Can You Tumble Dry Horse Rugs? (what the experts say)

All the experts agree that horse rugs should never be tumble dried. Horse rugs are relatively expensive items so you’ll want to do all you can to keep them in a good condition. 

This includes ensuring that the rug is regularly cleaned to prevent any damage to your horse. For example if you allow grease to build up on the rug it could cause hairs from the horse being ripped out. 

This could leave your horse with painfully exposed skin on the shoulders etc.

Drying a horse rug in a tumble dryer could seriously damage the horse rug, it could shrink or the binding could shrink. Plus the house could smell of horse for days.

You should follow all of the drying tips below to ensure that your horse rug is completely dry before storing away. This will prevent mould growth which could potentially ruin your horse rug.

What The Tumble Dryer Symbols Mean On A Horse Rug

Tumble Dryer Symbols On Clothes

Horse rugs should never be tumble dried which means they are likely to only ever have the square With a white circle and a black X on top symbol which indicates do not tumble dry.

We have included all of the symbols relevant to tumble dryers for your information.

  • Square With White Circle And A Black X On Top – This symbol indicates that the item can not be tumble dried.  This is the symbol you will most likely find on your horse rug.
  • Square With White Circle – This symbol indicates that this item can be tumble dried. It is unlikely that you will find this symbol on your horse rug.
  • Square With Black Circle – You can dry normal, with no heat
  • Square With White Circle, One Black Dot In Circle – This indicates you can dry on normal, low heat
  • Square With White Circle, Two Black Dots In Circle – This indicates you can dry normal, medium heat
  • Square With White Circle, Three Black Dots In Circle – You can dry normal, high heat

How To Dry A Horse Rug Without A Tumble Dryer

Horse rugs are bulky items and drying them can be difficult. There are several ways to dry a horse rug without tumble drying which are;

Air Drying Your Horse Rug On A Washing Line (Recommended)

The best way to air dry a horse rug is on a fence or a sturdy washing line. Ensure that none of the horse rug is touching the floor.

Due to the weight of a wet horse rug, it is usually unnecessary to secure it to the line.

Air Drying Your Horse Rug On An Airer

You will probably need two airers to allow enough room to hang the horse rug high enough to not touch the floor and allow the rug to be spread out properly.

Drape the horse rug over the two airers and position in a well ventilated room.

Using A Dehumidifier To Decrease The Drying Time Indoors

Horse rugs can take a fairly long time to completely dry. It is important that they are completely dry to prevent mould forming during storage.

To help speed up the drying time indoors, place a dehumidifier in the room with the drying horse rug. This will help to remove excess moisture which in turn, allows the horse rug to release moisture at a faster rate.

SEE ALSO: Recommended Dehumidifiers For Drying Horse Rugs

What Happens If You Tumble Dry A Horse Rug?

Always check the wash care labels

All the experts agree that horse rugs should never be tumble dried. You will also find this information on the care label on your horse rug.

If you decide to ignore expert advice and the care label’s instructions and tumble dry your horse rug, you are likely to;

Shrink The Horse Rug Binding

Even tumble drying on a cool setting can cause the binding on your horse rug to shrink. Not only the binding, the actual rug itself can also shrink if subjected to any heat.

Fill The Home With The Smell Of Old Horse

Washing your horse rug doesn’t seem to remove all of the smell of horse. Even if the horse rug smells fresh on removal from the washing machine, it is likely to smell like old horse when tumble dried.

This old horse smell will then spread throughout your home and linger for some time.

Clog The Dryer With Horse Hair

Horse rugs can hold onto lots of horse hair which then gets into the tumble dryer and clogs it. In some cases this can cause fires and should be avoided at all costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you wash horse rugs?

Horse rugs should be washed and reproofed once a year. This will make them last longer and they will be more comfortable for your horses.

Is it OK to put a rug on a wet horse?

You should never put a rug on a wet horse. This is because the rug will absorb the moisture and keep it close to the body of the horse. Which will chill the horse as the temperature lowers.

Is it safe to put a horse rug in a tumble dryer?

You should never put a horse rug in a tumble dryer. The horse rug could shrink or at the very least the binding could shrink. Also the house can become full of the smell of horses.

How many rugs does a horse need?

You should have at least two rugs for your horse. Two different weight horse rugs that can be used depending on the temperature.

How can I dry a horse rug without a tumble dryer?

You can dry your horse rug without a tumble dryer on a strong clothesline or on a fence, or indoors on a couple of airers. You can speed up the drying time using a dehumidifier indoors.

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