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Care Guide - Washing Rugs

Horse Rug Care Guide

General Washing Instructions.

All Caribu horse rugs are labeled for cold water wash only, with line dry - no dryers.

  • We suggest only ever use a cold water wash.
  • Water over 40c will damage the waterproof membrane in waterproof deniers - making them useless
  • Water over 50c can damage horse rug bindings as they are polypropylene (like plastic) and can will soften/distort/shrink in hot water.
  • Never tumble dry horse rugs, as the high heat will melt or damage the fabric and polypropylene bindings and straps causing shrinkage and distortion of shape.

Specific Horse Rug Care Details:

Synthetic Denier Turnout/Waterproof Horse Rug Care

Firstly, we do not recommend machine washing synthetic rugs at all.

  • Never use warm or hot water on a synthetic denier. You will very easily damage the rubber like waterproof membrane on the underside of the fabric - making it useless.
  • We recommend you don't use detergents or any type of chemical on synthetic waterproof rugs as this can damage the waterproofing membrane.
  • Washing machines, especially top loaders which, with high agitation, can damage the waterproof membrane linings from excessive stretch.
  • We suggest you hand wash them in cold water or wipe off with a damp cloth or sponge. (Never scrub).
  • Line dry only - never use a tumble dryer.

    Cleaning Horse Rugs
    Before and after picture of the waterproof membrane on the underside of the fabric - destroyed from a single hot water wash

To help get the best life from your waterproof denier, take a few precautions.

  • Never spray a high pressure hose at your horse rug - you will damage the small pores allowing water to enter immediately.
  • Never use a harsh bristled brush to scrub the outer denier, you can spike the membrane
  • Never wash your waterproof rugs in a hot wash - cold water hand wash only.
  • Never use additives like Tea Tree Oil or Eucalyptus oil etc on your rugs or in the wash - they can effect the membrane lining
  • Never put a rug away damp or sweaty for long periods of time. Mould and mildew will eat away at the membrane over time.
  • UV will eventually effect the lining over a long period of time. When rugs are not being used, avoid leaving them out on rails in direct sun for days or weeks at a time.
  • Before storing your rug away, ensure it is dry and at room temperature. Don't take directly from a warm sunny clothes line and seal away, as this can be detrimental to the waterproofing membrane. Allow the rug to cool down and air at room temperature for a few hours before packing away.

Why synthetic horse rugs needs more care:

  • The polymer membrane lining, which gives the rug its waterproofing, is similar to a rubber compound. It has an inherent moisture content which varies with environmental conditions like humidity etc. Waterproofing eventually fails in a rug when the lining ages and the polymer dries out and becomes brittle. Storing the rug away for long, extended periods, can accelerate the breakdown of the membrane. The rug needs to be aired from time to time to allow it to 'breath' & ensure the polymer lining doesn't dry out excessively. Rugs that get used infrequently are usually the ones that have the shortest membrane life because they either dry out or grow mould.
  • Some horses perspiration can be more acidic than others, depending on diet and this can shorten the life of the membrane.

Follow the attached link to our range of Waterproof Turnout Rugs.

Canvas Horse Rug Care

To assist the long life and durability of your canvas rug please follow these instructions:

  • Stitching lines in canvas will always allow water entry. Prior to using we suggest you thoroughly wet the canvas with a light hose and let the rug dry fully in the sun. This is necessary to allow the fabric to settle and stitching to swell. If you fail to do this you may find your rug absorbs excessive water in the initial exposure to rain.
  • Store away only when completely dry - this will avoid disappointment when you next get your rug out again and find it very moldy! Do not use a high pressure nozzle to wet your rug as the high pressure could compromise the waterproofing.
  • Never scrub the canvas - to remove dirt use a damp cloth or try brushing the fabric with a soft brush when any dirt has dried. Do not use soaps, detergents or other liquid cleaners.
  • Remove any mildew as it appears, and allow the rug plenty of sun exposure afterwards.
  • No Canvas rug is waterproof - the waterproofing process is designed to repel showers & light rain & wont stand up to heavy or prolonged weather, as water will slowly seep thru the fabric and of course through any stitching. The thickness and tight weave helps to slow the seeping process. With exposure to heavy or prolonged periods of rain - you will need to remove canvas regularly and allow to dry out completely.
  • As our Canvas is 100% Cotton please ensure your rug is 100% dry before putting it away. Any moisture in the fabric will cause mildew and deteriorate the canvas during storage.

Follow the attached link to our range of Canvas Horse Rugs.

The waterproofing agent used on canvas breaks down with exposure and you may need to apply a waterproof coating every 6-12 months to improve the waterproofness of the canvas. . Much depends on the weave and fabric composition.

Cleaning Horse Rugs
Cleaning a horse rug can certainly be a challenge. (Image courtesy of Dr. Show Rug Wash)

Polycotton Paddock Ripstop & Fly Mesh Horse Rug Care

Poly Cotton Ripstop Rugs can generally be washed just like clothing, however please follow these points:

  • Only ever use a cold water wash. Avoid hot or warm water as some machines will use a very hot cycle and excessive hot water (over 40c) will start to damage the polypropylene binding, which will melt/change shape, it tends to shrink and cause the binding to bunch up.
  • Don't use a clothes dryer, has the high heat can melt or damage the polypropylene bindings and straps again causing the binding to shrink.
  • Only ever use a mild detergent. To get really dirty marks out a pre-soak or a spot spray may assist.
  • Line dry completely before use or storage.

Follow the attached link to our range of Cotton Ripstop Range & Fly Air Mesh Range.

Wool Horse Rug Care

Our Wool rugs have been subjected to heat treatment, so you should not experience shrinkage in cold water washes, however please follow these guidelines:

  • Only ever use a cold water wash with a gentle spin cycle. Wool being Wool - will experience some shrinkage in hot water.
  • Do not tumble dry, as the high heat will affect the wool and can melt or damage the polypropylene bindings and straps again causing the binding to shrink.
  • Wool is a natural fibre and will 'shed' loose fibers, especially after the first wash which will bring them to the surface.
    If excessive, just brush the rug off and any further shedding will be minimal over its life.
  • Ensure the rug is completely dry before use or storage.

Follow the attached link to our range of Warm Under Rug Range.

We also have a guide to horse maintenance here: