Cleaning tack without a sink

Hi. Recently moved to a new barn and they don’t have a sink with a tack hook nearby that could be used for cleaning tack. There is a wash stall with a hose and i could use a bucket and dip a sponge in the bucket but the water will get dirty fairly quickly and I don’t want to redeposit the dirt from the dirty water back onto my tack. Anyone else have this issue? How do you clean your tack without a sink?

I’ve never had a sink near where I cleaned tack. Use a bucket of water. Dip your sponge in the water and wring it out outside of the bucket and wipe down the tack. Before you put the dirty sponge into the bucket, squeeze it tight again, and release in the bucket to soak up water. Remove from bucket and wring out. (can’t help it) Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Not as efficient as an endless supply of clean water to rinse the sponge, but not bad once you get the hang of it.

Alternatively you can get the stuck on grime all loosened up, even though the water in the bucket gets dirty, then use a fresh bucket to do a final wipe down with clean water.


Well it’s like washing the floor. You give it one go washing the mop in the pail, you dump that and have a second go with clean water. Dirty water still loosens more dirt.

Really saddles are rarely that dirty anyhow.


I don’t have a sink in my barn. I just get water in a bucket - clean everything - then get another bucket of water for “rinsing”.

For hanging your bridle/girth for cleaning - get a double ended snap hook, attach one end to where the cross ties are anchored and then attach a harness cleaning hook to the other end. Cheap, removable and multi-purpose.

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Also use bit wipes, which is the most critical part in my view.

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Whaaaat that’s a thing? I’ve literally always used a bucket, even when sitting in a tack room that has a sink :lol:


Pretty simple - even with a sink I always used a bucket (or 2) to clean my tack. I mean it’s not that big of a deal. On nice sunny days I often clean my tack out by the ring - use the fence rail as my saddle rack and the post for my bridle rack. I can recall many pre-show nights where I had my tack strewn on my living room floor to clean my tack while watching TV. I used a bucket and tossed the dirty water and refilled with clean. Those were the nights where I took everything apart and put back together again. We have those wooden saddle holders near the crossties and I use those for a bridle hook and saddle rack too. I’m sure you, OP, will figure something out.


If I’m just doing a quick wipe down after a ride, it’s done while the saddle is still on the horse using the bucket method in the second post. Bridle stays on the hook or I’ll put the crosstie through the bridle and hook the end to the other end of the crosstie on the wall.

Deep cleanings/conditionings are done at home.

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Even at home I do not have a sink in the barn. The bucket method works great.

OP, let your mind get creative on places to do your tack cleaning.
You will soon learn that a designated spot with a sink is not needed.

In the summer I like to clean outside so I typically end up at the picnic table. In the winter tack cleaning happen inside my house.

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The Madden Method uses very little water - just to clean the bit and dampen a towel…

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I don’t even use a bucket.

I dunk a washcloth in the water bucket in the closest stall, wring it out, walk back into the heated tack room, and wipe off all my tack. If I need a little more water, I have a spray bottle with plain water and spray some water on the rag. If I’m wiping down my tack with saddle soap, I still get all the dirt off first with the rag, then I use the spray bottle to moisten the sponge a bit while applying to my tack.


Same – I used to ride at a barn where the nearest sink was the bathroom adjacent to the tack room, and they REALLY didn’t want people using it for dirty tack water (totally understandable - that stuff gets gunky). You could use it to fill the tack cleaning bucket, but dirty water was dumped out in the wash rack.

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Usually just wipe the bit off & go over everything else with a leather wipe (sold in the auto section of stores).

If I’m deep-cleaning I use the bucket method, changing out the water in the bucket when it gets too dirty.
I do this for my mini’s leather harness - lots more parts, buckles, nooks & crannies to get sweat out of :wink:

No tack hook at my home barn. I hang tack off the gate at the barn front door.
Or, if it’s a nice day, on the bench just outside.

This is what I do. Every 5th or 6th cleaning, I’ll grab a bucket for some hot water and more frequent dunking/wringing.

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No one has a sink at the horse show.

ETA- Unless you are at QH Congress.


Laugh, you did not look at the QH Congress thread, did you?

I have a sink in my feedroom, but I never use it for tack cleaning, except to fill up the buckets.

I use two small buckets, one “clean” the other “dirty”. I start with the sponge in the “clean” bucket, and use that (either plain or with saddle soap or Lexol) on the tack. Then I rinse it out in the “dirty” bucket, squeeze it out, and get fresh water from the “clean” bucket

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We have a big it utility sink in the barn but it’s dim in there and I like to take my gear out into the sunshine to see what I’m doing. Plus during busy times no one would appreciate me hogging that space to clean tack. I take a bucket of hot water out to the picnic table. I’ve never used a hook to clean bridles, especially if you are tsking them apart.

Nope. I take it they had a plethora of sinks?

The one set up that I can only imagine how many stalls it used to convert to their area had a kitchenette with a sink, with hot water.

It was quite impressive.

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