A horse in a purple fly sheet that needs a wash.

We’ve all been there: you go out to the pasture on a spring day, and your sweet angel of a horse meets you at the fence, all dressed up in the brand new fly sheet you put on him yesterday. And that fly sheet, despite being only a few hours old, is already muddy

Cue frustration. 

Because as a horse owner, you know that your horse’s fly sheet is an essential piece of equipment. It helps to keep your horse comfortable and protected from the elements. But how do you keep your fly sheet clean and in good condition?

If you’re asking how do I wash my horse’s fly sheet, you’re in the right place. In short, you should: 

  • Wash your fly sheet in cold water with a mild detergent.
  • Rinse the fly sheet thoroughly with cold water to remove all of the detergent.
  • Hang the fly sheet in a sunny spot to dry completely.


Please note that these are general instructions and may vary depending on the type of fly sheet you have. Always consult the manufacturer’s instructions for specific recommendations.

There are a couple of methods to wash your horse’s fly sheet. Here’s more information on the two best options:

Put Your Fly Sheet in a Washing Machine

One technique you can use is to launder your horse’s fly sheet in your washing machine. Make sure you do a good job shaking the sheet out before putting it in the washer. You can also use a stiff brush on it. This will remove all the excess hair and prevent it from getting stuck in the machine and then in the rest of all your future loads. 

If you put the fly sheet in the washing machine, you should put in old towels or other clothes in with it, which will help protect the buckles on the sheet. Normally it’s better to do a delicate setting with cold water, just to be safe. 

Hang the fly sheet to dry. Make sure it’s properly spread out and not all bunched together so it dries evenly. I don’t recommend using a dryer: if your blanket has any sort of coating (like a waterproof coating) the heat in the dryer will damage it.

Wash Your Fly Sheet at the Barn

If you don’t want to get your washer full of horse hair, you can soak your horse’s fly sheet in a bucket or barrel with warm soapy water. Then, hang your fly sheet on your wash rack and hose it down. Make sure it’s completely rinsed off. You may need to repeat the spraying process a few times. It’s better to err on the side of caution, as any lingering soap could irritate your horse’s skin, especially when it’s rubbed with the blanket. 

Dry your fly sheet by hanging it outside. Try to keep it in a warm shady spot, as direct sunlight could fade your fly sheet. 

How to Store Your Horse’s Fly Sheet When Not in Use

Fly sheets are helpful when it comes to keeping away pesky insects and keeping your horse cool in the heat of the sun. But there are parts of the year where you’re not going to need to use it. So after you clean it, how should you store your fly sheet?

Fold Your Fly Sheet Neatly

When you’re not using your fly sheet, it’s important to fold it neatly so that it doesn’t get damaged. You can fold the fly sheet in half, and then fold it in half again. You can also roll the fly sheet up.

Store Your Fly Sheet in a Cool, Dry Place

When you’re not using your fly sheet, it’s important to store it in a cool, dry place. This will help to protect the fly sheet from mildew and other damage. You can store the fly sheet in a closet, or you can store it in a storage bin if you live in an area with a lot of moisture. 

You may be tempted to leave your fly sheet folded in the tack room. If you do, your barn cats will be grateful, but it’s going to get dirty fast. I have about a hundred photos on my phone of cute kitties getting comfy and cozy on fly sheets and blankets. I’m pretty sure one of them gave birth on such a blanket. So yeah, maybe put it in a bin?

Check the Fly Sheet Regularly for Signs of Damage

When you’re not using your fly sheet, it’s important to check it regularly for signs of damage. If you see any tears or holes in the fly sheet, you should repair them immediately. You can also check the fly sheet for mildew and other damage, like that caused by moths.

Horse Fly Sheet FAQs

You should wash your horse’s fly sheet every few weeks, or more often if it gets dirty or sweaty.

You should use a mild detergent, ideally one that is specifically designed for washing horse blankets. Avoid using any detergents that contain bleach or other harsh chemicals, as these can damage the fabric of the blanket.

If your horse’s fly sheet is stained, you can try to pre-treat it before washing it. To do this, apply a small amount of the detergent to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes before washing the blanket as usual.

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