I think I’ve found it– the best way to clean horse blankets. If you know me, you’ll know that I’m frugal… to put it nicely. I try to keep everything as inexpensive as possible. So, when the end of the year rolls around and it’s time to have LB’s blankets cleaned, I can’t quite stomach the thought of sending them off to a professional blanket cleaner for a pretty penny.
Last year, I tried to use my regular laundry detergent and a pressure washer out on the driveway, which was not a great idea. You have to be very careful about what soaps you use to clean horse blankets. Soaps that are too strong will strip the waterproofing. They make specific blanket-safe detergents (I’ve heard good things about this one) that are designed to get out all the dirt without stripping the waterproofing.
You also have to be careful about the manner in which you wash the blanket. The pressure washer was definitely too harsh on the seams. Looking at them afterwards, I found all sorts of small holes and loose threads. This year, it was obvious I needed to try something else.
I stopped at my local pet supply store and picked up a small bottle of Leather Therapy’s Laundry Rinse and Conditioner. It doesn’t say anything specifically about horse blankets, but I asked the staff and they gave it the OK for blankets.
I combined a small capful of this Laundry Rinse with one tablespoon of the 9 Elements Vinegar Powered Laundry Detergent. I was a little hesitant to use this one as vinegar can be too harsh to clean horse blankets. It worked well for me, but if you’re feeling a little hesitant, opt for a very gentle detergent, like Woolite, instead.
I diluted this combination in a wheelbarrow filled roughly halfway to the top with water. I left the blankets in the solution to soak for roughly 20 minutes to a half an hour. Occasionally, I would knead the blanket in the solution and turn it to ensure it’s fully covered.
Next, I pulled the now-sopping-wet blanket out of the wheelbarrow and hung it over a railing. I filled a smaller bucket with an ⅛ capful of the laundry rinse plus a very small splash of detergent and used a stiff brush to get any remaining dirt, sweat, or manure off the blanket. Last but not least, I used the shower setting on my hose to rinse off the blanket and hung it out to dry.
You should have seen the dirty water in that wheelbarrow! I dumped and replaced the entire solution with every blanket, so they weren’t just soaking in dirty water. They look much cleaner than last year. I’ll still go over them with a waterproofing spray just in case any of the original waterproofing was stripped, but I’m very happy with the result.
Happy Spring Cleaning!
Veronica’s Blanket Cleaning Solution:
1 capful Leather Therapy Laundry Rinse
1 tablespoon mild laundry detergent
7 Steps to Clean Horse Blankets
Fill the wheelbarrow halfway to the top with water and dump in the solution.
Soak the blanket in the solution for 20 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally to ensure the entire blanket is saturated. Replace the water and solution after every blanket soaked.
While the blanket is soaking, fill a smaller bucket with an ⅛ capful of Laundry Rinse and a very small splash of mild laundry detergent.
Remove the blanket from the wheelbarrow and hang it over a railing.
Use a stiff brush dipped in the solution you created in Step 3 to gently, but thoroughly, scrub off any remaining manure, dirt, etc. Make sure to get the lining near the chest, tail, and legs as well.
Hose off the blanket with your nozzle set to a gentler setting, like “shower.”
Once all the suds are rinsed off, let the blanket air dry on a warm, sunny day. After it’s fully dry, you also have the option to spray it with your preferred waterproofing spray.
Make sure your blankets are stored properly in mouse-proof containers after they’re fully dry.