Poll Recap: Keeping Horse Blankets Clean

Poll Recap: Keeping Horse Blankets Clean

Keeping blankets clean during the colder months can be challenging. Of the 1,128 respondents, 261 (23%) said they wash their horses' winter blankets in their household washing machines.

Photo: Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse Managing Editor

There's one in every barn. You know, that horse who loves to find the largest mud puddle and roll in it with no respect to the fact that you've just put a dry, clean blanket on him.

Owners of such horses are well-versed in the fact that cold temperatures and unpredictable weather can make it difficult to keep horses' blankets clean during the winter. So last week, we asked our readers how they go about keeping their horse’s winter blankets clean. More than 1,100 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 1,128 respondents, 261 (23%) said they wash their horse’s winter blankets in their household washing machines. Another 234 respondents (21%) use a blanket washing service, and 212 individuals (19%) said they take their horse’s blankets to a laundromat to be cleaned. Only 103 voters (9%) said they use a barn washing machine designated for horse laundry only, and 98 individuals (9%) said they had other means of keeping blankets clean.  The remaining 220 respondents (20%) said their horses do not wear blankets.

Additionally, more than 100 people commented about how they keep their horses’ blankets clean:

Several people shared how they clean their horses’ winter blankets:

  • “I wash them with a hose while draped over the wash rack and allow them to dry naturally.”
  • “I love the front-load machine—it does a great job!”
  • “I gently and carefully power wash blankets at the end of the season.”
  • “I brush mud off, hose off blankets, and hang dry on a fence to retain the waterproofing.”
  • “I usually don't use blankets, but if I do and they are muddy, I use a water hose.”
  • “I use a blanket wash designed for breathable waterproof fabrics.”
  • “I brush them off when dry and replace them yearly.”
  • “I scrub them by hand and lay them out on my driveway to spray with the hose.”
  • “I hand-wash: spread on ground, hose them, scrub with soapy water, flip, repeat, rinse, hang to dry.”
  • “I have made my own manual blanket washing tub/soaker (hose filled) with a drain.”
  • “So few of mine wear them, but I use a power washer on the outer shell and scrub the interior by hand and drip dry.”
  • “I hose them off in the summer and let them dry on the fence.”
  • “I usually only wash at end of season. They're only worn when temps hit below 0°F.”
  • “I wash them with the water hose and horse soap.”
  • “I wash them by hand in a big red plastic bucket and hang them on a fence to sundry!”
  • “I buy liquid at Bass Pro for waterproof gear. I soak them in old bathtub outside and spray them off with hose.”
  • “I spot-wash manure stains or scrub them on the deck at the end of the season.”
  • “I hand-wash the outside where soiled and brush the dirt and hair off the inside and Scotchguard.”
  • “I power hose them with detergent then power hose with water to rinse.”
  • “I use specific detergents and waterproofing designed for horse blankets.”
  • “I take them to the car wash and use clamps to hold them while washing.”
  • “I turn them inside out and hose, then leave in the sun for a month, fold, and pack.”

Some people commented that they use a blanket washing service or a laundromat to clean winter blankets:

  • “My blankets are professionally laundered and repaired after the season.”
  • “Luckily, a laundromat nearby has a machine designated for animal blankets.”
  • “I have a great local service; in addition to washing, they do repairs and alterations.”
  • “I use a blanket washing service for the ones that don’t fit in my machine."
  • "The blankets are washed at the end of winter by a service that can repair and waterproof, if needed.”
  • “I have five to six blankets. I use a wash-and-mend service.”
  • “I use a washing service that also does waterproofing on outdoor rugs.”
  • “The laundromat has big machine and more biosecurity than my local blanket service (keep hygiene to same barn equine).”

A few respondents commented that they use multiple methods/sources for cleaning winter blankets:

  • “If they fit, they go in my front loader. If not, I use a laundromat. A blanket wash service is now available.”
  • “In season I hose them off. End of season I run them thorough my washing machine, re-waterproof, and air-dry.”
  • “I use a professional blanket service for the heavy ones and launder the light weight myself.”
  • “I use a service used for the heavy rugs, but wash the lightweight ones in home washing machine.”
  • “I have three horses and many blankets. I wash/waterproof some myself and send the rest out.”
  • “I use my machine in winter and a service for storage.”

Others said they wash their horses’ winter blankets at home:

  • “I use household washing machine. Blankets are not worn on a daily basis, so they don't get real dirty fast.”
  • “I spread them out in the spring time and use a hose, a lot of soap, and a scrub brush.”
  • “I used to use a service, but it was very expensive. Now I do it myself.”
  • “I wash them by hand in the bath tub.”
  • “We have a special bag that we put in the washing machine to stop the hairs spreading onto clothes.”
  • “We have only Arabians, so the covers are small enough to wash at home!”
  • “I use bleach in the machine afterwards and don't have very bulky rugs to wash.”
  • “I wash them in my washer on gentle cycle with free-and-clear detergent, then hang them to dry.”

Some people commented that their horses very seldomly wear blankets or don’t wear them at all:

  • “I live in nice warm California, so there's no need for blankets.”
  • “My horse is a pasture buddy with a healthy winter coat of his own.”
  • “My equines are out 24/7/365 and have nature's perfect ‘blanket’ that regulates as needed.”
  • “I allow them to grow their own blankets.”
  • “I don't use blankets very often, only in sub-zero temperatures.”
  • “She grows her own coat and I bring her in if the weather is really bad.”
  • “My horse will not tolerate a blanket. He gets by in his natural coat.”
  • “For the most part I try not to use winter blankets so the horses will grow a good coat.”

Others left general comments and suggestions:

  • “My three horses grow coats like bison! Blankets are on hand in case of illness, etc.”
  • “I wash them at the end of the season and put away. Don't want to ruin them by over-cleaning.”
  • “There were stacks and stacks of laundered blankets all around at the laundromat I used!”
  • “Blankets stay filthy unless I need to have them repaired. Then the repair service washes them.”
  • “I don't wash them.”
  • “I have blankets for 21 Minis of assorted sizes, up to 35".”
  • “My blacksmith has a cleaning service for his clients.”
  • “I always wash my horses’ blankets at least twice a year.”
  • “I re-waterproof them by hand. Better results.”
  • “After each cleaning/fixing I spray all the external stitching and trim with waterproofing.”

Looking for more information on blanketing horses? You can find tips on teaching a horse to have a blanket put over his head, learn how to fit a horse blanket, read tips from readers on horse blanket repair and maintenance, and download a free report to help you decide if your horse needs a blanket—all at TheHorse.com! 

This week, we want to know: What is your ideal height for a horse? Vote now and share your comments at TheHorse.com/polls

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health e-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com. Learn More

Free Newsletters

Sign up for the latest in:

From our partners