Q&A: cleaning rugs

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  • Q. I have several horse rugs which need cleaning but they are too big to fit in my washing machine at home. Can you tell me how I can get them cleaned, without spending a fortune?

    Carolyn Henderson answers: Even though many rugs are made from machine-washable fabric, they are too bulky to fit into most domestic washing machines.

    There are three ways of getting round this:

    • Use a rug laundering service
    • Find a launderette that allows people to wash horse rugs
    • Use a home power washer

    Most areas now have companies that wash rugs – your local saddler should know of one or may operate a service. Prices vary but seem to average around £3.50-£6.50 per rug, depending on the type and if it is a bulk order.

    Some launderettes will let you use their machines and many will have one machine designated for dirty items. Check the wash temperature before you use them, as some are set too high.

    My favourite method is a power washer. Most DIY-type stores sell them and although prices start at about £80, they are also useful for washing cars!

    Hang your rug somewhere suitable, such as over a fence, and you’ll be surprised how much dirt you remove.

    To minimise rug washing, use a summer sheet under stable rugs. They are easy to wash in a domestic washing machine and it means your horse has a clean layer next to his coat and skin.

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