Tack Soap That Cuts Through Built Up Dirt and Grime?
...Does anyone know of a saddle soap that can do this? A friend recently gave me a bin of various old, used items (think bridles, halters, reins, etc) that haven't been cleaned in years. I figured I would clean some of them up, keep the good ones, sell some and do who-knows-what with the rest.... Which unfortunately will probably be either dumping them in a bin at the back of the tack room, or pawning them off on friends. Anyways, they need to be cleaned.
All of the leather pieces are covered in grimey dirt. I havent been able to get the dirt off so far, unless I take a knife or scissor blade edge and scrape it off. I have been using regular old glycerin soap (the bar and the spray kind). I like the effects of glycerin soap on my other (not quite so dirty) tack, but it just isnt cutting through the grime on the new-to-me items. I do not want to continue to scrape the leather, for fear of damaging it.
If it matters, I do use neatsfoot oil on my tack after it is clean. I wouldn't be going through all of this trouble for old, used tack, but some of the pieces look very good and I do think I'll be able to get a few years of use out of them after they are clean.
Last edited by dreamingofdressage; Apr. 11, 2013 at 12:55 PM.
Castile soap. Either Kirk's or Dr. Bonner's. Apply with a wetter sponge than you are used to cleaning tack with. Rinse of with a damp sponge. (A lot of the dirt will come off when you rinse.) Let dry a bit. Oil. Apply a layer of glycerine.
There are many soaps that will do the job. A couple of old toothbrushes (soft and med bristle) are essential adjuncts. Nylon scrubbies are great for flat surfaces but if you nooks and crannies the toothbrush is Tool No. 1.
This is extreme, but has worked well for me.
Warning, I don't know how this may damage leather if you do this with more than extreme, dried-on crud that doesn't come off with normal cleaning.
1 - Mix liquid castile soap with water. A big squirt in a small bucket of warm water.
2 - Dunk it in and scrub with fingers, sponge, etc while it is under water until gunk falls off.
3 - Rinse.
4 - Towel dry.
5 - Liberally apply olive oil and rub in with fingers until it will take no more.
6 - After it dries, wipe down well with glycerine saddle soap to seal the pores.
OP-I just did a section on my website called tack detailing. It's in the step by step section and you have to scroll down a bit to get to it.
I haven't tried Beasmom's product yet but the best results I've had so far are with Leather Therapy. I use the blade of a small penknife to scrape off the grime and wipe the excess off on a towel. Really filthy leather may require multiple doses of Leather Therapy/penknife. Sometimes I let the Leather Therapy sit on the leather a little bit to let it loosen up the grime.
Thank you so much everyone! I have added a scrubby dish sponge and old toothbrush to my pack full of tack cleaning stuff, and I will go out to the barn Friday or Saturday to get to work. I do not plan to spend more money on tack soap until I see how the scrubby sponge/toothbrush works with the glycerin soap, but I have taken all of your suggestions into consideration. I have also been eyeing the Bensmom's Saddle Soap thread...
Mkevent, I went to your site and got a lot of ideas. I didn't even think about using a spinny-toothbrush (for lack of a better name) on the metal parts...
I use Kirks Castile soap for the grungy stuff, with toothbrushes and scrubby sponges, and sometimes have even scraped with a plastic putty knife (or plastic dough scraper, which does not go back in the kitchen!). I recently got some of the Leather Therapy cleaner and restorer to reclaim some moldy items and it did a great job. Just kind of spendy for not-big bottles, but you also don't need much so I think it will last me awhile.
For metal parts, that lubricated cotton stuff in a can (what is the name?!) that we always had at shows for stuffing stud holes -- it actually does a great job on metal. I found a can with my never-used-anymore stud kit and added it to my tack cleaning kit. It took tarnish and minor rust off and really cleaned up the green gunk on brass.