanket with water and scrub it with a good detergent.  We would recommend using a detergent made for delicates, especially if the blanket is waterproof.  Follow with a thorough rinsing and let the blanket dry completely before storing.
The two biggest problems people encounter when they clean their blankets at home are storing them before they are completely dry and not rinsing them thoroughly.  A blanket that is even slightly damp will rot if it is folded and stored for the summer, a blanket must be absolutely dry before putting it away.

The best way to store your horse blankets is in a tack trunk where mice can’t get in.  A plastic bag may also be used if you tie it tightly.  Some horse owners save the zippered plastic bags many sheets and comforters come in and use them to store clean horse blankets.
When washing blankets in your home machine, it is suggested to run them through a complete extra wash cycle without soap to be sure the blanket is thoroughly rinsed.  Even the least bit of soap residue can irritate some horses, so it is very important that all blankets are rinsed thoroughly.  It is very important to use detergents with the least amount of chemicals and never use fabric softener.  Horses sweat underneath their blankets, and this can cause problems if there is soap residue in the blanket.

Additionally, always wash blankets in cold water.  This prevents the fabric from breaking down and reduces shrinkage.   If you maintain your blanket over the course of the winter it will be easier to clean in the spring.  It is suggested brushing the blanket regularly to remove dirt.  Always brush when the blanket is dry.  Brushing when dirt is wet will imbed it into the material.

In most instances, the best choice – Especially if you have expensive, heavy turnout blankets- is to send them to a professional cleaner.  The cost of cleaning usually will pay for itself in the long run by extending the life of your blanket.  Many tack shops will send blankets out for professional cleaning.  Give us a call to schedule your blankets to be cleaned.