Equestrian’s guide to using saddle soap.
Love it or hate it, cleaning tack is essential. We all want to keep our tack and leather work looking its best but caring for it is more than just keeping it looking good. Further to looking good, cleaning and conditioning tack ensures longevity and most importantly, safety for you and your horse.
With so many products to choose from, how do you know which saddle soap is best for your tack? Find out more about cleaning and caring for your tack.
What is saddle soap?
Saddle soap is a compound which removes dirt and grease. There are a wide range of saddle soaps available, including traditional saddle soap bars, sprays, gels and liquids. These can be used on leather tack such as bridles, saddles, martingales and even riding boots, but always read the label first. Cleaning, caring and maintaining your tack regularly will prevent your saddlery from drying out and cracking, which can lead to these vital pieces of equipment breaking while your horse is in work.
What is saddle soap made of?
Each saddle soap will contain a range of different ingredients, however, traditional solid saddle soaps will often contain glycerine as it easily and effectively removes dirt from leather. Other ingredients such as beeswax help to preserve leather and lanolin will help keep leather soft and supple.
How do I apply saddle soap?
You will need:
- A bucket of warm water
- A dry cloth
- Not forgetting your saddle soap and leather conditioner
1. Once you have taken your tack apart, always remove the bit, use a damp sponge to remove the grease and dirt. When cleaning your saddlery, try to avoid your leather getting too wet as this can cause it to stretch, and the metal fittings may rust.
2. Apply a layer of saddle soap and rub it into the leather.
3. Once all the dirt is removed, wipe your tack down with a cloth.
4. Apply a leather conditioner sparingly and for very dry tack apply leather balm or oil.
Handy tip! Use a cotton bud to get into small sections or holes that a sponge can’t reach.
Synthetic leather can be cleaned using synthetic tack cleaners or warm water.
Once cleaned, ensure all tack has dried thoroughly to prevent suede from going mouldy.
How often should I clean my tack?
Cleaning your tack will depend on how often it is used and in what conditions you ride in. It is recommended that tack is wiped down after use and thoroughly cleaned once a month.
As well as saddle soaps there is a huge range of leather care products including leather balms, creams, oils and conditioners which will keep your tack looking as good as new.
Ready to get your leather sparkling?