How To Clean Your Saddle Pad

Cleaning and Washing your Saddle Pad

One of the most common questions we are asked is what is the best way to clean my saddle pad? Will it survive the wash?

Followed by, I’m a little scared of washing it!

We’re here to help and to make life easier so we have put together some handy tips to help you to wash your saddle pads! 

If you take care when cleaning your saddle pads they should last a long time.

How to wash your saddle pad

Front load washing machines are best for cleaning your saddle pads. Top load machines can really damage your saddle pads, especially if the velcro straps get caught around the central agitator which can cause stretching, marks, or even tear your saddle pad.

Using a laundry wash bag or pillowcase (that can be tied shut) are helpful in saving your washing machine from the perils of horse hair!

At the end of the day, always follow the manufacturers instructions and if in doubt, go with the coldest and most gentle wash cycle you can use to get your saddle pad clean!

What temperature should I wash my saddle pad at?

This depends on the fabric. When cleaning your wool saddle pads it should always be washed on a cold water setting. Using warmer wash cycles will increase the risk of shrinking and damaging your genuine wool saddle pads.

Always follow the manufacturers instructions, but we recommend no more than a 30 degree wash cycle for most saddle pads. 

Occasionally it is possible to use a warmer wash setting like 60 degrees, but this should be done with extreme caution and is totally dependent on the fabrics your saddle pad is made from.

In almost all circumstances, saddle pads should never be put in the dryer! Air drying in a well ventilated area that is out of direct sunlight is best. 

How should I clean my wool saddle pad?

Merino wool saddle pads are fantastic for the comfort of your horse! They provide superior cushioning between the saddle and your horse and the use of natural fibres against your horses skin helps to reduce skin irritation and wick away moisture, keeping the back cooler.

Merino wool saddle pads require some special attention when cleaning. The number one thing you can do to clean your wool saddle pad is air dry them in a well ventilated area away from direct sunlight.

How to dry your saddle pad - Active Equine

When dry, gently brush loose dirt and hair off.This will remove surface dirt, rejuvenate the ‘loftiness’ of the wool fibres and reduce the amount of times you need to wash your wool saddle pad and will prolong the life of your saddle pad.

Genuine wool saddle pads should only be washed in cold water. Wool should NEVER be popped in the dryer! (Unless you want to turn your saddle pad into a funny shaped shrunken saddle pad for your neighbours miniature pony?!)

Always use a gentle laundry liquid designed for wool products. There are a number of good products available for this purpose and we recommend following the instructions of both the saddle pad manufacturer and the cleaning liquid directions to ensure you are caring for your wool saddle pad correctly.

How often should I wash my saddle pad?

White competition saddle pad should be washed as soon as possible after use to prevent any marks or stains from ‘settling in’. There is much debate about what laundry products to use if soaking white saddle pads but overall, highly abrasive detergents should be tested on an inconspicuous spot first and should be used with extreme care. 

Regular soaking in napisan and the like will ultimately reduce the life of your saddle pad.

A good rule of thumb for regular saddle pads is that they should be washed whenever they look dirty. This could be every day or it could be once per week. Dirt, hair and grime that can build up under a saddle pad will cause rubbing and can contribute to skin conditions if not removed regularly. 

After every ride, always brush any loose hair and dirt off your saddle pad. If your horse is groomed thoroughly before work, there shouldn’t be much grime there at all. 

If your horse sweats during work or you live in a warm climate, saddle pads should be washed every time they become wet. If our horses were human, it would be the equivalent of putting on yesterday's dried sweaty gym clothes! Yuk!

We hope you have found this guide to cleaning your saddle pads useful!
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