Getting rid of smell of new feed tubs

Any tips for getting rid of the horrible rubber smell of new feed tubs? These are the black rubber ones. I’ve tried leaving them in the sun for weeks and washing them and so far, nothing works. I know I must have done years ago because these are to replace old ones. Thanks!

I use these tubs & I’ve never had a horse object to the smell when the tub was new.
Do you have one & is that why you’re asking?
Eventually wears off with use is the only solution I can offer.

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might try borax or vinegar or even baking soda

  1. Fill a large bucket with water and add 1/2 cup of vinegar. Allow item to sit within formula for 1 hour, remove from water & air dry. Vinegar will have neutralized much of the exterior rubber odor.
  1. Baking soda works to absorb unwanted odors. Fill a bucket with water, mix 1/2 cup of baking soda within it, place the item inside, and let soak for 3-4 hours before removing for drying.

Yes, one picky pony!

This is what I’m trying right now (vinegar). Baking soda will be next attempt. Thanks.

No ! you want them to absorb barn smell…water add some dirty bedding and hay and allow it to cure in the sun… rinse and repeat … takes 30 days…be patient…plant them ‘loaded’ and outside … about December 15th expect them to have been properly “seasoned” * shit happens = manure helps the process.


If you mean the thick flexible ones, the rubber smell is not just from the outer surfaces. It’s from the full thickness of the tub, and as the rubber ages and is exposed to sun and air it will gradually de-gas and become less pungent.

Think of the new car smell from de-gassing of the interior materials. It takes 6 months or more for the smell to be replaced by your own blend of odors like fast food, perfume, manure, sweaty tack, and other odors carried to the car.

Maybe try rubbing some peppermint oil on the tub. But, the oil-rubber blend may be a worse scent to the horse than just the rubber.

that should work, we use vinegar with a detergent to when washing horse gear that smells… the vinegar removes the smell … we normally use a 5 % Acidity, but also have some 20% acidity we use for weed killer

and according to my two daughters who were chemistry majors ammonia if used with the vinegar should remove the smell

which I checked to make sure …at least Google agrees with them

You can make your own cleaning product to clean a rubber mat. Start by placing 1 cup of warm water in a bucket. Add 1 cup of ammonia, 1/2 cup of vinegar, and 1/4 cup of baking soda. Stir slowly to combine. These ingredients will remove any dirt from the mat and will also work together to de-funk it very nicely.

Thank you! Soaking tonight in vinegar and will try baking soda tomorrow.I’m glad these tubs last a long time as I’d hate to deal with this all the time!

If the vinegar and baking soda don’t do it, you might try burying it for a few days/week. If the manure pile is hot, that might be a great place.

Scrub well after & see what pony thinks!

You could add one of the plastic (like Fortex) feedpans inside the rubber one and use it like a liner. (or, heck just use the Fortex for a few months until your rubber one stops smelling). What’s happening is called off-gassing. When rubber is made they use all sorts of chemicals called Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs. VOCs are quite happy to turn into gas (ie, volatilize), and that gas is what you’re smelling. Your horse isn’t being a prima donna, he just prefers not to inhale butane while he eats. :laughing: It’s not going to stop smelling until those gasses make their way out of the rubber and dissipate in the air. No amount of surface treatment will work, these VOCs are infused throughout the rubber. What you need is heat & air circulation–sitting out in the warm sunshine. Which I know is not all that helpful seeing as we’re heading into winter.


Yeah, new stall mats are bad too. Leave out in the sun, scrub with dishwashing liquid and baking soda and vinegar, and as others have said, the dirtier they get, the faster the smell goes away.