At times you may need to clean and disinfect your tack and equipment. Perhaps your vet diagnosed your horse with a fungal or contagious disease and you want to avoid transmission to other horses through your tack.
You can perform this skill on a routine basis which keeps tack and equipment clean and reduces bacterial accumulation. It is good practice to wash your pads and blankets periodically.
Saddle Pads & Blankets: Start by removing as much debris, dirt and hair as possible, using a hair brush and a vacuum. If blankets are machine-washable, run them through the wash cycle with Lysol disinfectant rather than bleach (1 cup in a standard top-load washer). Spin dry and run through a second wash cycle with a small amount of regular laundry soap.
Add vinegar to the rinse water to help remove soap residue (1 cup vinegar in a standard top-load washer). Air-dry pads and blankets completely, ideally in direct sunlight. If your washing machine is too small to wash saddle-pads, ask your local Laundromat for permission to use their machine.
Grooming Tools and Nylon Halters: Start by removing all hair and debris. Soak brushes, nylon halters and tools in hot water and dish detergent to loosen and remove all oils, dander, scabs and other residue. Scrub them clean and rinse them in plain water. Then place them in bleach water (1:20 ratio) or dilute Lysol water (2.5 tablespoons of Lysol per gallon of water). Soak for 30 minutes minimum. Discard solution. Rinse well, and allow tools to air dry.
Tips for safety & Success
It is important to remove as much soap residue as possible because some horses are sensitive to detergent residues that remain in saddle pads and blankets after cleaning. Orvus WA paste is a gentle cleaner that can be used instead of laundry detergent.
Keep track of the detergents and cleaning products that you do use, just in case your horse develops a condition after tack and equipment is cleaned and used. Discuss this development with your vet.