Blanket Care Tips
Horse blankets and turnouts are an essential item around the barn - especially during the winter months! Horse blankets and turnouts can not only be washed, but should be regularly cleaned in order to help prolong their effectiveness.
Before washing any of your blankets, turnouts or sheets, be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions (usually found on a label on the blanket) for directions on the preferred cleaning method. If you cannot find any instructions, here are some general tips for blanket maintenance:
First, try to remove excess hair and dirt with a stiff grooming brush. Lighter blankets and sheets may be able to go into your washer at home, but we do recommend sourcing a professional blanket laundering service for heavier turnouts. Keep in mind - you will probably want to run your own washing machine on a couple of empty cycles after washing horse blankets and sheets to get all of the hair and dirt out of the lines.
Use cool water and a mild detergent when washing blankets and sheets at home. Make sure that all straps, clips and bands are secured in order to prevent damage to the sheet (and to you washing machine!) Do not use fabric softener. This may compromise the waterproofing on light turnouts, and inhibits the moisture-wicking of fleece. We recommend air drying all blankets and sheets.
Heavyweight turnouts must be washed by hand if you don't send them out to a professional blanket laundering service. To clean them at home, first use a shedding blade followed by a stiff brush to remove as much fur from the inside of the blanket as possible. Once you've done all that you can do for hair removal, you can cold hose the blanket while scrubbing it with a mild detergent on the inside. I prefer working on a clean, concrete slab, and use a stiff broom that's designated for cleaning blankets only to get this task done efficiently.
Repeat this process on the outside of the turnout - minus the detergent. You don't want to compromise the waterproof abilities of your turnout! If there are sections that are quite soiled, I suggest "spot treating" those areas with a really mild, and diluted detergent. Line try your turnouts in an area that receives lots of airflow (bonus points if it also received direct sunlight.)
Once completely dry, store them in a moisture tight bag or trunk until you need them next.
One extra little tip: I typically clean my winter turnouts by hand when I know that I will have a few days of warm sunshine (so usually late spring into early summer) to help speed up the drying process. I do them one at a time (because it is quite a work out) and I hang them to drip dry in direct sunlight over the course of two days. Sunlight is nature's germ killer so why not take advantage of that?