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Washing Sheepskin

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  • Washing Sheepskin

    I know there are threads out there about this but I specifically wanted to ask those of you who use the sheepskin directly against the horse.

    I currently have a Fleeceworks Perfect Balance that I probably wash once every two weeks since it gets so sweaty and dirty looking. Of course, I shrunk because I mistakenly washed it in warm water so to replace it I was looking at the Thinline Comfort Pad (the sheepskin one with the Thinline built in, plus the ability to add shims if needed). However, in Thinline's care directions it says to only wash the pad 2-3 times in its entire lifetime! (which I hope would be at least a couple of years) Really? Does any out there manage to wash their sheepskin that little if they're using it directly against their horse's backs? Whats the secret?

  • #2
    I haven't had problems keeping the sheepskin itself clean. Most of the stuff brushes out once it is dry however the cotton backing is the issue. I have trouble getting it clean with the MELP cleaner.

    I loved my Mattes pad. I washed it all of the time and was able to get the cotton clean. I messed up and put it in with my whites on hot...it shrunk. I never had issues before that. It washed and then laid flat to dry. Turned out perfect.

    I now have a Fleeceworks pad that you can add the shims to. The tack store didn't have a Mattes in stock when I needed it and said the Fleeceworks was just as good.

    I don't like it nearly as much. It is very difficult to get clean and I'm totally paranoid about shrinking it again.

    I'm washing it right now and it generally takes two cycles to get it clean and then I also have to do extra spins to get the water out. It holds way more water than my Mattes did.

    I don't know why it does that.

    If I were in the market, Mattes is where I would spend my money.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Mattes was an option too. I actually really wanted the Mattes Correction full pad (the one that is the full saddle pad with sheepskin underneath) but I'm still up in the air.

      I agree about the Fleeceworks though-SUPER soft but takes ages to dry. At least a day and that is with a fan under it! And the cotton never gets clean, which I've come to accept. That is why my next pad (whatever it may be) is going to be black!

      Comment


      • #4
        I've had fleeceworks, mattes, and the dover sheepskin pads. Since I ride a lot of horses, my half pad tends to get dirty quickly. I hate dirty pads so I probably wash them more than most people. I just throw the pad in the wash on 'delicate' and with only melp. I made the mistake of washing my very first fleeceworks pad with tide and it dried the pad out. Luckily, one/two washes with only melp restored most of the softness and fluffiness. So from then on, I've only used melp.

        eta: I've found tide bleach pens to work really well on getting stains out of the quilted part!

        Comment


        • #5
          Oh boy. This is a topic near and dear to me!

          I have two horses, both of which get sheepskin to their skin. They are also both BIG time sweaters, so their pads get really gross really fast. I wash their pads at least once a week. I have had the best luck using this- http://www.smartpakequine.com/pepede...x?cm_vc=Search

          I wash my pads in a front load washer on delicate. I more or less follow the label on the bottle, but will occasionally up the amount of stuff I put in. Once that cycle is done, I run them through one more spin cycle on high speed to really wring them out. The delicate cycle doesn't spin fast enough for that. Once they are done in the washer, I pull them out, then PULL the pad itself, a little in every direction. This helps get the hide back into shape. I then toss them in the dryer on either "very low" or air dry, usually for 40mins, sometimes an hour (and what temp I put them on is dependent on my patience, and whether I want to ride the next day). Once they are done in the dryer, I give them another pull, then lay them flat to dry the rest of the way, turning them occasionally. They DO take forever to dry, but this method seems to get them dry enough that if I do it early enough one day, I can ride the next. The one mistake I kept making was putting JUST the pads in the washer. It would unbalance the load, then the washer, being overly intelligent, would not spin fast to prevent from ruining itself. Once I figured that out, I started throwing towels or other pads in to balance the load.

          I've been doing this with the pads I currently have, and they are both in great shape. One is a Mattes pad, the other is an Engel pad (which is actually in better shape than the more expensive Mattes!). I have had several Fleeceworks (some used harder than others) and have never had any luck with them. They all shrink and get stiff, no matter how well you take care of them.

          I also don't find that the MELP works as well as the stuff I linked to. I used it for a long time, then decided to give this stuff a try and it does a great job. The pads come out very clean, soft and fluffy.

          As for only washing that Thinline pad a few times in its lifetime....yeah, right. They must just assume everyone will put it on top of another pad.
          Amanda

          Comment


          • #6
            I always sort of laugh about the "don't wash your sheepskin" stuff....I mean, sheep do get wet, don't they?

            But really, I do use my sheepskin right against my horse...that seems to be the way to reap the benefits of sheepskin. I've washed it with Woolite in my front loading washer, or in the driveway with a bucket of water and a little Woolite. Then I let it dry in the sun.

            At home we have a bunch of very nice carpets from Turkey that my husband brought home after an assignment there. They're either wool or silk, and they get the same treatment...wash in the driveway with Woolite & dry in the sun. That was how everyone washed their carpets in Turkey, and I figured they had lots of experience

            Comment


            • #7
              I too put the sheepskin against my horse's back - why use sheepskin and then put it on top of another pad - makes no sense at all.

              I was in a front load machine but use regular HE liquid detergent but not very much and have had no problems in 6 years with my Mattes pads. I take them out and hang over a deck railing to dry out of the sun. Again no problems.

              I do brush the sheepskin to remove dirt and sweat once the pad is dry whenever it is used. This helps tremendously in allowing me to launder maybe once every other month - I ride 4 days a week and my horse is not a big time sweater but does sweat.

              Comment


              • #8
                I've posted this once before, but I'll do it again, to save someone the aggravation I've gone through with the Thinline sheepskin pads. DO NOT BUY THEM. At least not the combination one. They CANNOT be washed without falling apart. Thinline doesn't want you to use Melp, they want you to use baby shampoo. Both of them caused my pads to DISINTEGRATE in the wash. This is in a front loader, cold water, hand wash cycle.

                I'm on my fourth of these pads, after the company replaced the first two, and I lost another that I bought on eBay after trying to wash it. The one pad I have left I'm using for schooling without washing until I can't stand it anymore, at which point I'll just have to throw it away.

                I like the pad very much, but I'm with you - it has to be washed every now and then, and these pads just cannot take being washed. I'd get a Mattes pad (which is what I have to show in now) and then put a Thinline on top of it if you must. There is some flaw with stitching the Thinline to the sheepskin that just causes utter destruction of the pad if you get it wet.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I was careful to only brush my Thinline sheepskin pad out for a long time. Eventually it got to where I couldn't stand the filth anymore and I carefully washed it. Sadly, like KingoftheRoad's, mine also fell apart upon washing. If I were to get another--and I might, because I did really like the pad--I would not risk washing it again. Right now I'm looking into more washable alternatives, because my horse is a sweaty beast.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by KingoftheRoad View Post
                    I've posted this once before, but I'll do it again, to save someone the aggravation I've gone through with the Thinline sheepskin pads. DO NOT BUY THEM. At least not the combination one. They CANNOT be washed without falling apart. Thinline doesn't want you to use Melp, they want you to use baby shampoo. Both of them caused my pads to DISINTEGRATE in the wash. This is in a front loader, cold water, hand wash cycle.

                    I'm on my fourth of these pads, after the company replaced the first two, and I lost another that I bought on eBay after trying to wash it. The one pad I have left I'm using for schooling without washing until I can't stand it anymore, at which point I'll just have to throw it away.

                    I like the pad very much, but I'm with you - it has to be washed every now and then, and these pads just cannot take being washed. I'd get a Mattes pad (which is what I have to show in now) and then put a Thinline on top of it if you must. There is some flaw with stitching the Thinline to the sheepskin that just causes utter destruction of the pad if you get it wet.
                    Wow, really? Thats horrible! Too bad because its a good concept.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I wonder why they don't just design it to separate the Thinline from the sheepskin to wash, like the nice fleece lined, leather girths?

                      I put aThinline on top of my sheepskin for one of mine. You could also get Mattes correction pad and buy Thinline shims.
                      Amanda

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I wouldn't buy a combination pad, its just too hard to wash. I use my sheepskin pads against the horse's skin and am careful to turn it upside down to air dry after each use, before brushing with a stiff brush to remoe as much dirt as possible. That way I am able to postpone washing too frequently.

                        I use Melp, Pepede or occasionally Woolite, cold water, gentle cycle and air dry with great results. I love my Mattes pad and think the sheepskin is far superior to my Fleeceworks pad, the Mattes looks like new after each wash.

                        And for those of you commplaining about not being able to get the cotton quilted part of the pad clean, Mattes has custom colors for both the sheepskin and the cotton. I have natural sheepskin with navy cotton, so it never looks grubby. I got mine from Malverne Saddlery but Dover also offers a large assortment of colors to choose from.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I studied up (as y'all know I do with everything) and used this stuff:

                          http://aussieknowhow.com/Woolskin.aspx

                          That was for straight sheep skins-- long and short nap-- not for pads with any cotton involved.

                          It did a great job with both the fleece and leather components of the skin. IMO, leather wants something different than does fleece or cotton. That's probably the issue involved in your Thinline disasters. Reading around about other disasters, it seems that Woolite makes the leather very stiff.

                          Cold water. Delicate. I use too-big front loaders at a laundromat. I'd even think about using the soap just in the "pre-wash" and not "wash" phase of the cycle so that I could get it rinsed out thoroughly. I'll bet that hand washing in a muck bucket would work really well for your pads.
                          The armchair saddler
                          Politically Pro-Cat

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It is sheepskin washing time for me (1st time with new pad). Before viewing this thread- I went to my local feed store and bought some sheep shampoo. I am going to try washing my sheepskin pad in this. I'll report back after the experiment has been conducted.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Am I the only person who has had their Fleeceworks pad molt?

                              As in patches of the fleece come loose in the washer (and dryer and everywhere else).

                              It looked like a snow storm in my laundry room.

                              Did I do something horribly wrong? I did use the regular cycle, which is warm water. Would that have loosened the glue that holds the fleece to the quilted part of the pad? The pad is still usable, but it was expensive, so I am super bummed that wads of fleece were all over the floor and not on the pad.

                              Has anyone used the Dura-tech pads from Schneiders? I love their anti slip pad and they have made one right into a 1/2 pad:
                              http://www.sstack.com/english_saddle...thetic-fleece/

                              It comes in synthetic or real fleece.

                              It almost looks too good to be true.
                              "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                              Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                LOL, no little pieces of fleece have come off my Fleeceworks too. Although not in a cloud of fluff, I'll just notice little pieces sticking out and I'll pull it out.

                                Comment

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