Since spring is officially here, I guess it is time to do some spring cleaning! I’ve put together a mini blog series with tips and tricks to keep your barn clean and organized. I know, I know…it’s not as fun as ignoring the disorganization that has accumulated and going on a trail ride instead…but studies show that being organized actually helps you live longer! I’m not saying you should pass up that trail ride with friends on a beautiful spring day (which I’m sure helps you to de-stress which in turn helps you live longer as well…unless your horse is a spaz…and therefore going on a trial ride might take some years off of your life)…but, the next time those spring showers pop up and you can’t ride, use this blog series to keep you productive and get your barn organized.
For part one of the series I am covering horse blankets…since it’s about that time of the year to get them cleaned, repaired and put away. Yay for warmer weather!! Let the shedding begin.
How to Clean Winter Blankets
I can smell them from here…those mud caked, hair covered, manure coated, grimy blankets that have kept your horse warm all winter. It is time to clean them up and store them until the next dreaded winter season comes along.
1. Remove Loose Dirt
The best way to start this not-so-fun task is to take your blankets outside and hang them over a fence (…okay, so maybe you can’t do this while it’s raining). Use a shedding blade to remove built up hair and a stiff brush to remove as much loose dirt as possible from the inside and outside of the blanket.
2. Spray and Scrub
Once you’ve manually removed most of the fur and mud, hose down the blanket while scrubbing it with a powerful detergent made for sensitive skin. When washing blankets that are waterproof, a detergent made for delicates is the way to go. You should also use cold water, which will prevent shrinkage and prevents the fabric from breaking down over time. Do not use fabric softener when washing your blankets, it will reduce the blanket’s ability to wick away water and sweat from your horse’s body.
Make sure the blanket is fully rinsed, you don’t want any left-over soap to irritate your horse’s skin. Giving it a second rinse isn’t a bad idea just to be sure.
Allow the blanket to air dry, the heat from a dryer can damage the fabric and waterproofing material. Be sure it is fully dry before storing it. Moisture can cause the fabric to become moldy or rot.
If you feel like your blanket could use some revival, you can re-waterproof it very easily. Find a waterproofing spray and follow the instructions to create a new waterproof layer for your blanket. I found this one on Amazon that is specifically for horse blankets.
Washing & Repair Service
If all of that sounds like too much work…or if your blanket didn’t make it through the winter unscathed and needs some repairs, there are a few blanket cleaning and repair services in the area. Try Totally Horses, Sesroh Tack Shoppe or Luckyhorse Cleaners. If you have any other recommendations for blanket washing and repair services in the area please share them in the comments below!
Store and Protect
Once the blanket is completely dry, use a storage bag, or if you want to be really fancy, a vacuum sealed bag to store it in during the warmer months. You can then put the individual blanket bags into a larger plastic container, like a Rubbermaid. This keeps them out of harm’s way (aka rodents, barn cats and other undesirable creatures you don’t want living in your blankets) until the next time you use them.
Label the container and bag with the horse’s name and blanket weight/type (heavy, medium, light, etc.) for easy finding when the cold weather hits again. Below are some great DIY ideas for organizing the large containers in a hayloft or feed room. A storage rack can easily be made out of PVC.
Be on the lookout for part two of the barn organization series!