Gear Tips

How to Wash Horse Blankets the Easy Way

Horse blanket in winter
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Written by Kim H.

Clean Up Your Horse’s Act

As horse people, once fall hits, we immediately start thinking about when to blanket our horses and which blanket to use. I know I have had lots of questions while sitting in front of the computer researching what is best. Horse blankets serve a great purpose and will help to keep your horse comfortable in a wide variety of weather conditions. Blankets do require specific care, however, in order for them to work their best for your horse.

The unfortunate reality is that horses tend to get their blankets dirty…and they do it very quickly. Washing horse blankets can be quite a chore! It is important to do it properly in order to not damage the blanket. There are many options available for washing horse blankets. We will help you figure out which option will work best for you when it comes time to wash your horse blankets.

Blanket Basics

Horses can wear multiple blankets throughout the year of differing weights. Blanket selection heavily depends on the environment that the horse is living in and day-to-day weather conditions. There are sheets that have no insulation at all and blankets that come in lightweight, medium weight, and heavyweight variations.

The weights of these blankets are determined by the amount of fill they have.

Blanket manufacturers will usually tell you what weight they recommend for specific temperatures and whether or not your horse has been body clipped. Horse blankets also come in waterproof options in the event your horse is exposed to rain and snow.

In general, your horse’s blanket will need to be washed at the end of the cold weather season, or at minimum, once per year. If your horse gets their blanket extra dirty throughout the season, however, you may be required to wash it more frequently than that.

How to Wash A Horse Blanket

A horse blanket can be washed multiple ways. The biggest question that comes up is if it can be washed in a washing machine. The answer is yes, but it needs to be the right washing machine.

You can usually fit a sheet or a lightweight blanket in a normal washing machine, but any heavier blankets will be too large and too heavy for a standard washing machine.

Some laundromats will allow you to wash your horse blankets, but it is important to ask before you do so.

If you do not have a washing machine to use or you cannot wash your horse blanket at a local laundromat, you do have other options. There are many blanket washing services out there that will wash the blanket properly for you. This can be extremely beneficial if you have more heavyweight blankets and/or multiple blankets to get washed.

If none of these options work for you, a blanket can be hand washed. This may be an easy and convenient option if you need to wash one in a hurry. You can use a hose to spray the blanket and a blanket detergent to get it clean.

Want to watch a tutorial? Check out this DIY blanket washing video:

How To Dry A Horse Blanket

When it comes to drying a horse blanket, you do need to be careful.

Many horse blankets are waterproof and it is important that these do not get placed in a dryer as that will damage and ruin the waterproof fabric within the blanket.

Horse blankets should always be hung to dry. If a horse has gotten their blanket wet or it has just been washed, it is important to find a space where you can hang the blanket. This can be over a drying rack or even over the wash rack at the barn. If you can place the blanket in the sun, that can help to speed up your drying process.

Horses with blankets

Photo Cred: Canva

How to Repair A Horse Blanket

Occasionally our horses will play too hard or do something silly and blankets will get damaged. If it is minor such as a small rip or tear, you can either buy patch repair kits from almost any place that sells horse blankets, or you can take it to someone to repair it.

If the damage is beyond minor tears or a broken leg strap, it might be worth considering replacing the blanket. You do not want your horse to get its hoof caught in a large hole or tangled in a leg strap that isn’t functioning properly.

If you are looking for somewhere to take your horse blankets for repair, a Google search should suggest someone that will do the blanket repair in your area. A lot of times, businesses that wash the blankets will do repairs as well. You may also be able to contact a local seamstress and explain what you need.

Care Helpful Tips
Blanket Washing
  • Use a large washing machine or blanket washing service
  • Hand wash if needed
  • Use a detergent meant for horse blankets
  • Re-waterproof blanket as needed
Blanket Drying
  • Do not dry waterproof blankets in a dryer
  • Only hang dry blankets
Blanket Mending
  • Minor tears and rips can be repaired with an at-home kit
  • Find a local company or seamstress to repair it for you
  • If it is something major, it might be better to replace it
 
Horse blankets

Photo Cred: Canva

horse rookie guide to jumping

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can you put horse blankets in the dryer?

No, you should not put horse blankets in the dryer. It is best to hang dry the blankets in order to not damage the fabrics that the blankets are made out of.

Q: How do you dry a horse blanket in the winter?

In the winter, it may take longer to dry horse blankets, but you still should hang them to dry. Try to find either a warm room or direct sunlight to hang the blankets in order to speed up the drying process.

Q: What’s the best detergent for horse blankets?

Many blanket manufacturers have created their own detergents to use when cleaning horse blankets. If possible, use one of these detergents in order to not irritate your horse’s skin. If you cannot find a specific blanket detergent, a mild detergent will work as well.

Q: How do you get the smell out of horse blankets?

You may not be able to fully get the smell out of your horse blankets, but there are a few things that will help. Detergents made for horse blankets will sometimes come with deodorizers built-in. You can also purchase horse blanket deodorizers to spray on the blanket. By hanging blankets outside after washing, it will air-out a lot of the smell.

horse rookie guide to jumping

Q: Is horse blanket washing a service?

Horse blanket washing is a service that you can pay for. If you do a quick search for this service in your area, you will be able to see if it is offered. This can be a convenient way to get your blankets washed as these businesses will use industrial washers to wash the blankets and then hang them in a well-ventilated space to dry.

Q: Why do laundromats have signs saying “no horse blankets?”

Some laundromats will not allow you to wash horse blankets. This is partially due to the amount of hair that will come off of the blanket, and partially because some people are allergic to horse hair. It’s also due to the “ick” factor. Horse blankets are frequently covered in manure and urine. Overall, the washing machine may need an extra cycle to clean it out before it is ready for someone else’s clothing.

Before taking your blankets to a laundromat, it is important to call and ask if they will allow you to wash the horse blanket there.

Parting Thoughts

Washing horse blankets can seem like an overwhelming task, but there are many options out there to ensure your blankets will last for many years to come. You will be a pro at it in no time!

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About the author

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Kim H.

She began riding at eight years old and now has over twenty years of horse experience. She grew up showing at local horse shows and moved on to riding and showing paint horses on the paint horse show circuit throughout the state of California. She then went on to show at the APHA World Show. She has two OTTBs and is training them for hunter/jumper shows.

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