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Disinfecting and Caring for Your Brushes
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Disinfecting and Caring for Your Brushes

High-quality brushes, especially those with natural bristles, can be quite expensive. Many of our grooming kits are an investment and are used often. Just like leather tack, caring for and cleaning your brushes regularly is important if you wish to get the most use out of them. Dirty brushes won't help you get a clean horse and you'll need to replace them more quickly.

Storing Brushes Correctly

Proper storage is one of the best ways to get the most longevity from your brushes. It's easy to just throw your brushes into your grooming tote when you're in a hurry to go for a ride. Take a moment and place them into your tote in a way that allows the brushes to sit naturally as to not smash the bristles. Try to keep your grooming tote and brushes out of direct sunlight and the weather. Makes sure that after every grooming session you knock off as much dust and hair as you can before putting them away.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Brushes

Before beginning your deep cleaning you'll want to get as much hair and dirt as possible off of the brushes. Rinse off all the brushes or use a high-powered water nozzle to blast out more debris. Now for the actual deep cleaning, there are a few different options. Some people swear by bleach but if you use a solution that is too strong you can damage your brushes, especially natural bristles and wooden backs. There are commercial products on the market specifically made for brush cleaning as well. If you don't have many brushes these commercial products can work well. Another basic way to clean brushes is to use a grease cutting dish soap like Dawn. A natural disinfectant that has been a long-time favorite is vinegar!

Diluted distilled vinegar kills many types of bacteria and is completely naturally. It breaks down the sebum left on the brushes. You can mix 5% white vinegar with warm water at a 1:3 ratio. Throw in your synthetic brushes and combs to soak. For the natural bristled brushes you'll want to just dip them in. Once you are finished simply set them out to dry, especially in sunlight if possible. Don't worry about the vinegar smell. This smell disappears completely once fully dried. Brushes can last a very long time when cared for regularly.

Also, to prevent disease and keep your horses healthy always have individual grooming kits for each horse you own.

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  1. jst4horses
    This is a very good article. Those who have more than one horse, as noted, use their own brushes to avoid skin diseases spreading. How well we practice this depends on where we are. At home sanctuary, brushing down ten or thirty horses at a time, who are running together in round corrals and turned out to graze together, Not so much, but on show circuit, training with other horses who also are going in and out of barns and arenas that are used by many horses, MORE, more, more.......keep things separate,and clean. There are some green and blue soap products that we buy from veterinarians, and even dentists to keep bits, bridles and brushes, hoof picks ALL super disinfected for horses that are at high risk. The same horse, home for six months off, rolls in the grass, the sand arena, and uses brushes of the other horses out for a time, or just working in the therapy programs. Great article.
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