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Wasing & Re-proofing

Why use special waterproof detergents

Normal detergents will leave a water-attracting residue on rugs, which will allow rain to seep through the rug to the horse. Nikwax rug wash gently lifts dirt and contaminants without harming the manufacturer’s original DWR (Durable Water Repellency).
If the rug is very dirty, has stable stains etc then a bio detergent can be used to remove the stains but the detergent residue on the fabric must be removed using Nikwax Rug Wash and re-waterproofed with Nikwax rug proof to add the water-repellency.


When your horse gallops around his field, he will get hot & sweaty, if his rug is covered in mud, the fabric will not be able to breathe and the rug will become damp and will draw heat away from your horses body making him cold.

My rug is leaking – why?

Many people think their rug is leaking when the problem is often caused by the horse sweating because the fabric isn’t breathing properly. This is most likely to be caused by a layer of mud on the rug, which can cause the fabric to ‘wet out’. Washing the rug in Nikwax Rug wash and then re-proofing will restore the DWR.

How often should I wash my rug?

It is very tempting to leave mud on your rug for the whole winter, this will however, affect the breathability of the fabric and in addition, the grittiness of the mud will act like sandpaper on the surface of the rug when the horse rolls. The friction will remove the DWR and then your rug will need to be re-proofed as well as washed – more cost! Ideally your rug should be washed frequently depending on how much mud there is on the rug . Here at Hampshire Horse Laundry we wash our own rugs about every 8 weeks unless they get very muddy, when we wash more often. If your turnout rug becomes very muddy you can wash your rug yourself between professional washing by hanging over a fence and gently hosing the mud off, then turn inside out to dry.

Do I need a re-proof each time I have a rug washed?

Thankfully, no. You should be able to have your rug washed 3-4 times before re-proofing is needed, UNLESS, the rug has been coated in mud for a long time (ie the whole winter). An ideal cycle would be to have your rug washed several times through the winter and then at the end of the winter have it washed and re-proofed before storing.

Does my rug need to be tumble dried to activate the proofing agent?

Nikwax products do not need heat to establish the bond between the waterproofing polymer and fabric. Unlike fluorocarbon treatments, Nikwax can simply be air dried which saves on having to go through an extra step of applying heat to make your rug water-repellent, this reduces the cost of cleaning your rug, it also reduces the risk of shrinkage and is more environmentally friendly.


All Nikwax WaterBased products have a statement that says “No propellant gases, non-persistent, environmentally safe. Not tested on animals. Contains no fluorocarbons”.
Water is used to “carry” the waterproofing ingredients in the product. Anywhere that water can get into the fabric of your rug then so can the waterproofing, ie. it targets leaks. This allows the rug proof waterproofing agent to envelope individual fibres in the material, resulting in a water repellent finish. Using water also means that harmful chemical solvents are not used. Nikwax products are completely safe for the user and the environment. WaterBased products are much more concentrated than others, therefore you get more waterproofing for your money. WaterBased products are EASIER to use, they are SAFER to use and keep you DRIER.
Nikwax do not use Flourocarbons in its products. Flouropolymer care products have shown to be vulnerable to abrasion and pressure.
At The Horse Laundry we only use Nikwax products. Our washing machines are cold water fill only which means only the water required for the wash is heated. We air dry rugs so that we don’t use any additional power and because we repair rugs rather than you having to replace them, the rugs have a longer life cycle and therefore have less impact on the environment.