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Cleaning gunk out of brushes

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  • Cleaning gunk out of brushes

    I swear I have seen threads about cleaning brushes, but my search yielded irrelevant results (which reminds me: I should make a suggestion to the mods to consider re-evaluating the search function because I rarely find what I'm looking for, and get 50 pages worth of results)

    I have a great little hard brush that I don't want to throw out, but it's really gunked up- I don't think I've ever cleaned it in the several years I've had it.

    I'm 99% sure the entire thing is plastic/synthetic, including the (I'm assuming) nylong hand-strap. I highly doubt the neon green and blue bristles and hard black backing are anything but synthetic, lol! I hate to throw it out if there is a fairly quick fix. Oh, and it's gloomy and damp here in WNY, so letting anything "dry in the sun" is not going to happen for at least 5 months


  • #2
    i don't know if this will work for you, as i try to clean my brushes frequently enough that they don't get super gunky, but what i do is get the brush wet, squirt on a generous amount of dish soap, and then scrub at the bristles with my hand/scrub against the wash stall floor or bottom of the sink, then rinse with a hard stream of water from a hose or utility sink. i do this any time my brushes start to get dirty-looking, you can't get a horse clean with a dirty brush!

    i've also seen little packets of effervescent 'brush cleaner' but i'm not sure how they work!

    ETA i also leave them to dry on an old towel by the furnace in the laundry room if i can't put them in the sun
    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique



    • #3
      I just let them soak in hot water and Pinesol for half and hour, then scrub as necessary. Dry with a towel, and set in the sun. Given the weather in WNY today, I'd let it dry next to a heat register instead
      Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


      • #4
        I run a load in the dishwasher periodically.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Woodsperson View Post
          I run a load in the dishwasher periodically.
          Me too.


          • #6
            The magical (magickal) substance that gets horse dander gunk off of curry combs is Listerine. I would try it on your brush. Put brush in small bucket of really hot water, soak w/ generous glug of Listerine. Then use your hand to brush off the gunk, rinse, then dry as best you can, and air out.

            Dish soap doesn't break up that gunk. But Listerine does.

            Tell me if it works!
            I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
            I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


            • #7
              Originally posted by Woodsperson View Post
              I run a load in the dishwasher periodically.
              Really!? wow never thought of that! Although I would have to do it when the boyfriend isn't around, lol that and the horse blankets! hehehe

              But I have always soaked mine in an all-purpose cleaner in hot water for half an hour to an hour...


              • #8
                Originally posted by Woodsperson View Post
                I run a load in the dishwasher periodically.
                Me, too. I put a lot of horse stuff in there.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Woodsperson View Post
                  I run a load in the dishwasher periodically.
                  LOL! I have a hard enough time sneaking saddle pads into the washer, I can't imagine my husband's response to brushes in the dishwasher!!!

                  Not that he's hard to live with or anything... he used to spend two hours every Monday afternoon at the laundr-o-mat doing ALL my horse laundry. He felt the horses needed clean pajamas every week
                  Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


                  • #10
                    I have a sensitive chestnut that is prone to things like scratches, rainrot, etc so I try to keep his brushes pretty clean.

                    I fill up a bucket with hot water and throw all the brushes in there, then one by one I use dish soap to clean them.. I just use my hands.

                    After that I hose them off and then they soak in a Lysol bath for a few hours.. then rinse again and leave out to dry.


                    • #11
                      HOT water and Simple Green Germicidal/Fungicidal (I get it from Home Depot). DA BOMB!!! let it soak and then scrub.... rinse well
                      <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                      • #12
                        I've got two packets of that effervescent brush cleaner sitting at home....perhaps it's time to try it out!!! In the past, I've always thrown them in a bucket of water with just the tiniest amount of bleach in it, let them sit for awhile, then use a wide tooth comb and hands to get the gunk/hair out. Then they go through several 'rewash' cycles without the bleach to ensure it's all gone.
                        To be loved by a horse should fill us with awe, for we hath not deserved it.


                        • #13
                          How does this dishwasher method work? Though I should wait until I get my own apt. to do this....my parents might have a heart attack if they see any hair let alone brushes in the dishwasher.

                          I still have to sneak Bobo's laundry in the washing machine during the day so my dad doesn't see it.
                          "The horse you get off f is not the same horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better" - unknown author


                          • Original Poster

                            Since they're super gunky I think I'll try the Listerine suggestion first. I worry about putting them in dishwasher because I have a vision of the gunk just turning into a goop and still being clogged in there.

                            Aaaaaand now I have ideas to help me stay on top of their cleaning on a regular basis!!! Not to mention the shame of announcing on COTH that I am a naughty, gross person with icky brushes that are totally preventable, lol!


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jaideux View Post
                              Since they're super gunky I think I'll try the Listerine suggestion first. I worry about putting them in dishwasher because I have a vision of the gunk just turning into a goop and still being clogged in there.

                              Aaaaaand now I have ideas to help me stay on top of their cleaning on a regular basis!!! Not to mention the shame of announcing on COTH that I am a naughty, gross person with icky brushes that are totally preventable, lol!
                              How do you explain THAT to the Maytag repairman?

                              I like Listerine for brushes too. I have used Dawn dish soap as it's great on oily stuff and it's oils from the skin and coat that cause the gunk. Use regular blue Dawn, not any of the other crazy varieties.
                              F O.B
                              Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                              Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique


                              • #16
                                Soak in "Woolite", hair practically melts right off....
                                MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

                                Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                                • #17
                                  I always used sudsy ammonia on my own hair brushes that got gunk build up. The ammonia rinses clear and it breaks up the grease, but won't hurt natural bristles.


                                  • #18
                                    You've never seen a Neon Green & Electric Blue Wild Boar?

                                    Since your brush is synthetic I'd go with the gentle Woolite soak over any machine.
                                    My horsehair brushes have stood up very well to the washer but I'd worry about plastic bristles coming off in agitator or spin cycle..
                                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                                    • #19
                                      I run them thru the dishwasher too. Used to do it weekly when I was grooming for a living.
                                      I have also put them in the washing machine (laundry, not dish) in the barn too. Kinda noisy but you don't notice it if you aren't in there ;-)


                                      • #20
                                        Disolvable denture tablets also work well - in much the same way as the commerical brush tablets.