How to Clean Horse Brushes

It’s no secret that horse brushes get dirty FAST, and at some point you’re going to have to deal with all that dirt.

If you’ve invested in a nice set of brushes, keeping them clean is also
important to help them last longer and be more effective.

how to clean dirty horse brushes

(or check out this post to find the right set for you: Investing in Quality Horse Brushes – 10 Dos and Don’ts )

Before you begin cleaning, it’s important to choose the right method for your brushes.

While synthetic brushes can tolerate strong detergents, natural brushes require a bit more care.

How to Clean Synthetic Horse Brushes

If your brushes are all synthetic with plastic handles, they can be washed in a bucket with a mix of warm water and dish soap.

Soak them for several minutes, rubbing them together to loosen the dirt and oils.

Rinse with cold water, and repeat the process until the water runs clear.

Alternatively, brushes can also be washed on the top rack of your dishwasher!

If your brushes have wooden handles, and you’d like them to last longer, you can use the same soap mix as above, but follow the cleaning directions for natural brushes below.

With all methods, proper drying time is important. Try to do your cleaning on a warm, sunny day to help speed up the process (or place the brushes near a heater for winter cleaning).

How to Clean Natural Horse Brushes

This easy, homemade recipe is quick to put together, and is great for extending the life of your brushes.

Choosing Horse Brushes | Horse Grooming | Horse Care | Savvy Horsewoman

Natural Horse Brush Cleaner


    1. Use a curry comb to loosen hair, dirt and oil from the brush. Mix
      coconut oil, castile soap and essential oils (optional) in a small
      container or dish.
    2. Once it’s thoroughly mixed, dip the brush bristles in and allow it to
      soak for 1-2 minutes. You can also use your hand to work the soap in
      for a deeper clean.
    3. Next, in a sink or with a hose, hold the brush bristles facing down
      and gently rinse. Blot with a towel to dry, then place bristles DOWN
      for several hours.
    4. Once most of the moisture is gone you can flip them over to finish
      drying with bristles UP.


Important: Do not let the wood get wet or soapy!


How do you sterilize horse brushes?

A splash of bleach can be added to the water, but only when necessary as it can be very drying for the wood and natural bristles.

If you suspect your horse may have a skin condition, switch to synthetic/plastic brushes that easier to clean and sanitize until it clears up.

How often should you clean horse brushes?

There’s no set rule, as it largely depends on how often you’re grooming, and the amount of dirt on your horse’s coat.

Once you find there’s a buildup in the brushes that’s preventing a proper grooming, it’s time to clean!

Can you put horse brushes in the washing machine?

While synthetic brushes can be put in the washing machine, I always prefer using the dishwasher. Getting bounced around in the wash isn’t ideal for the brushes (or your washing machine)

More From Savvy Horsewoman:  DIY Coat Conditioner with Coconut Oil {Printable}

Tip: Synthetic halters and tack can be cleaned in the dishwasher too!

So when’s the last time you cleaned your horse brushes? 🙂

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