How to Clean Saddle Pads: A Comprehensive Guide

July 14, 2023 4 min read

Saddle pads are an essential part of horse riding equipment. They protect the horse's back from rubbing and chafing caused by the saddle, as well as aiding in proper saddle fit. However, after a few uses, saddle pads tend to accumulate dirt and sweat, which can cause discomfort to the horse. Therefore, it's important to clean saddle pads regularly to maintain their quality and effectiveness. Cleaning saddle pads is not a difficult task, but it requires some attention to detail. 

Step-by-Step Saddle Pad Cleaning Methods

When it comes to cleaning saddle pads, there are a few different methods you can use depending on your preferences and available resources. Regardless of the method you choose below, a great first step is toremove any loose dirt or hair from the pad using a stiff brush. Then, the pad should be soaked in cold water for a few minutes to loosen any stubborn stains. Then follow one of the methods below to complete the saddle pad cleaning process. 

Hand Washing

Hand washing is a popular option for those who want to be gentle on their saddle pads and avoid any potential damage that could be caused by a washing machine or pressure washer. To hand wash a saddle pad, follow these steps:

  1. Fill a large bucket or sink with plain water.
  2. Add a small amount of mild detergent or soap to the water.
  3. Gently scrub the saddle pad with a soft brush or sponge.
  4. Rinse the saddle pad thoroughly with plain water until all soap suds are gone.
  5. Squeeze out any excess water and hang the saddle pad to air dry.

Machine Washing

For those who prefer a more hands-off approach, machine washing can be a convenient option. However, it's important to note that machine washing can be harsh on saddle pads and may cause damage over time. To machine wash a saddle pad, follow these steps:

  1. Place the saddle pad in a washing machine on a gentle or delicate cycle.
  2. Add a small amount of mild detergent or soap to the machine.
  3. Run the machine on a cold water cycle.
  4. Once the cycle is complete, remove the saddle pad and hang it to air dry.

Pressure Washing

Pressure washing is a powerful method that can quickly and effectively clean saddle pads, but it should be used with caution. High pressure can damage the saddle pad and cause it to wear out faster. To pressure wash a saddle pad, follow these steps:

  1. Use a pressure washer with a low-pressure nozzle or a car wash sprayer.
  2. Mix a small amount of mild detergent or soap with water in a bucket.
  3. Spray the saddle pad with the detergent solution.
  4. Rinse the saddle pad thoroughly with plain water.
  5. Squeeze out any excess water and hang the saddle pad to air dry.

Cleaning Wool Saddle Pads

Hand washing is the best option for cleaning wool saddle pads. It allows you to control the amount of water and pressure used during the cleaning process. You can use a soft-bristled brush to scrub any stubborn spots or stains. Lay the pad flat on a clean, dry surface and reshape it if necessary. Flip the pad over every few hours to ensure even drying. Do not hang the pad, as this can cause it to stretch and lose its shape. Do not place the pad in direct sunlight, as this can cause fading and damage to the natural fibers.

Cleaning Sheepskin Saddle Pads

Sheepskin saddle pads are a popular choice among horse riders because of their soft and comfortable texture. However, they require special care to maintain their quality and prolong their lifespan. In this section, we will discuss how to clean sheepskin saddle pads effectively.

Before washing the sheepskin saddle pad, it is essential to remove any dirt or debris from the surface. You can use a soft-bristled brush to gently brush off any dirt or debris. After that, you can wash the saddle pad using a mild detergent that is specifically designed for sheepskin products.

When washing the saddle pad, it is important to use cold water, as hot water can damage the sheepskin fibers. You should also avoid using fabric softeners or bleach, as they can be harmful to the sheepskin. After washing the saddle pad, it’s best to allow it to air dry on a flat surface without exposing it to direct sunlight, as this can cause damage to the sheepskin fibers.

Cleaning White Saddle Pads

White saddle pads are a popular choice for riders, but they can be a challenge to keep clean. Regular cleaning is essential to maintain the appearance and performance of the pad. Before washing the pad, use a stiff brush to remove any loose dirt or hair. This will help to prevent the dirt from becoming embedded in the fibers of the pad during washing.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is an effective natural cleaner that can help to remove stains and odors from white saddle pads. Mix a small amount of baking soda with water to form a paste. Apply the paste to any stains on the pad, and let it sit for a few minutes before washing.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is another natural cleaner that can be used to clean white saddle pads. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the pad, and let it sit for a few minutes before washing.


Overall, proper cleaning and maintenance of saddle pads can help prolong their lifespan and keep horses comfortable and healthy. By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this article, horse owners can ensure that their saddle pads are always in top condition.

Benefab’s® Therapeutic Saddle Pads Combine Healing + Functionality

Saddle pads are an essential part of an equestrian's tack collection. They provide comfort to the horse and help to protect the saddle from sweat and dirt. The Benefab® Therapeutic Saddle Pads fabric is infused with far-infrared emitting minerals that emit far-infrared rays, keeping back muscles supple and relaxed. 

These saddle pads help harmonize bodily functions safely and naturally, stimulating recovery time, promoting blood circulation, increasing oxygen flow, and ultimately reducing pain and stiffness. The material is also breathable with wicking qualities and is dirt resistant for easy cleaning, butmust always be cleaned in cold water so as to not lose the far-infrared properties of the fabric. 

The Benefab® Therapeutic Saddle Pads are available in both Western and All Purpose styles.


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