How to Clean and Waterproof Horse Blankets



Turnout sheets and blankets are essential when it comes to keeping your horse dry and comfortable in the pasture. They repel water but are also breathable and allow your horse to handle temperature changes. During the Spring (mud season!), extra efforts need to be made to make sure you are caring properly for your turnout blankets and sheets. Those extra efforts will ensure the best performance and the most longevity.


Cleaning is key. Dirt and mud on the surface of a turnout sheet will cause it to absorb water, making your horse cold and clammy. Additionally, if your horse has a wet blanket sitting on them for an extended period, it can have negative health effects. Regular cleaning will keep your sheets and blankets in tip-top condition. Spot-cleaning is a great way of keeping your blankets clean throughout the year, in between washings, without over-washing them. An end-of-season wash, in addition to the sporadic instances of exceptional dirtiness, is typically best. Heavier blankets may require an initial hand-scrubbing before being sent through the washer.

Proper care products and methods are important. Many blanket manufacturers furnish some form of cleaning instructions, which should be the first thing you reference in your cleaning process. Conventional detergents leave behind residues that harm water-repellency. Being a gentle cleaner, Nikwax Rug Wash deep cleans while ensuring the best possible waterproof performance and breathability. Some manufacturers recommend utilizing a wash bag (mesh, etc.), which can prevent the breakage of any straps, pockets, and buckles that are attached to the blanket. Remember to never use fabric softener, as it deteriorates the blanket’s breathability, water-repellency, and wicking capabilities.

Water-repellency isn’t forever. Over time, the factory-applied water-repellency will wear off. When this happens, there is no need to throw out your sheets and blankets! After cleaning thoroughly with Nikwax Rug Wash, use Nikwax Rug Proof to add water-repellency while maintaining breathability. It’s important to use a waterproofing product that maintains breathability, so your horse can regulate their temperature efficiently when the weather changes.


Following these proper care steps will not only ensure your horse is healthy and happy, but they will also save you money by helping you to get more seasons out of your turnout sheets and blankets.

Blog credit: Nikwax

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