3 Ways to Clean a Riding Saddle

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3 Ways to Clean a Riding Saddle
3 Ways to Clean a Riding Saddle

It's no use: from time to time, every riding saddle gets dirty with sweat, dust and other residues. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to remove all of these depending on the equipment's material. If your saddle is leather, you'll need a glycerin soap, a conditioner, and a finishing moisturizer; if it is synthetic, soap alone will do the job; finally, suede saddles just need a good brushing (and should always be dry, of course). In general, get into the habit of cleaning and maintenance and you'll never have so much headache!


Method 1 of 3: Cleaning a Leather Saddle

Clean a Saddle Step 1

Step 1. Wipe the saddle before and after each mount

You won't need to do that more thorough cleaning if you make it a habit to wipe the saddle with a clean, dry cloth before and after each use. Just rub the material on all parts of the equipment, from above and to the sides, to remove the particles of sweat, dust, water and the like before the fibers absorb them.

You can also take some preventative measures, such as always storing the saddle in a dry place at room temperature

Clean a Saddle Step 2

Step 2. Fill a bucket with glycerin soap and warm water

You can buy glycerin soap, in bar or liquid form, at any household cleaning supply store. Follow the label instructions to find the right volume of water to mix. In general, soap and water should have a ratio of 1:4.

Do not use dishwashing detergent! It leaves residues that can damage the saddle fibers. You can even try an unscented oil soap, but the glycerin one is still the best option

Clean a Saddle Step 3

Step 3. Scrub the saddle using a sponge and stiff bristle brush

Dip the sponge into the bucket and then wring out to remove excess water. Swipe it across the saddle in a circular motion with a little force, trying to cover all the material. Then exchange the accessory for the brush and pass it from side to side until finished.

Don't forget to turn the saddle and clean the underside of it


do not use the stiff bristle brush if your intention is to remove only sweat particles. It's ideal for cleaning dust and dirt, but it doesn't work with the sweat itself,

Clean a Saddle Step 4

Step 4. Scrub the saddle details with a toothbrush

With the saddle still wet and soapy, take a clean toothbrush and brush from side to side all the smallest and most delicate areas of the material, including the handles. This is also true for the underside parts.

Clean a Saddle Step 5

Step 5. Dry the saddle with a clean towel

Place a large, open towel over the saddle and rub all areas of the saddle to remove excess soap and water. If the equipment is large, be prepared to use several towels.

  • Run the towel even through the less accessible parts, such as under the seat. Depending on the case, it is worth trying to disassemble the equipment.
  • Wipe a microfiber cloth over the finer details of the leather.
Clean a Saddle Step 6

Step 6. Condition the saddle after it dries naturally

Whenever you wash the saddle, it will remove the natural oils that protect it from the elements. Therefore, it is better to apply a conditioning oil to the material. Buy this product online or at a leather specialist store. At the time of treatment, let the saddle dry naturally and do some tests to see if it is really ready.

Clean a Saddle Step 7

Step 7. Apply some of the conditioning oil with a brush

Transfer some of the oil to a bucket or paint tray and dip the brush into the liquid. Run it horizontally across the leather, covering all areas, until you see the saddle absorbing the oil. Finally, wait 15 to 30 minutes while everything dries.

  • If you hardly ever ride a horse when the weather is hot or wet, you may just need to apply some mocotó oil. It is made from ox bones and creates a natural protective layer on the leather. Saddle it at least once a month.
  • If you are used to horse riding when the weather is hot and humid, buy a mixed oil.
  • In the absence of specialized oil, you can improvise with olive oil. The only downside is that it won't penetrate and protect the leather as well.
  • Do not buy mixed oils that contain petroleum!


if you haven't been using a saddle conditioner for a long time, be prepared to repeat the process a few times. Just pay attention to the signs of the leather: if it absorbs the oil immediately, apply the second coat.

Clean a Saddle Step 8

Step 8. Apply a leather moisturizer

The finishing moisturizer helps to seal the protective oil in the leather fibers, preventing it from staining your clothes when riding. In general, just apply the product by hand, although some brands recommend the use of brushes or sponges. Take a look at the label and see what the instructions are. You'll probably have to take some of the moisturizer and rub it lightly over the leather with your palm, making a circular motion with your fingers well spaced. Finally, let the material dry.

  • There are a few different types of leather moisturizer. Some dry faster than others, but all are useful.
  • You have the option to choose between colored or clear moisturizers. Read the label to see if the brand you are interested in is waterproof.

Method 2 of 3: Rubbing a Synthetic Saddle

Clean a Saddle Step 9

Step 1. Clean the saddle with a glycerin soap and a sponge

You can clean your synthetic saddle using a glycerin soap, just as you would if it were leather. Follow the label directions to find out whether or not to add water to the product.

  • Buy glycerin soap, in bar or liquid form, at any household cleaning supply store.
  • Unlike leather saddles, you can use a mild dishwashing detergent to clean the synthetic saddle. It doesn't do any good in the long run, but at least it breaks a branch in the absence of another alternative.
Clean a Saddle Step 10

Step 2. Rub the sponge onto the saddle in a circular motion

Fill a bucket with glycerin soap and warm water. Dip the sponge in the solution, then wring it out and pass through all parts of the saddle in a circular motion. Repeat this process at least once.

Use a toothbrush to clean the smallest, most delicate areas

Clean a Saddle Step 11

Step 3. Rinse the saddle with ice water

Synthetic leather does not spoil when it comes into contact with moisture. Therefore, feel free to rinse the saddle with the hose or pour ice water from a bucket onto the material to remove soap residue. Use a generous volume of liquid and stop only when there is no foam left on the surface.

Clean a Saddle Step 12

Step 4. Dry the saddle with clean towels

Wipe the saddle with a clean towel in a circular motion. Replace it when it becomes saturated and repeat the process until finished.


you don't need to moisturize the faux leather. On the contrary: depending on the brand, any such product could damage the leather.

Method 3 of 3: Caring for a Suede Saddle

Clean a Saddle Step 13

Step 1. Use a hard bristle plastic or brass brush

You will have to use a more resistant brush to remove dirt particles from the suede, as contact with substances such as soap and water wears down the material's fibers. A plastic or brass fixture is ideal.


depending on how thick the suede fibers are, you can use a can of compressed air to remove surface layers of dust and dirt from them. This will make the rest of the process easier.

Clean a Saddle Step 14

Step 2. Remove dirt and dust particles in quick movements

Hold the brush in your dominant hand and run it back and forth across the saddle. Repeat cleaning five to ten times on each section of the chamois, always trying to make quick movements - and being careful not to get any particles in your eyes.

If you do not have a saddle support, sit and hold the equipment with your non-dominant hand while cleaning

Clean a Saddle Step 15

Step 3. Wipe the saddle with a dry cloth

Take the cloth with your dominant hand and make a circular motion across the entire saddle. From time to time, see if the suede is discolored. If so, turn the cloth inside out and continue cleaning.

  • Repeat the process with other cloths until they do not extract any dirt particles from the saddle.
  • You don't need to put products like moisturizer and conditioner on the suede saddle. They can even cause permanent damage to the fibers. Be very careful!

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