Tack n' Talk

Online Equestrian Resource

Washing Your Horse Blankets

Presented by:  Larissa W. Cox, M.Sc. Applied Equine Science

No matter how well you brush your horse before you blanket him, the blanket will always end up accumulating matted hair as well as mud and manure stains.  Leaving the horse blanket until the end of the winter months can result in a daunting washing task!  Basically, you have three options for cleaning your blankets:  hand wash (yuck), machine wash or send them out for professional cleaning.

If you decide to hand or machine wash those nasty blankets, you should remove as much hair and debris as possible using a stiff brush before washing.  Detach any straps that can be removed and place them in a washing bag.  If they cannot be detached, protect your washing machine by wrapping them in old socks before laundering the blanket.

A great product that I have been using when washing my blankets is the Horsewear Washing Bag.  It comes in various sizes and will accommodate those large winter blankets.  Simply insert blanket into the bag and place in washer.  However, what I have found when using this product, is that you really have to brush as much hair, dirt and sand as much as possible from the blankets as the bag will hold this accumulation.


Remember that thorough cleaning will extend the life of your horse blankets.  Many front loading washers have the “Sanitize” cycle which is great for removing that horsey smell from blankets and I have found that one wash cycle is enough to thoroughly clean the blankets.  However, I do not wait until the end of the winter month to clean my blankets!  I constantly rotate blankets, weekly during the winter season.  After washing, I inspect for wear and tear and make any necessary repairs.


If you use conventional detergents on your blankets, the breathability of the waterproof blanket may become impaired resulting in your horse becoming clammy and uncomfortable.  Use a product specifically manufactured for horse blankets such as Caretex, Rambo Wash, Nature’s Blend Blanket Wash or Nikwax.  For example, by using Nikwax Rug Wash, a natural vegetable-based soap,  will revitalise the durable water repellency (DWR) of the blanket.  It is very important that waterproof fabrics allow moisture vapour to pass through them, or breathe; otherwise moisture can’t evaporate and will condense on the inside of the blanket.


The majority of blanket washing products  can be used in all washing machines.  They removes dirt and detergent residues, while protecting the waterproof and breathability of the blanket.   No matter which product you choose, select a cycle that will allow the blanket to rinse thoroughly.

I never put my blankets into the dryer only allowing the blankets to hang dry.  It is important to mention at this time, to waterproof your blankets at least once a year with Nikwax Rug Proof.


1 Comment»

  Mudassar Latif wrote @

I remember the old new zealand rugs too-heavy canvas and how they could rub thru the triple crown plush lined couldn’t stay centered on the horse up to the great blankets we have today-so good that who uses stable blankets anymore?

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