Turnout sheets and blankets are essential when it comes to keeping your horse dry and comfortable in the pasture. They repel water but are also breathable and allow your horse to handle temperature changes. During the Spring (mud season!), extra efforts need to be made to make sure you are caring properly for your turnout blankets and sheets. Those extra efforts will ensure the best performance and the most longevity.



Cleaning is key. Dirt and mud on the surface of a turnout sheet will cause it to absorb water, making your horse cold and clammy. Additionally, if your horse has a wet blanket sitting on them for an extended period, it can have negative health effects. Regular cleaning will keep your sheets and blankets in tip-top condition. Spot-cleaning is a great way of keeping your blankets clean through out the year, in between washings, without over-washing them. An end-of-season wash, in addition to the sporadic instances of exceptional dirtiness, is typically best. Heavier blankets may require an initial hand-scrubbing before being sent through the washer.

Proper care products and methods are important. Many blanket manufacturers furnish some form of cleaning instructions, which should be the first thing you reference in your cleaning process. Conventional detergents leave behind residues that harm water-repellency. Being a gentle cleaner, Nikwax Rug Wash deep cleans while ensuring the best possible waterproof performance and breathability. Some manufacturers recommend utilizing a wash bag (mesh, etc.), which can prevent the breakage of any straps, pockets, and buckles that are attached to the blanket. Remember to never use fabric softener, as it deteriorates the blanket’s breathability, water-repellency, and wicking capabilities.

Water-repellency isn’t forever. Over time, the factory-applied water-repellency will wear off. When this happens, there is no need to throw out your sheets and blankets! After cleaning thoroughly with Nikwax Rug Wash, use Nikwax Rug Proof to add water-repellency while maintaining breathability. It’s important to use a waterproofing product that maintains breathability, so your horse can regulate their temperature efficiently when the weather changes.



Following these proper care steps will not only ensure your horse is healthy and happy, but they will also save you money by helping youto get more seasons out of your turnout sheets and blankets.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You can clean and waterproof your horse blankets at home, or by sending them off to a professional laundry service. We recommend Blanket Express, Hoofbeat Blankets, or Tracy’s Clothesline.


Want to know more about Nikwax waterproofing products?

Products for leather tack? Products for apparel? Products for boots?

Check out one of our product catalogs HERE.


9 thoughts on “How to Clean and Waterproof Horse Blankets”

    1. Hey Melody! I assume you’re referencing Rug Wash and Rug Proof, for washing and waterproofing horse blankets? Waterproofing is best done immediately following cleaning. So if you run a cleaning cycle of the blankets with Rug Wash, then run another cycle right after (no drying needed in between cycles) with Rug Proof.

      Hope that helps! – Brennon

  1. I have already had my horse blankets washed professionally but they no longer offer the water proofing. I have read reviews that Nixwax can be sponged on to the blanket. Is this correct. I would prefer to do this.

    1. Hey Sandie! Yes, you can sponge on Rug Proof. You can learn how to do it HERE; underneath the “Use Nikwax Rug Proof in the washing machine” heading, you’ll see another sub-heading called “Apply Nikwax Rug Proof by hand.” Hope that helps! – Brennon

  2. I have Tekwash and TXdirect. I am washing two horse sheets to rewateroof. What is the best way to use the TX? I heard letting them soak in it. How long do I do this? I will hang to dry.

    1. Hey Penny,

      You’re best off using Rug Wash and Rug Proof, for horse blankets and sheets. However, if you’re going to use Tech Wash and TX, the best application method is using a commercial-size laundry machine, large enough to fit the horse sheets comfortably. Using a machine eliminates any user error, and ensures that you won’t “miss a spot.” However, submerging the sheets into a deluded TX solution in a large bucket can work too. The directions for hand application are on the bottles. Hope that helps! – Brennon

  3. Thanks for helping me understand that there would be a need for hand scrubbing if we have heavier blankets before they are sent through the washer. I will keep that in mind if I ever get waterproof blankets like those once I join a horse lifestyle subscription box. It’s because I will be joining one next year since I plan on getting my own horse now that I live in a bigger area.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *