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?
You need to use a product made especially for sheepskin. Leather Therapy Wash, Pepede and Melp are all suitable and usually can all be found in your local tack shops, or in the online shops as well (Dover, Bit of Britain, etc.).
Wash in cold water on the gentle cycle and then allow to air dry, don't use any artificial heat, it will cause the skin to dry out. When its dry you can use one of those wire dog brushes to "fluff" it a bit if necessary.
Lots of people claim to use all kinds of other laundry detergents on their sheepskin pads and maybe some of them get lucky, but who wants to take the chance with such an expensive item? Not me and both my Fleeceworks and Mattes pads are in great shape after every wash.
Thanks - I followed the cold water/gentle cycle/airdry or fluff directions to a T, which was why I was so disappointed that the pad fell apart. And agree that I don't want to take chances with it since they are expensive and I don't want to keep buying new ones.
I have the Leather Therapy Wash and Rinse, no issues with either. I've washed my pad probably 5-6 times since I've gotten it too. Cold water, on the gentlest cycle and then laid wool side up to dry. And I have a Fleeceworks.
I use Melp for my sheepskin pads (Christ Horsedream pads) in the wash up pefectly (and have been for a couple of years), you can even wash them warm/gentle cycle. Those pads said specifically not to use Woolite, so I've never tried that.
But I also had a Fleeceworks pad that completely disintegrated after only a couple of washes, I think that's more a characteristic of Fleeceworks proucts than than the detergent you used.
"Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht
... 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.
after ruining many a Fleeeworks pad my formula is:
1) wash as little as possible
2) day-to-day: air dry and brush
3) if you must wash: wash in top loader without agitator on washable fleece setting with Melp or Leather Therapy Wash and Softener. Air dry.
"ronnie was the gifted one, victor was the brilliant intellect, and i [GM], well, i am the plodder."
I had a Mattes which I didn't do anything special to and it was great...until it accidently was dried in the drier with heat. Still looks great however it no longer fits the saddle
I bought a Fleeceworks because I needed to add shims to the saddle and the Mattes pads were not in stock. Big mistake! Mattes is much better. I have had one Fleeceworks replaced and am on #2. I am scared to wash it but wash with Melp on gentle cycle. I do usually put it in the drier on no heat to get all of the water out otherwise it takes forever to dry.
Had one Fleeceworks, when I called about a problem I found their "customer service" very very rude. Would never buy another. Now I have multiple Mattes.(Square pads for schooling, shaped pads for hunting etc) I wash them frequently, front load washer, warm water, regular detergent and a capful of bleach. I put them in the dryer with no heat. They fluff up beautifully. I did ruin one by accidentally putting it in the dryer with heat. That one is still technically usable but no longer fluffy and pretty.
I use Pepede.. I think it is the best value as one bottle will last half your lifetime, hahaha! Also, don't wash too often. I'd wash maybe once every 6 months unless they got really grungy. I always let mine air out after use, too.
I'm sorry, but I think the woolite was your problem. It's not a leather wash.. you need a leather wash. Would you put your bridle in the wash with woolite? This is the same as your bridle except with the hair still on it (in this case the hair is wool, but the entire product is not the actual wool fleece). I know some people have luck with it, but technically it is NOT intended for a leather item.
Oh and for what it's worth, I use a fleeceworks pad and I'm very happy with it.
I washed my first fleeceworks with tide and it dried out the fleece. After that, I learned to wash all my sheepskin stuff in melp. However, I just realized while typing this that I just washed my dover sheepskin pad with tide and softner and it turned out fine...anyways, i'd recommend sticking with leather therapy or melp and air drying.
hand washing(don't use washer)i use just a mild dish detergent.get as much water out as i can...and then i use a towel and blow drier(on warm setting)to fluff it back up.then hung up to dry for the rest of pad to dry.
works for me,and i have had mine for 10 yrs.
Last edited by my_doran; Jan. 26, 2011 at 12:25 AM.
Reason: missed info
Never wash or dry in a machine. I use my sheepskin stuff only for shows and then rinse carefully with tepid water and a drop[ of woolite. Pat dry with a towel and air dry. Fluff with fingers if needed. .Looks like new. I will even use a baby pad until just before going into the ring. I try to keep the fleece as clean as possible.