EAH Blog Hop: Keep It Clean

Hillary's latest blog hop comes at a great time, since I recently changed up my tack cleaning routine, and it had a totally unexpected benefit.


I was never a regular tack cleaner, but then Nick lost his job and I couldn't afford to re-buy anything, ever, especially the stuff for which I paid a lot (for me).  It changed my perspective, and now I want to do everything in my power to make it last forever, and part of that is keeping it cleaned and conditioned.

Based on a tip from the CoTH forums, a few weeks ago I started wiping down my tack after every ride with a sponge lightly misted in a 10:1 water:ammonia mixture:

Labeled, just in case I leave it out and someone mistakes it for fly spray.  'A' sponge is for ammonia, other sponge is for bit wiping.
This is where it gets interesting.  These past two weeks it got hot and humid for the first time in two years, and many peoples' tack started getting moldy within a day of being cleaned.

The bridle on the hooks next to mine.

...except mine.

The bridle I use daily, and the bridle I rarely use, on the hook next to the bridle above.

Yes, I am a bit of a slob, but to be fair, I'm so short that I can barely reach those hooks.  It's all I can do to throw my bridle high enough to catch on the hook.

Definitely didn't think about ammonia's disinfecting/mold spore killing properties when I started this routine, but it's making a difference.  I actually missed a strap of the Micklem initially, and it turned green with mold while the rest of the bridle stayed black, so it's definitely the ammonia preventing the mold growth.

The rest of my routine is pretty standard (pun intended!).  I clean with Higher Standards about once or twice a month (the ammonia wipe-down helps last longer between real cleans), Peppermint in my tack trunk at the barn and Viva Carlos Sweet Lemon at home.  I reviewed my first jar here.



Then as-needed I condition with Passier Lederbalsam:

Unintentional ad for RidingWarehouse.com (incidentally, they are often the cheapest of the online retailers for a given product).

I paint it on with a paintbrush and let it sit overnight before wiping it off in the morning.  This, again, was a CoTH find, it was voted #1 by most people in a thread on conditioners.  I bought this jar three years ago, and I still have about 1/3 left.

I do my paddock boots, half chaps and tack all at once, and my boots and chaps get the same treatment as the tack, except they get polished with shoe polish, buffed with pantyhose, and an overnight treatment with solidified mink oil instead of Lederbalsam, so that they're more water-resistant.  That's about it.  I hope my leather stuff lasts a good long time!


17 comments:

  1. I've never heard of cleaning with ammonia! I'll have to give it a try, because I've had the moldy tack happening!

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    1. I think we all have lately! I felt bad for posting the picture of that bridle, but that's what my brown bridle looked like before I used ammonia on it. Just make sure it's REALLY diluted!

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  2. I am going to have to try the ammonia. My tackroom isn't air conditioned and mold galore happens if I miss a few days out.

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    1. I wish I could send you some of mine - the smallest size they had at Rural King was a gallon for $3 and I used maybe a tablespoon in this entire spray bottle! I think the blog hop code goes to the previous hop...not sure. I tried twice and it's still linking to the previous hop.

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  3. I've never heard of using ammonia! Very interesting.

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    1. It's worked well, just make sure it's really diluted!

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  4. really curious about buffing your boots with pantyhose? what's the benefit?
    i can't wait to run out of my current cleanser so that i can jump on the higher standards bus!

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    1. I learned that from my friend's dad who was in the military. Apply polish, rub vigorously with a buffing cloth (elbow grease = friction = heat = melting the polish into the boots), then buff a second time with pantyhose. I guess it's just abrasive enough to give it a serious shine, especially if you pair it with a parade gloss polish.

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  5. this is great! i'm still new to all this sort of stuff and haven't had to clean any tack because i don't own the horse... but i'm that kind of person who wants to learn it all and i would love very much to also learn to clean the saddle and all the other tack! this is a great start for me to find out more.

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    1. Yeah! This entire blog hop should be helpful. Everyone does things a little bit differently as far as how often they clean and condition.

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  6. I've definitely heard of using ammonia but it always seems like such a big gun!

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    1. It doesn't feel like it, in practice. It's seriously 90% water, and I've always heard you should be wiping your tack off with a damp cloth after every ride anyway, since dust left on it can cause micro-scratches.

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  7. I've never heard of that ammonia-water solution, but it sounds like a good idea :) And Passier leather conditioner FTW!

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  8. This is excellent! I think I may be changing my tack cleaning routine.

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