Guest post by Bonnie Jeter.
More and more, health conscious consumers are looking for safe, all-natural alternatives to often expensive–sometimes toxic–products made to clean, shine, and deodorize; horse owners are no exception. For an inexpensive, highly versatile cleaner with a multitude of uses, look no further than the designated baking aisle at your local grocery store for a box of old-fashioned Baking Soda (100% sodium bicarbonate). Around the barn, uses for this odorless, user-friendly product are numerous. Take a look at a few easy ways to integrate the powerful white powder into your cleaning program:
• Deodorize and neutralize odors in your stall. The next time you strip your horse’s stall, sprinkle a light coat of Baking Soda over the bare floor and then recover with bedding. This will eliminate the odor of urine and keep the stall smelling fresh, longer.
• Clean water buckets, automatic waterers, and feed buckets/tubs. Baking Soda is a mild alkali and acts as a cleaning agent, causing dirt and grease to dissolve easily in water. Stir up a paste of baking soda and water, and apply to a small brush for scrubbing away algae and stubborn, dried feed particles.
• Rejuvenate your grooming supplies. Add a cup of Baking Soda to a bucket of warm water and stir until dissolved. Throw in body and tail brushes, curry combs, rubber mits, hoof picks, and shedding blades. Soak for a few hours and rinse well.
• Clean down to the shine, without scratching. Before show time, apply two tablespoons of Baking Soda to a wet sponge and shine bits, spurs, buckles, and all other metal parts on tack.
• Brighten your horse’s chrome. Baking Soda is an effective hair wash, especially when mixed just before use. Add one part Baking Soda to three parts water to form a paste. Scrub the paste into your horses white socks, let sit for one minute, and rinse.
• Tackle the smell in your tack trunk. Open a box of Baking Soda and place in your tack trunk to absorb musty smells and keep odors from sweaty, smelly gloves, for instance, at bay.
• Remove stubborn odors in your horse’s laundry. When washing your horse’s wardrobe, including saddle pads, coolers, sheets, blankets, and towels, add 1/2 cup of Baking Soda to the load.
If it’s a full-on cleaning spree, a small 16-ounce box of Pure Baking Soda won’t last very long. This handy cleaner is available in bulk, however, and with a quick Google search can easily be purchased online in larger quantities.
Bonnie Jeter is an amateur dressage rider and a freelance writer/photographer who lives in Central Texas. When she is not clacking away on her computer or seeking out interesting locales for taking photos, she enjoys spending time with the one important equine member of the family, her 15-year-old Trakehner gelding.