Spot cleaning blankets during winter

Tips for cleaning blankets while still in use?
I’m brushing with a stiff brush but that’s not helping when lays down on poop :woman_facepalming:t2:

first we rarely have need to blanket our horses

I would try a handheld steamer …there are models in $25 range so if it did not work well then it would not be a huge loss… but the steam will kill all sorts of insects

I too rarely blanket.
My Rule: when temps go negative for more than a day, or we get heavy blizzard snow & horses’ backs get wet to the skin.
That said:
Poop stain shouldn’t affect blankets ability to warm, unless it goes through the lining & horse is wet where stain is.
Even then, if horse tests warm & dry on Key Places - brisket, back, flanks, belly - one damp place won’t be a Killer.

Brushing off the dried stuff s/b all you need to do.
If it truly bothers you, maybe buy a cheaper blanket for use when you take the good one home to wash?

I don’t bother. I may hose off the worst of it if it’s really grody, and use a stiff brush, but if I tried to keep a blanket clean all Winter, I’d be insane. You can spot-clean with some detergent-less cleaner (like a blanket wash) if it’s really awful.

I don’t know what the heat of a steamer would do to the waterproofing, so I’d want to research that first.


Deeper bedding and if you can, pick the stall at the end of the day. Really good waterproofing also helps if put on before the beginning of the season. And a stiff brush for any dried mud or muck. Otherwise, it is what it is.

I do get people asking how my horse keeps her blankets so nice all season and I am sure that it is the deep bedding that gets picked at bedtime. Doesn’t hurt that outside she will choose to lie down in the hay (preventing all her mates from eating lol) instead of in mud.

The only other thing to do is to have a couple of light, easily washable sheets to layer on top of the expensive blanket and rotate them constantly - when one is in the wash, the other is on and vice versa.

Perplexed as to why people who don’t blanket feel the need to answer this question :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


Why? Clean a rug in the winter and six hours later it looks just the same as before you cleaned it. A dirty rug will still keep the horse dry and warm . A wet rug is a different problem.

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well no one was answering OP’s question, it sat for a day before I replied… we have blankets most are 30 years old a few are from the 1950s… all are clean ready to use

My question then is why are people telling OP to bed deeper when they asked about how to clean the blanket?

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I don’t worry about cleaning the outside that’s the point it gets muddy, wet etc. I spray off the inside with Microtek to prevent rainrot and fungus stuff but I also have a TB with sensitive skin.

In the middle of blanket season on a warm day I take everything to the laundromat. I have doubles of turnout sheets and just use a liner until the blankets are dry. I hate looking at them when they’re filthy. It’s worth it to me to clean them once really well mid winter.


Blockquote Perplexed as to why people who don’t blanket feel the need to answer this question :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


I have no idea but thank you so very much for saying that :joy::joy:



I pick his stall and he’s pretty deeply bedded. But his hind end is leaving some things behind :wink:
And somehow he’s always laying in poop.
It’s just smelly.

And it’s only November!!

I care about spot cleaning too as I think its unfair to ask amazing barn staff to handle a blanket that is any grosser than necessary.

  1. Every day I use a tiger tongue and aggressively brush off the entire sheet before pulling it off of her.

  2. Any obvious spots get a rinse + tiger tongue.

  3. At least a few times during the winter I soap up belly and tail straps to deep scrub. To me those are the areas that can get the most “wtf howwww” in the winter so it is worth some elbow grease to not navigate a manure caked snap or crusty strap.


Clean and ready to use does not equal knowing a damn thing about blanketing on a 24/7 basis from October through April. Suggesting steam cleaning also suggests extremely poor knowledge of blanketing. Inability to understand that a very deep bed keeps horses and therefore blankets cleaner than the current fashion of minimal bedding also suggests, um, things.

Seriously, it’s ok not to know things. It’s ok not to answer a question that you don’t understand. An unanswered question is not necessarily a dirty sock that’s been left on the floor.


Isn’t it fun that some of them seem to put energy into making their blanket gross?

I have no good advice to the question because my approach is either use layers with the top layer being easy to clean so I switch that out and clean it regularly or simply have more than one of every weight so I can get it cleaned during the season.

Clearly I do the whole routine of brushing it to get it clean that way, but nothing really gets the stink and yuck off well except washing it.


My horse really only lays in dry areas so not sure how helpful this is but I usually use a flick brush to get any dirt off the blanket. I wonder if you could use baby wipes/water wipes or something gentle like that after you get the poop off? Since they’re not usually very chemical-y so the waterproofing might be more intact vs a stronger chemical spray

My fluffy pony wears an unlined turnout sheet during wet cold weather. He’s also turned out in dirt/mud so if it’s wet, it’s mud. I usually use the Tiger Tongue to brush off the worst dried stuff and wipe off the Rambo tail cord. If it’s really gross, I’ll flip it onto a fence and blast it with a hose and let it dry during the day (during a time when he won’t be wearing it for a day or so). His new sheet will have legstraps and I’ll usually just try to brush those off.

The soaking stinky stains…I just wait for them to get recovered in mud and brushed off when dry. Since he lives out 24/7 he’s always covered in something and it’s useless trying to keep it clean. I just bought a new sheet for him and I’ll take a few photos when I first put it on him. It will never look that nice ever again :frowning:


Yeeeeeeeessssss :raised_hands: This is my strategy, too. I invested in Horseware’s layering system this year: one 100g and one 200g liner, and TWO 0g outer sheets so I can bring one home to wash or repair (or hang it up to dry) and not have my entire blanketing strategy fall apart as a result.

But I think it’s an exercise in frustration if you’ve only got the one outer layer and you’re trying to spot clean it at the barn throughout the winter. And I say that in consideration of YOUR (the OP’s) sanity!

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My big beautiful Paint gelding is 27 now and was pasture boarded until a year ago. I finally found blankets that fit properly. He is narrow in front and wore out the ones we had for years. Everything else I tried was cut too large in the neck and shoulders so it was hard to keep him dry. I contacted the original store and the owner steered me to Horze Avalanche. They fit, they are well made, and can be adjusted in front which helps the fit. They have gussets in a few areas, such as the withers, that prevent rubbing.

We moved to a new barn a year ago because he wasn’t being cared for properly. He now has a stall (he hates them) with an opening in the grill to the aisleway (dinner watch, a herd activity). The back door is always open to an oversize runout on the south side. It works like a shed and small field so he can stand under the overhang and observe. He is a happy horse.

Waterproofing is the weak link. If they are outside 24/7 the blanket weathers and the waterproofing breads down. The shell will get soaked. I’ve been sending them to a blanket cleaning service that does a nice job laundering, repairing and weatherproofing. I never was able to find anything that was worth the price and effort to keep them clean myself. I brush dirt off when it’s dry. He gets an accumulation of poop on the underside of the tail flap, which is huge on these blankets. I keep a cheap ice scraper (from the car) handy and can scrape it off. Extra leg straps are in the tack trunk.

I managed to find deals on most of his wardrobe, so he has a rain sheet, 2 rain fleeces (sheet with fleece lining), medium, medium with hood, and heavyweight blizzard parka which I don’t use much. This new barn does blanket changes, including fly sheets, on 20 horses with no limits. I was getting ready to leave one afternoon and asked the BO if she wanted the medium or the hood. She said medium, then stood up, walked down to his stall and blanketed him.

I have retired him from riding due to severe lameness in the left front knee. I’m 73 and noticing sometimes I feel kind of old. I’m starting to avoid driving in the dark, and I am developing an inclination to avoid driving in snow, ice, heavy rain, etc. I no longer have to check on what he is wearing. I am a happy owner.

I used to have a hard to fit warmblood like this. He was not excessively narrow in front but he had huge withers and getting something long enough along the spine to sit well in front of the withers meant the neck was always too big. I ended up buying rugs that had enough fabric above the top chest buckle that I could sew an extra buckle onto - so 3 buckles. I used to just sew them on by hand using some webbing and plastic clips like these:

It worked like a charm, and opened up a whole new list of brands I could use. It meant I could buy ones that were actually good quality and waterproof, and then easily adjust them to fit.

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