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How to Clean Horse Brushes

How do I clean my horse brushes?

Now that you have purchased the best quality horse grooming brushes on the market, you may wonder how to properly clean your horse brushes to ensure long product life and enjoyment for years to come.

Cleaning traditional horse grooming brushes with a wood back takes a bit of special consideration, since all materials and bristles are natural. The following instructions will help you to

  • keep you horse brushes clean and good looking
  • enjoy your grooming brushes for many years to come
  • ensure best grooming results


Question: How often should I wash my brushes?

Answer: Less is more! Once or twice per year with mild soapy water (see below) is sufficient. Use dry cleaning methods in between (see below).

Question: What is the best way to wash my brushes?

Answer: Please read below detailed instructions BEFORE washing your brushes!!!

Question: What is the best way to disinfect my brushes

Answer: If you have to, add a few drops of essential oils with anti-bacterial properties to your wash water, such as Young Living's "Thieves" or make your own disinfecting mix (see this article on disinfecting essential oils) from clove, cinnamon, and thyme. DO NOT USE HARSH CHEMICAL CLEANERS!!! If it isn't right for your hair, it's not right for a natural goat/horse hair brush

Question: How do I store my brushes?

Answer: Store them in a closed container or drape a towel over your brush caddy. Always store brushes on the side.

for natural brushes

Brushes with untreated wood handle:

Treat the natural wood part of your brush with a thin coat of olive oil and let soak in before first use. Only treat the ‘hand’ side, not the ‘bristle’ side. We suggest to rub the oil into your hand, then carefully apply to the wood without touching the bristles. This will keep your brush moisture resistant on the hand side. (Only for natural, unwaxed wood brushes.)

Horse hair or goat hair brushes—routine cleaning:

Periodically sprinkle a fine dusting of Potato Starch on the dry brush bristles, rub it in an let it sit for a few minutes. Then remove it by stroking the brush against a curry. This will remove most dirt and oily dander.

Horse hair or goat hair brushes—more thorough cleaning:

Dip a wash cloth or microfiber rag into soapy (gentle shampoo or brush soap) water. Gently rub your brush bristles with the soapy cloth. Rinse out the cloth. Gently rub your brush bristles with the rinsed cloth several times to remove shampoo residue.

  • Once or twice per year, you may want to gently wash and rinse your brushes with a mild shampoo without soaking the wood handle!
  • After washing, shake the brush out thoroughly, then place the brush BRISTLES DOWN on a dish rack to drip off for about 1 hour.
  • Take the brushes out of the dish rack, dry the bristles briefly by wiping over them with a soft cloth or paper towel, then place them—BRISTLES UP or SIDEWAYS—on a towel in a dry, ideally sunny place with good air circulation.

Root fiber or union fiber brushes (flick or dandy brushes):

These brushes can be cleaned with very hot water, if necessary. Wash them swiftly, do NOT SOAK the brushes, especially the wood handles!

Be sure to remove all soap residue with clear water, shake out well, then dry them in a dish rack.

Wash brushes/wet brushes (hoof and bucket brushes):

Rinse with clear water after use, shake out well and on their side, preferably in a well-ventilated area.

During the grooming process:

Keep cleaning your flick, dandy, or finishing brush by stroking it against a rubber curry every couple of brush strokes to remove dust, debris and dander, then knock the rubber curry against the wall or ground so that dirt will not be reapplied to the brush during the next cleaning stroke.

Note: Use a good-quality curry to clean your horse or goat hair brushes! Do NOT use cheap plastic curries, as they will damage and pull out hair over time and make the brush loose bristles.

After the grooming process:

Thoroughly stroke your brush against a rubber curry to clean out the remaining dirt before putting your brush away.

How to store your grooming brushes:

Store your natural grooming brushes in a dry environment, either bristles up or on the side, never resting on the bristles. A closed tool box is better than an open bucket. If you have an open caddy, simply cover it with an attractive towel to keep away the dust.

Bent bristles:

In case of bent bristles after storing or shipment, simply leave your brush out in the open—on the back or the sides—and the bristles will return to their straight shape. If needed, spray with a little water, then let air-dry.

All brushes - even our high-quality synthetic brushes - will return to their shape if tightly wrapped in tissue paper for 24 hours.

Note: Slight discolorations of the wood or peeling of the varnish on the edges of the brush may occur with use over time. This does not NOT affect the usability of the brush and is simply a small cosmetic flaw.

Which horse grooming brush is right for you and your horse?

Go to the horse brush selection chart. [soon to come]

Questions about brushes? Please send us an email to info @ horsehaus . com or call 1 877 789 8334.

We'll be happy to assist you.