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View Full Version : Western peeps: How to clean a wool saddle pad?



TheJenners
Mar. 27, 2011, 02:31 PM
And it is NASTY!

I don't ride western, my fiance does, and he has a saddle pad (he calls it a blanket, the thicker one on top is the pad, sez him) that is just gross. I had been asking him for a year "Hon do you ever wash that?? It's gotta be pretty icky by now..."

Well, now it is. It gave his horse RAINROT just under the saddle the last time he rode. Ewwie. So during his deployment I was going to figure a way to clean it. My thought was a pressure washer at the car wash plus a scrubbing with my blanket/pad/wrap wash?? It's wool, so the machine is out.

(unfortunately I had been putting it off, and today I have to go to the tack store and buy a cheapie one because I'm taking a friend riding with my horses, and I refuse to use his pad)

Grataan
Mar. 27, 2011, 04:37 PM
If it really is the wool felt pad, you can't clean them really. Time for a new pad. You could TRY to gently pressure wash it but if you don't usually ride western and have never tried to clean one before I would just leave it.

If I were you, I would just air it out well and spray it with antifungal spray to get rid of the ickies.

TheJenners
Mar. 27, 2011, 04:49 PM
Omg a new one? IIRC, it was expensive. Not as much as the pad-pad, which was more than $200, but still. Dear lord. It's real wool, too. He's never going to clean it, but I don't think I can convince him to toss it either. He did spray it with some anti-fungal, but I don't think that will get down into all the little areas where the germies are hiding.

What about soaking it in a muck bucket with the soap? Gentle agitation? Then air drying for DAYS? I'd hate to think he's going to need a blanket (he calls it a blanket?) once or twice a year. He rides to the point of soaked pads, several times a week, when he's home. *I* wash mine after a few rides each, so I was of course aghasted.

Albion
Mar. 27, 2011, 05:00 PM
I'm not sure where people get the idea you can't wash wool in the washing machine. You absolutely can (silk, too) - you just can't put it in the DRYER. I wash all my woolens in the washing machine on the delicate cycle, lay flat to dry after gently rolling in a towel to get the most obvious of excess moisture out. Wool felt, maybe not - but a wool blanket?

TheJenners
Mar. 27, 2011, 05:03 PM
Hmm. I'll take a picture at the barn and post it later. I have no clue if it's wool or wool felt :confused:. I know the thick pad is felt, but the "blanket" I'm not sure about.

KBC
Mar. 27, 2011, 05:10 PM
I took the hose to mine last year, curried it first to get the loose crud off, then hosed it, gently rubbed it with the rubber curry, then hosed it off again, it took a while drying, but it came up nicely.

saddlebum122
Mar. 27, 2011, 05:12 PM
On Five Star's website they have instructions for proper cleaning of wool saddle pads.

http://www.5starequineproducts.com/saddle_pads.html

Scoll down to the bottom of the page for easy-to-follow care and cleaning instructions.

I've had my wool saddle pads for years (one for nearly ten years) and with proper care they still look almost like new and have never given my horses rain rot.

You can also buy thin throw-away liners made of the same material.

http://www.5starequineproducts.com/wool_pad_liner.html

A very affordable way to protect your investment since replacing a wool pad will cost you 200+ dollars. Since it is also made of wool it will mesh with your (husband's) pad and there is no slippage. I started using them last year and am very happy with them.

coloredcowhorse
Mar. 27, 2011, 05:16 PM
Wool felt pad is usually gray and well, felt. Wool saddle blankets are usually woven fabric, not as thick as the pad and often rather colorful. Both can be tough to clean as hair gets really worked into them. You can pressure wash (no soap and cool/cold water) at the car wash and lay out flat to dry in the sun....will take a day or two for the blanket...maybe 4-5 for the pad (turn every day or so). You CAN wash in oversized washers at laudromat (if you are really sneaky) but again, cool water and minimal soap....and no dryer. Good luck.

Better info in Saddlebum122's post...I've had the same felt pad for about 20 years (and the same blanket for about the same amount of time)...info was a bit different back then..might have to go buy a new pad although this one is really nice...the one I have is not contoured but gradually has become so with use.

Alagirl
Mar. 27, 2011, 05:25 PM
if it's felt it's already matted :)

maybe take it to the local DIY car wash and hose it down there for the ickiest part.

you can wash wool, in the washing machine. BUT on the gentle/handwash cycle (and I would not use a front loader...)
It's the agitation that mats the wool and makes it shrink.

But you can also dip the thing in boiling hot water and pull it out. as long as you do not wring it or, like I said, move it much. My mom is a weaver and that is how she treats her pieces after she takes them off the loom, wool and and pretty much everything, no matting or shrinking! :)

Also, white vinegar is your friend, as well as UV light and chlorophyl.

Grataan
Mar. 27, 2011, 05:25 PM
I'm not sure where people get the idea you can't wash wool in the washing machine. You absolutely can (silk, too) - you just can't put it in the DRYER. I wash all my woolens in the washing machine on the delicate cycle, lay flat to dry after gently rolling in a towel to get the most obvious of excess moisture out. Wool felt, maybe not - but a wool blanket?

They're not blankets. They are inch to two inch thick wool felt saddle pads. You can wash them in a washing machine but they are never the same and if not destroyed by washing they are often turned into lumpy uneven messes.

UrbanHennery
Mar. 27, 2011, 05:37 PM
I curry mine with a rubber curry, then spray them out with either a pressure nozzle on a regular hose or the pressure washer. Put them in the sun to dry. No soap, but sometimes I use a bit of white vinegar to kill any nasties and do a bit of stain lifting.

saddlebum122
Mar. 27, 2011, 05:48 PM
Does anyone else on here use the liners? I'm telling ya, those things are great. Much easier to clean than the actual pad and when they are worn out you can just toss them. They do a great job of protecting your wool pad too and are only thirty bucks a piece.

Renae
Mar. 27, 2011, 05:57 PM
I either curry and hard brush them when dry or when they have gotten really dirty hang them on the fence and hit them with the pressure washer (or a hose with a good sprayer) and let them hang in the sun until dry.

reinerspook
Mar. 27, 2011, 10:10 PM
Thumbs up for liners! They are also useful for stacking under the thinner show pads. Love them!

Grataan
Mar. 27, 2011, 11:18 PM
I curry mine with a rubber curry, then spray them out with either a pressure nozzle on a regular hose or the pressure washer. Put them in the sun to dry. No soap, but sometimes I use a bit of white vinegar to kill any nasties and do a bit of stain lifting.This is what I do if I'm really attached to the pad (like sentimental value/old horse/lots of wins attached) minus the pressure washer part.


Does anyone else on here use the liners? I'm telling ya, those things are great. Much easier to clean than the actual pad and when they are worn out you can just toss them. They do a great job of protecting your wool pad too and are only thirty bucks a piece.
I also use these except in the show ring


I either curry and hard brush them when dry or when they have gotten really dirty hang them on the fence and hit them with the pressure washer (or a hose with a good sprayer) and let them hang in the sun until dry.Vacuuming after you curry works pretty well too (I use the hose attachment thingy)

TheJenners
Mar. 27, 2011, 11:24 PM
OK, I got pictures. Also, from reading your posts, the thick FELT pad is fine, it's the thinner WOOL blanket under the pad that is walking yucko petri dish.

So there's the blanket (http://i250.photobucket.com/albums/gg280/ReplacementUsername/DSC06844.jpg).
This is the normal set up, from today (http://i250.photobucket.com/albums/gg280/ReplacementUsername/DSC06854.jpg). The thick pad between the blanket and the saddle, and then you can see a spare Navajo blanket under that.

It's the blanket I want to wash.

winfieldfarm
Mar. 27, 2011, 11:27 PM
whatever you do, if you are going to do the water route, follow this advise.

WASH THEM RIGHT WHERE YOU PLAN TO HANG THEM TO DRY!

Why, you ask? because water logged wool western pads weigh as much as a dead cow. Ask me how I know...

I will take my pads out in the drive by the fence where I plan to hang them to dry. I get them quite wet and use pH balanced soap to break up the grime. I use a rubber curry to scrub, then rinse thoroughly. Then I recruit two or three peeps to help my lift it up and onto the top fence rail upside down so the water drains out.

Alagirl
Mar. 27, 2011, 11:31 PM
whatever you do, if you are going to do the water route, follow this advise.

WASH THEM RIGHT WHERE YOU PLAN TO HANG THEM TO DRY!

Why, you ask? because water logged wool western pads weigh as much as a dead cow. Ask me how I know...

I will take my pads out in the drive by the fence where I plan to hang them to dry. I get them quite wet and use pH balanced soap to break up the grime. I use a rubber curry to scrub, then rinse thoroughly. Then I recruit two or three peeps to help my lift it up and onto the top fence rail upside down so the water drains out.

LOL, I was kind of forgetting to mention that. not that I ever had a western pad to wash, but enough similar style things to wrangle around...:lol:

jazzrider
Mar. 27, 2011, 11:50 PM
I hose my TWH's Tucker wool pad for his plantation saddle about every other ride in the summer. A little less the rest of the year. I just put it flat in the wash bay, set the hose to "jet" and push all the sweat and dirt out of it. I have two , so that I can use the other while the other one dries. Yes, they are expensive, but it pays to have two if you're riding a lot.

I hang them on a barn aisle gate to dry. They really do weigh a ton wet.

A hard brush is good for getting the surface dirt off, but only water will ge the deeper dirt and germs out. I use soap very occasionally -- I'm too afraid that it won't come out and cause him skin issues.

I also have a husband who doesn't think he needs to wash his saddle pads. :rolleyes: Fortunately, he rides English and the saddle pads wash much easier. Not that he'll do it. He's inherited all my dozens of old dressage pads. Eventually, he'll run out. :lol: But I shouldn't complain. He rides and he loves our horses. :yes: I need to remember that a little more often.

Beverley
Mar. 28, 2011, 12:01 AM
Ah, well, that which will go in the washing machine, cold, gentle cycle, goes in the machine and is hung out to dry.

My thicker wool pads, this type (scroll to bottom, Diamond Wool ranch pads):

http://www.bigbendsaddlery.com/saddlepads.html

I hose well (on the driveway) and then suck out lots of excess water and sweat and gunk with the vacuum cycle on the carpet cleaner or the wet vacuum cycle on the shop vac. Works well.

Mind you, between washings, one should brush them every now and then, either a stiff brush or one of the little toothy plastic curry combs, to get the sweat and grime off.

TheJenners
Mar. 28, 2011, 04:16 AM
I have to remind myself of his wonderful traits as well. He emailed me and told me to have my friend use the bosal, which was residing in a rubbermaid container in the garage. I pulled THIS (http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/198475_1956119584266_1281017695_2361148_3998216_n. jpg) out of the container, which the horse hair switch thing all crinkled up :mad:. Probably a very expensive piece of tack...He said it wasn't his fault the container shifted. I had to use my own personal hair straightener on it so I wouldn't feel ghetto in public (http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/199408_1927460741716_1098101155_32336652_7142752_n .jpg).

ayrabz
Mar. 28, 2011, 07:48 AM
I have one of the very expensive 'saddleright' (sp?) custom pads...and found it did such a wonderful job on our gelding's back that we have used it every. single. ride. with the exception of showing.... We've owned it probably 7 years?
I never got the custom 'baby' pads to go with it---and this pad is made with a suede 'top' and a heavy wool/material undermatting.

I could never figure out how to clean it until, year before last I had an thought!

Why not lay it out on the driveway, and use a rug cleaning machine on it. NO detergent, just the 'spray on the hot water, and extract it at the same time' kind of cleaning machine used on carpets.

Voila. AMAZING what tons of filthy sweaty black water came out!!!

I was really very pleased with myself! The underside comes out looking almost brand new.

Pcostx
Mar. 28, 2011, 08:36 AM
Take it to a car wash and use the high pressure sprayer to clean it. I wouldn't use the soap option, just plain water.

OR if you have good water pressure at home you can use your hose with a spray attachment.

Then let it air dry.

Works like a charm!

UpperFallsFarm
Mar. 28, 2011, 09:56 AM
We always use a pad liner. I have wool pads that are 10 years old and look new!

You can toss the liner or try and wash them but your saddle pads stay like new!

acoustic
Mar. 28, 2011, 11:39 AM
The 5 star wool pad cleaning instructions are pretty good. I always use a soft rubber curry on mine, then brush it with a harder bristled brush. It is dirty, hairy, smelly work but I always feel better once it is done. I don't know how tough it would be with a pad that has never been cleaned after years of riding though, lol.

They take FOREVER to dry (which is funny because my wool socks and shirts I use when hiking dry in a heartbeat), so be sure you don't plan on riding for a few days. That could just be a result of the 100% humidity we experience all year though..

P.S. The rug cleaner is a great idea!

TheJenners
Mar. 28, 2011, 03:34 PM
I never use his tack, so waiting for it to dry is fine. It only got used for a friend to borrow on a trail ride yesterday.

winfieldfarm
Mar. 28, 2011, 11:03 PM
I have never pressured washed a saddle pad. I would be afraid of blasting a hole into the wool. Anyone?

and I did forget to mention the other very good tried and true method of washing pads at my farm..... make the lesson kids do it. nyuck, nyuck...