A 7-Step Guide on Cleaning Horse Brushes

Are you scratching your head about how to clean horse brushes and how often you should do it?

Then you’ve found the right place to find an answer to this common horse question. 

We’ve prepared a detailed guide to help you clean and disinfect both synthetic and natural brushes.

Just keep on reading. 

A 7-Step Guide on Cleaning Horse Brushes

Wondering how to clean horse brushes? We've got you covered! Check out our step-by-step guide to cleaning natural and synthetic brushes.

Brushing horses is important because it helps you establish trust, bond with your animal, and keep their coat shiny.

Grooming also improves blood circulation and distributes natural body oils to keep the horse’s fur smooth.

However, eventually, you start to notice that grooming supplies are getting dirty and that it takes you longer to groom your horse.

You realize that it’s time to clean your synthetic brushes and other grooming items, but you have no idea how to do it. 

Fortunately, cleaning horse brushes isn’t that difficult and won’t take much of your time once you are familiar with the process. 

But first, let’s see why it’s so important to keep your grooming equipment clean.

Why Should You Clean Grooming Tools?

To brush a horse, you need a whole box of grooming supplies – curry combs, dandy brushes, soft brushes, hoof picks, and so on.

Unfortunately, horses love to roll in mud, dirt, grass, and other stuff, which means that hairs, dirt, and grime build on the bristles as you use them.   

For once, it’s unsanitary to use dirty brushes to clean horses since all you’re doing is smearing more grime and gunk on your animal.

For another, the longer you don’t clean brushes, the deeper the dirt settles and the harder it is to remove it. Not to mention that 

Moreover, you can’t use dirty brushes and bristles on horses with sensitive skin or ones that have a skin condition, for example, rain rot.

It can make your horse’s condition worse and lead to skin issues. 

Fungal infections and other contagious diseases also require frequent brush cleaning and disinfection to avoid spreading the disease.

How to Clean Horse Brushes in 7 Steps

Wondering how to clean horse brushes? We've got you covered! Check out our step-by-step guide to cleaning natural and synthetic brushes.

How often you will have to clean the brushes depends on how many horses you’re grooming and how often you use this set of brushes.

To keep the brushes clean as much as possible, you should remove as much hair, dirt, and dander as you can on a regular basis.   

Since brushes accumulate hairs and dirt, you should do the cleaning outside. You don’t want to wonder how to get rid of horse hairs embedded in the carpet. 

#1 Gather Your Supplies

Before you start cleaning your brushes, gather the necessary items so that you don’t have to run around the yard looking for them.

Don’t worry. You don’t need any special tools to clean natural and synthetic horse brushes, just the bare necessities: 

  • warm water
  • dish soap, horse shampoo, or Dawn dish detergent
  • a large bucket or a horse waterer
  • a towel

It’s an excellent idea to check that you’ve collected all the dirty brushes and that you haven’t forgotten any lying in the stables.

You want to clean all brushes at once to save time and resources.  

#2 Remove the Excess Hairs and Debris

Start the cleaning process by loosening and removing as much of the gunk and hairs as possible. You’ve got several ways to do that:

  • run a rubber curry comb over the bristles 
  • rub the brushes together
  • brush them against a hard surface, such as railings or walls
  • use a garden hose to dislodge the dirty (suitable for synthetic brushes) 

#3 Prepare a Brush Bath

I know some horse owners who don’t mind soaking the brushes in the sink.

However, I don’t recommend it because of the debris, excess hair, and grime that’s going to get stick to your sink. 

Instead, get a large bucket and fill it with warm water since warm water is better for dissolving grease and oils embedded in the brushes. 

If you’ve got tons of brushes to clean, you might also use a horse waterer.

Once you’ve filled the bucket, add the cleaning agent to make soapy water. You can use antibacterial dish soap or a mild horse shampoo.

Some owners also like Dawn detergent since it’s great for getting rid of oily residue. 

#4 Soak the Brushes

Submerge your brushes in the water and wait 10-15 minutes for the brushes to soak.

Use a rubber curry comb or your fingers to thoroughly remove the rest of the hairs and dirt from the bristles. 

You can soak synthetic brushes with plastic handles without worrying about damaging the bristles or warping/cracking the handles.

However, natural bristle brushes are a bit more delicate, and they shouldn’t sit long in the water.

Usually, you can soak the bristles for no more than 1-2 minutes before you have to remove them. 

Keep that in mind, while you’re cleaning your grooming tools. 

#5 Rinse and Repeat

Once you’ve removed the debris from the bristles, rinse the brushes with water to remove the soap residue.

Then soak again and repeat until the water runs clear and you feel that the brushes are clean.

Don’t forget to scrub the curry comb along with your horse’s hair brushes.  

#6 Dry the Brushes

An important part of cleaning your grooming tools is drying them properly.

If moisture accumulates, it can damage the bristles, and you’ll have to throw the bristled brush soon enough:

  • Get a towel and place the brushes on the side (bristles down) to allow the water to drain. 
  • If it’s a sunny day, you can leave the brushes to dry outside on a hot spot.
  • When the bristles are dry, you can flip the brushes (bristles up) to dry them completely. 

#7 Don’t Forget Your Grooming Bag

Once you’ve got clean horse brushes, it’s time to take care of the rest of your grooming equipment.

After all, you can put away your squeaky clean tools in a dirty grooming bag!

Fortunately, you can wash most grooming bags in the washing machine.

Still, check the label to make sure and avoid machine-washing anything made of leather or sheepskin.  

You should also wash your saddle pads, polo wraps, and boots.

They get sweaty, smelly, and stiff after a while, and all that dirty harbors bacteria that can irritate your horse’s skin. 

If you need a visual guide to cleaning your horse’s brush, I also like this video below:

Should I Disinfect Horse Brushes?

Cleaning bristled horse brushes and disinfecting them are two different things.

Usually, you don’t need to disinfect your brushes unless you’re grooming several horses with the same grooming kit or your horse has a contagious skin disease.

Naturally, disinfection comes after you’ve thoroughly cleaned the brushes with water and soap. Here’s how:

  • Get a bucket with water and put on some gloves because disinfectants can irritate your skin.
  • Add bleach (1/4 cup to a gallon of water) or Lysol (2 1/2 tablespoons to a gallon of warm water). 
  • Let the brushes soak for a couple of minutes.
  • Rinse well to remove the disinfectant residue.
  • Put the brushes on a towel to dry. 

Unfortunately, bleach and other disinfectants aren’t good for natural horse brushes. They dry out the bristles and can damage the wood.

So, use bleach to disinfect natural fiber brushes only when absolutely necessary.  

It’s better for horses with skin conditions to use synthetic brushes since they’re easier to clean and disinfect.

As a responsible horse owner, you should take care of your grooming kit regularly.

Brushing a dirty horse, (especially a white one) with dirty brushes won’t get you great results, and you can actually exacerbate some skin conditions. 

You should also check and clean your tack on a regular basis to avoid accidents.

Wondering how to clean horse brushes? We've got you covered! Check out our step-by-step guide to cleaning natural and synthetic brushes.

What do you think about our guide on how to clean horse brushes? How do you deal with your grooming tools? Share Below!

Grigorina S
Grigorina S

Grigorina grew up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped her into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). She has two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but she also feeds her neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them. Follow her on FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM
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