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Disinfecting String Girths

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  • Disinfecting String Girths

    We've had a fungal girth infection going around, and now that we are getting it under control I have become very paranoid about disinfecting tack, brushes & especially GIRTHS!

    I use string girths, and I love them... but they are difficult to clean. Every few weeks I clean them using baby shampoo, but is there something that can be sprayed on them after every ride? I was thinking a Virkon solution.. but I didn't know if this would be irritating?

    Any ideas?

    Does anyone else use string girths? If so... how do you keep them squeaky clean, and disinfected??

  • #2
    Soak them in a bucket of bleach? Quick, easy, and will kill bacteria. Then rinse it.


    • #3

      Odoban! I think it was Laurierace that turned me on to this product, and now it's a household/barnhold staple! I buy it at Home Depot.



      • #4
        Are your girths made of mohair or special material? I am asking because different material might need the extra care you are giving it.

        I have string girths made of some synthetic yarn, so I put them in a net bag and wash them in the washng machine, top loader. No fabric softener and ALWAYS double rinse to get any soap out. Take them out of the net bags and hang to dry. They might need pulling to straighten, but then I hang them up for air drying, usually dry in about 12 hours. Mine get washed about weekly when the horses are being worked regular. If it feels salty or stiff, it gets washed. Around here a girth only washed every couple weeks would be stiff enough to be running around by itself!!

        Your getting girths with synthetic yarn could make it easier for you on the upkeep. I no longer use the nylon string girths I own, just harder to keep clean (though not REALLY difficult, getting lazy) and horses seem to like the thicker cord of the synthetic yarns. Yarns do feel softer to touch.

        Haven't had a fungal problem, nor needed any special soaps to use on them. However being synthetic yarn, I have to believe they would take almost any kind of soap and come out fine.

        A suggestion might be to try using girth covers/tubes of fake fleece, washed after every use. Tubes are fairly inexpensive, soft. That fake fleece will take hot water, weird soap, can be put in the dryer for quick turnover and used the same day or the next. I wouldn't think the fungus would go thru the cover, if only used once, especially if horse isn't sweaty in the girth area.

        Couple ideas, to help you save some time.


        • #5
          I have a close contact saddle and use a string girth. Mine is made from Trevira, which is a branded synthetic. Just like the last poster, I wash it in a net bag in the top loader, on gentle. I've had mine for 10 years or so, and still going strong. I use Woolite, but i think you would be fine with any other detergent.
          In ARizona, we don't have a lot of fungus. I put my saddle pad and girth out in the sunshine after i ride, and it gets a blast of solar power to 'bake out' any germs!


          • #6
            I'm a Lysol kind of gal... I will spray brushes, girths, boots etc and it seems to work just fine.

            I even use it at home a lot. When I change the familes sheets I spray the matresses down... my kids Dr told me to do that years ago to prevent bed bugs....
            Live in the sunshine.
            Swim in the sea.
            Drink the wild air.


            • #7
              Be careful with soaking string girths- it will destroy them. I use string girths exclusively- mohair. I wash them in the washing machine as well on hot and sometimes do more than one cycle dependig on the level of dirt. I usually put them in a pillow case tied shut with a rubber band. I use a little bit of bleach- maybe a 1/4 cup but I would recommend checking with the manufacturer before hand. Just like mentioned before, hang to dry.

              All my horses have their own girths and saddle pads- no sharing! It seems to make a huge difference in spreading and discouraging fungus.
              Last edited by cutter99; Sep. 29, 2011, 09:10 AM. Reason: Added comment
              "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White


              • #8
                It depends what they are made of--bleach will kill just about anything, including natural fibers. You certainly don't want to weaken your girths.

                The main culprit is likely that the girths are not drying out in between uses. If you simply dip them in a weak bleach solution or one with Oxi-Clean, and then let them dry completely between uses in sunlight (direct sunlight is another powerful way to kill bacteria) you will have very clean girths.

                A clean girth applied to a dirty horse is fairly self-defeating, though, so make sure that both your horse and your girth are as clean as you can get them.

                Another alternative is to simply use a leather girth--they can be very effectively cleaned, and they dry quite quickly. A clean leather girth won't harbor bacteria to the extent that string/cloth/fleece ones can.
                Inner Bay Equestrian


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pasture_Ornament View Post
                  We've had a fungal girth infection going around, and now that we are getting it under control I have become very paranoid about disinfecting tack, brushes & especially GIRTHS!

                  I use string girths, and I love them... but they are difficult to clean. Every few weeks I clean them using baby shampoo, but is there something that can be sprayed on them after every ride? I was thinking a Virkon solution.. but I didn't know if this would be irritating?

                  Any ideas?

                  Does anyone else use string girths? If so... how do you keep them squeaky clean, and disinfected??
                  sounds like the girth isnt clean enough, you need to scrub them 1st then put in a washhing machine in a pillow case on cold wash setting
                  then hang it out to dry thoroughly dont - use a detergent that persil or areil as they often effect the skin on people
                  you want a detergent that you wash woollens in like fairy woollen hand wash but use the washing machine at half load ands tie a knot in the pillow case that got the girth in it