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Spring Cleaning – Blanket Edition

After a long, mild, and rather muddy winter in Ontario, I have slowly been bringing home Phee’s blankets from the barn, and getting them ready to wash. Below are my suggestions on how to get those blankets clean after a long winter!

Step 1: Remove Dried Mud

DSC_0346

A dirty blanket after a long winter!

 

We all know that horses enjoy mimicking hippopotamuses by wallowing in muddy areas of their paddock, so turnouts are generally pretty dirty by the end of the season! I hang the blanket over a fence and then always use a stiff plastic brush to remove as much of the mud as possible. This usually gets most of the mud off her heavy weight, however sometimes the medium weight and rainsheet need a wipe down with some damp cloths

Step 2: Decide Where to Wash the Blankets

If your family and roommates are anything like mine, they will never ever EVER want you to want to wash your horse blankets in the same washer their clothes go in. I have managed to sneak in saddle pads before, but the coolers and blankets have always been noticed before washing.

Last year I decided I would wash all my blankets myself to try to save some money. To find a laundromat in your area that accepts horse blankets, ask around your barn and at local tack shops. The other option always is to sneak in and sneak out of a local laundromat and say what you’re washing is “sleeping bags” and expect to never be asked back!

In previous years and when I was preparing to sell blankets, I always have used a professional blanket cleaning service, Sho-Clean. Some services even offer pick-up, delivery, storage and repair of your blankets! It is definitely a great option for a busy equestrian, or when blankets need to be repaired or re-waterproofed.

I have also had friends take their blankets to DIY car wash locations, however I have never done this. Let me know if you’ve done this before – I’d love to learn more!

Step 3: How to DIY Wash

My favourite blanket wash

My favourite blanket wash

The most important part of DIY washing is to ensure you do not ruin the waterproofing of any turnouts. I have always used Rambo Blanket Wash on my blankets, and I have always been pleased how they come out at the end of the cycle and how they perform after washing. It leaves blankets smelling clean and has not irritated my horses coat before! I always wash on cool cycle with an extra rinse and spin. Most laundromats have commercial or extra-large washers, and these are great for turnouts with any fill in them. I always do one blanket per machine to ensure optimal cleaning.

Before washing I always remove tail straps, my favourites are the Rambo straps that are plastic coated. For fabric straps, I soak them in hot water and soap to lift out any gunk, and then leave to air dry. For straps attached to the blanket, I have either put baby socks over the ends of the metal buckles and secured with an elastic, or wrapped in vet wrap. Makes blankets less noticeable at the laundromat when they’re not clanking around!

For fleece coolers and stable sheets, I am very spoiled now as their washing is included in board at the farm I am at now. However, before, I would take them to the laundromat and wash them in the Rambo Blanket Wash, or a hypoallergenic, non-scented detergent. Never use too much soap – it’s always easier to do a second wash!

Step 4: Drying

Anything waterproofed should never go in the dryer, and I try not to put any stable sheets in either, just in case of shrinkage. In previous years I have hung blankets out over fences on sunny days, or hung blankets to dry in the garage. If you want your roommates and family to still like you, don’t dry horse blankets in the house – not everyone appreciates the smell of wet horse!


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