You’ve been enjoying your horse riding and the Springtime shedding season comes, and suddenly you’re faced with the issue of how to get horse hair out of saddle pads.
If you, like so many others, have thrown your dirty saddle pads into the washing machine and not had the results you expected; you may be wondering how to remove the hair without turning the washer into a disaster area.
Luckily for you, we have the answers. We compiled this simple guide with tips on how to remove horsehair with just a bit of know-how and some elbow grease.
5 Easy Steps To Remove Horse Hair From Your Saddle Pad
1. Brush It Off
Use a stiff brush to remove as much loose dirt and hair as possible before washing. This is to prevent your washing machine from becoming clogged with horsehair.
Give the pad a good brushing with that same stiff brush after the wash, to remove any stubborn hairs that remain.
Any brush designed for removing animal hair will do the trick, but there are some good quality ergonomically shaped ones on the market like the Carrand 93112 Lint and Hair Removal Brush that is perfect for brushing horse hair from saddle pads.
2. Suck It Up
After brushing, give the saddle pad a run-over with a vacuum cleaner. This will suck up any hairs that just wouldn’t succumb to the brush, and prevent your washer from becoming a hairy disaster.
Any vacuum will do the job, but a cordless handheld vacuum will make the job much easier, especially if it includes a motorized pet hairbrush. Alternatively, you could use a shop vac for a heavy-duty vacuum.
3. Handle The Pressure
If you happen to own a high-pressure washer, you could just save yourself a lot of trouble and watch as the pressure lifts away all the hair and excess dirt quickly and easily. But the blast of a pressure wash may be too much for some fabrics, so read the label before using a pressure washer.
Of course, instead of a portable power washer, you could go over the pad with a garden hose to remove excess hair and muck, before throwing it into a washing machine.
Now it’s time to give the saddle pad a proper wash to loosen all the hair that is still stuck to the pad and to remove sweat odors and stains.
4. Time For The Wash
These are a few important things to consider before you throw your saddle pad in the washing machine.
What Material Is Your Saddle Pad Made Of?
A saddle pad is usually made out of natural fibers such as cotton because it is soft, absorbent, and breathable.
Most saddle pads are made of pure cotton, a cotton/polyester blend, or wool. But they can be made of other moisture-wicking materials like natural sheepskin, bamboo blends, or high-tech fabrics.
Cotton or genuine wool pads should always be washed in cold water, as warm water can cause the cotton or wool fibers to shrink. This can sometimes happen to bamboo fibers as well.
Washing Machine Or Hand Wash?
Once the prep work is done, it’s time to wash your saddle pad. Set the washer for a cool water wash. Most saddle pads can be machine washed in water up to 86°F.
Most saddle pads are machine washable on a gentle cycle, but not foam rubber saddle pads. They can be washed, but not in a machine. These saddle pads should be carefully hand-washed in lukewarm water with a few drops of very mild detergent.
If not very dirty, a damp sponge may be all that’s needed to clean up the foam pad. But if there are heavy sweat odors and stains, give it a hand wash. Scrub gently in a circular motion to loosen up dirt and hairs sticking to the pad. Be sure to rinse well to avoid soap residue.
What Detergent Can Be Used?
Wash the saddle pads with a mild detergent, and avoid using fabric softeners. But once again, we caution you to take note of the manufacturer’s care instructions before washing your saddle pad. Any remaining stray hairs, as well as dirt, dried sweat, and stains, should disappear in the wash.
Preferably use Leather Therapy Saddle Pad and Blanket Wash to clean your horse’s gear.
5. Air Dry Only
Once your saddle pad has had a brush, vacuum, and wash, you just need to dry it and it’ll be ready for your next ride.
Don’t tumble dry it; no matter how much of a hurry you’re in to get back in the saddle. The heat of the dryer will damage the fabric.
Due to the materials, they’re made of, most saddle pads cannot be tumble dried. Any leather trim ( faux or genuine), special waterproof fabrics, and especially pads made of foam latex or rubber, cannot go in the drier. Pure cotton is also prone to shrink when exposed to the heat of a dryer.
Rather hang saddle pads up to line dry in the open air, and let them dry completely before use.
Your Horse’s Shedding Pattern
Each horse’s shedding timetable remains pretty consistent from year to year, and some horses shed in a particular pattern, losing hair from certain areas first.
Using a shedding tool during shedding season to remove loose hair will greatly reduce the amount of horse hair that ends up on the saddle pad.
There are a variety of options available, including the popular curry comb. These brushes are designed to be gentle on your horse’s skin.