Washing Sheepskin Saddle Pads
Hi - looking for some advise for what to use washing my show sheepskin saddle pad. I used Woolite with my Fleeceworks pad last year (since the label said to use a wool-compatible detergent), and the wool fell off the skin in patches after only 5 or 6 washes. I called their customer service and I was quite rudely told I wasn't supposed to use Woolite, so it was no wonder my pad fell apart. Needless to say I wasn't going to buy another one of their pads.
Now I have a new Equine Comfort sheepskin pad. I was told by the tack shop I got it from that the EC pads hold up better than the Fleeceworks (wish I had known that before I bought the first one :P), but I want to make sure I baby this pad with whatever cleaner it needs so that it will last me longer than a show season. Their website recommends Leather Therapy’s Leather Laundry Solution and Laundry Rinse. Can anyone confirm that the LT soap works? Is there something else that I should be using that might be better than the LT?
DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE DRYER
... is really #1.
I have been using sheepskin pads for a few years and did a search on the COTH forums ;-) and that was the rule generally repeated.
I get about 9 months to a year out of a pad with weekly washing the in summer and monthly washing in the winter.
Cold water wash and rinse.
I use whatever detergent was on sale that week. I, too, heard Woolite was a ripoff for wool and other delicates.
In my basement near the boiler they dry overnight on a line or I put them over a chair on the patio in the summer.
The pads I buy are the eBay/Horseloverz specials for @ $75 or less. They have no label and they are nice and fluffy just not as fancy which is just fine for an everyday pad. No more rubs on Mr. Sharkfin. The cotton on top wears out before the sheepskin does!
If I had a Fleeeceworks/Mattes pad I would probably only use it for shows and buy special detergent. I just have a hard time paying double for something. They probably buy their products from the same supplier. Kind on like clothes! INC and Style & Co. (in Macy's) are made from the same material at the same plant. Different label, different price.
In between washing you can GENTLY use a metal round curry to remove the worst of the dirt and sweat. If you are diligent you can really go a long time in between washings. I have seen on the direction the use of a metal comb with fine teeth for that job but me using the curry very gently has worked well, when I have the time!
The more you wash it the more you break down the connection between the skin and the wool.
I did have one pad shred after one washing. I think now, looking back, it was a defective pad more than my doing anything different.