wikiHow to Clean a Saddle

After the hours of riding in dusty arenas and long trail rides, dirt gets imprinted in every crease of the saddle. But there is nothing a little work can't get out.


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    Soak a sponge in a bucket of warm water.
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    Wring out the sponge till damp and wipe your saddle and tack(this opens the pores of the leather in the saddle to thoroughly clean and condition your tack when saddle/leather soap is applied.)
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    Rub the sponge onto some saddle soap to get it nice and sudsy.
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    Work in the soap into the leather from top to bottom,underneath and everywhere in-between.This may take some elbow grease and you might get a sore hand but the finished result is a nice supple saddle fit for a show.
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    Use a dry rag to wipe ALL the suds off the saddle.
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    Still some hard pressed dirt in there? A toothbrush should do just the trick. Get the bristles sudsy and get all the cracks and crevasses. Yes, this job may have been time consuming and work, but a simple cleaning with some saddle soap and a sponge, even just once a month, can make all the difference.
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    Since you're already covered in suds and want your saddle to look brand new, why not shine it up a bit. A saddle shine and conditioner will make the leather supple, and look like it did when you bought it.
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    You can usually wipe all non-leather parts of a saddle with a damp cloth, or sometimes use a carpet cleaner.


  • Regular saddle cleaning can be short and give your saddle a longer life.
  • There are different forms of saddle soaps and conditioners: wipes, sprays, and bars. Use whichever you prefer.
  • Remember to get your saddle checked to see if it still fits your horse periodically.
  • Steaming hot water help cleans the saddle better.


  • Read your labels. Some soaps are meant to be left on, some have to be wiped off before they dry.
  • Saddle soap can dry out leather so use a leather conditioner that is also a cleaner more often. Use saddle soap when it is really dirty. You can also use a wet cloth to get dirt off before using the cleaner or conditioner.
  • You can clean bridles and other leather tack the same way you clean a saddle, but beware DO NOT use saddle soap on the bit. If you get some on, wipe it off immediately!
  • Some surfaces of a saddle cannot be cleaned with saddle soap, so use alternative cleaners. Saddle soap may damage these areas.

Things You'll Need

  • Saddle
  • Saddle soap
  • Saddle shine/ conditioner
  • Soaps and conditioners, that can be bought at your local tack store or online
  • Sponge
  • Toothbrush
  • Water
  • Rag/Towel

Article Info

Categories: Tack (Saddles and Bridles)