How to safely clean and wash your horse covers

How to safely clean and wash your horse covers

As with anything equestrian, it seems every horse owner has their own horse rug washing routine - the clean freaks get twitchy when their horses covers have a second layer of mud, and the purists swear by never washing a rug to retain maximum waterproofing longevity.

Whatever your style, we're not here to try and change your mind :) but over the years we have learned a thing or two and wanted to share our recommendations for the best way to wash a horse rug.

The waterproofing of your horse rug is really important. A wet-through rug is worse than no rug at all when your horse is out in the wind and rain, as it simply holds the cold and wet against their skin and prevents the hair from standing up to create a layer of natural insulation.

That's why all nztack rugs come with a 1 Year Warranty on waterproofing and seams!

But, as we all know, horse rugs can get really, really muddy. It's up to you whether you decide to wash, or leave them untouched, because cleaning your horse rugs the wrong way can definitely compromise their waterproofing!

Horse rug washing errors

We strongly recommend you do not wash your rugs of any brand using these techniques:

  • waterblasting
  • scrubbing with a brush
  • using detergents or washing powders (or anything that suds)
  • using water over 30 degrees celcius

It's pretty easy to damage the horse rug's fabric integrity and waterproofing layer. Scrubbing your horse cover or waterblasting it may be tempting but it is possible that will damage the fibres of the rug. Hot water and detergents can remove some of the waterproofing qualities. 

Revealing the safest way to wash a horse cover

For most horse covers, a cold machine wash on a delicate cycle is fine! If this would create tension with your partner, you can pop your rug in a feed bucket of cold or very lightly luke warm water and give it a good stomp.

If you have a laundromat near you which allows horse rugs, these machines are also fine to wash your horse covers in - as long as you set them to a cold wash, on a delicate cycle. The larger barrel size of the machine is likely to cause less creasing and pressure on folds - you might choose to set a medium spin cycle too.

We sell Flair Rug Wash which is designed to not strip the waterproofing, but it's your call if you want to add one more factor to the rug cleaning process - normal mud will normally come away cleanly in a machine wash anyway.

Bonus points

  • You can place your whole rug in a wash bag to help prevent damage and friction points
  • and it's ideal to remove the buckles and clips if possible to prevent that repetitive banging on the machine.

We recommend re-waterproofing your horse rugs after a wash

For waterproofing your horse rugs after a wash or if they have seen better days, you can grab some Flair Rain Repel online now, or the Scotch Guard Heavy Duty Watershield waterproofing spray from Mitre10 or Bunnings works pretty great too, and it's super easy to spray on.

Generally we like to wash our rugs once at the end of the season before packing them into storage all clean and re-waterproofed. Clean horse rugs are a lot nicer to pull our when the year rolls around than crusty, smelly ones!

Good luck - as always if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch!

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