It’s horse rug washing season! Weather changes and a shift from spring to summer means it’s time to pack your heavy-weight rugs and whip out the lightweight and fly rugs. If somehow you have managed to keep your rugs clean and mud and poop free all season, then we will need you to share your secrets!
If you’re like the rest of us and can’t tell quite what colour your rug used to be, it’s time to give your horse’s rug a wash! We’re here to tell you how to wash horse rugs and everything you need to know to maintain your rugs and keep them in tip-top shape and save you some money by washing your rugs yourself!
Step 1 – Determining what type of rug you are washing
When you’re planning on doing your horse rug washing, it’s important to consider the material of your rug. Stable rugs and rugs with heavier fleece are bulky and won’t always fit in smaller washing machines. Additionally, they are not generally waterproof and absorb moisture, extending the drying time, so depending on your set up you might consider washing these by hand.
For lighter weight rugs, you might consider washing these in a washing machine either at home (just wait until your partner is out!) or elsewhere. It is important to always check the manufactures guidelines to ensure that you correctly wash your rugs correctly to extend the life of your rugs.
Step 2 – Prepping your rug for cleaning
Once you have established the type of rug your are cleaning, it’s time to prep it for a wash.
The first thing you want to do when cleaning your horse’s rugs is to remove as much horse hair and dirt as possible.
To remove the hair it’s good to start with a dandy brush and some elbow grease and brush off as much hair as possible. It is good to clean your brush every so often to remove the excess hair on the brush. Any extra hair and dirt left over on your rug you should take the hose to to try and remove as much as possible.
It is important to remove as much hair and dirt as possible to prevent the hair and dirt from clogging and damaging the washing machine.
Step 3 – It’s washing time!
Now that your rug is de-haired, it’s time to wash! Double-check the manufactures guidelines on how to wash your rug to ensue it’s being washed at the correct temperature and on the correct setting.
You should always wash your rugs in a mesh washing bag. This prevent the metal buckles and clips on your rugs from damaging the inside of your washing machine and prevent horsehair from sticking to the inside of the washing machines.
Do not overload the machine. Make sure that there room for the rugs to move and be washed properly.
Follow the manufactures guidelines on setting and temperature.
If the rug is particularly dirty you may want to run it on a pre-wash cycle.
Rugs should not be washed with regular clothing detergent or fabric softener. These can damage the waterproof lining so a horse rug wash should be always washed with a rug wash.
Place rug wash solution in the same washing machine compartment you would normally add your detergent and begin your wash!
Washing fleece or hand-wash only rugs
When it comes to fleece and hand-wash only rugs, these rugs are not safe to go in the washing machine, so will require a bit more work to get these clean.
To wash these rugs you will need:
- A large enough bucket to put the rug in
- A smaller bucket
- A scrub brush (a bucket brush will do the trick)
- Rug wash
- Cold Water
- A rug rack or somewhere to hang your rug
Determine how dirty your rug is. Is the whole rug so dirty you can’t see the original colour? Or is it just a few spots?
If there are only a few spots, you may consider just scrubbing only these off. Take a small bucket of cold water and add rug wash, following the guidelines on the bottle. Be sure to use cold water as hot water can damage waterproof lining on some rugs and can also set stains,
Wear gloves to protect your skin from irritation, and friction burns,
Using the brush, dip it in bucket and scrub the stains until they are no longer visible. This may take a few attempts. If you find the brush is not working effectively you may want to use your hands.
Rinse using cold water from either a bucket or a hose.
For rugs that are caked in dirt, take the large bucket and fill it with water and rug wash. Soak the rug for a few minutes to loosen the dirt.
Using the brush or your hands, scrub any difficult stains from the rug.
Change the water in the large bucket and soak for a few further minutes until the rug is clean.
Rinse the rug using cold water until all soap residue is removed.
Drying your rugs
Woohoo! All the hard work is done, and your rugs are clean. Now it is time to dry them.
Avoid putting your rugs in the drier as it can cause damage to the waterproof lining. You also don’t want to accidentally shrink your rugs!
Rugs should be hung out and drip dried whether they were machine washed or hand washed. You should use a rug rack to evenly space out rugs and safely hang them.
The Stubbs Three Arm Rug Rack is perfect if you are washing multiple rugs at once as they can be spaced out evenly.
Try and was them on a warm and sunny day for faster drying!
What to do if your rug is damaged?
If you find that your rug has any rips in it you think could be fixed than check out our blog on how to repair damaged rugs:
If your rug is damaged beyond repair, or even if you feel like updating your horses wardrobe, check out our range of rugs available!