How To Use Saddle Soap

Saddle soap is a type of leather conditioning product that is used for cleaning, conditioning, and protecting leather, primarily marketed for cleaning a horse’s tack.

However, if you’re new to cleaning horse tack, you might be wondering: How do you use saddle soap?

In this article, I will cover some key information on saddle soap, including a step-by-step guide on how to use saddle soap.

Keep reading to find out more.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Saddle Soap?

Saddle soap is really good for maintaining, cleaning, and conditioning leather. With a little elbow grease, it’s a great tool to help you to get dirt and stains out of leather.

Saddle soap can be used to clean horse tack and a variety of different leather products such as shoes and boots.

How To Use Saddle Soap On Your Horse Tack

Equipment That You Will Need

  • A washing cloth and/or a sponge
  • A drying cloth
  • A cloth or a sponge for applying saddle soap
  • A bowl of warm, clean water
  • Saddle soap


Step One – Prepare Your Tack To Be Cleaned

Before you clean your saddle and bridle, you will need to first prep them. Make sure that you undo any buckles and remove the steel parts such as your stirrups. This is especially important for your horse’s bit, as it can be harmful for them to ingest soap.

Step Two – Wipe Down Your Tack

Next, you will need to wipe down your tack. Dip a soft cloth or sponge in warm water. Wring it out until it is damp but not wet and begin to clean your saddle and bridle.

You don’t want to get your saddle too wet, as this is bad for the leather. In addition to this, it’s important that you allow your tack to dry before beginning the cleaning process. This opens the pores of the leather for a deeper clean. 

Step Three – Apply Saddle Soap To Your Saddle And Bridle

Once your tack has been wiped down and is dry, it’s time to apply the saddle soap to your clean tack.

Take a damp sponge and rub it in the saddle soap. You only want to apply a small amount.

The key here is to use minimal water. It’s important that your sponge isn’t too wet, so make sure that you wring it out as you don’t want the saddle soap to become lathery. 


  • Make sure that you do not use hot water, as this can damage the leather of both the saddle and bridle. 
  • You should never apply saddle soap to rubber reins, as this will only make them oily. Instead, only clean them with water and a damp sponge.

Step Four – Clean Your Saddle And Bridle

Now it’s time to clean your saddle and bridle. Gently rub the cloth across the surface of your horse tack. The saddle soap should disappear as you rub it into the leather.

Rub down the saddle, being mindful to rub in a circular motion. If your saddle has a lot of hard-to-reach places, use a toothbrush in addition to your sponge.

You need to make sure that you rub it in properly, as you don’t want to be left with white, soapy residue once your tack has dried.

If you’ve applied enough saddle soap, your horse tack will look shiny and clean by the end of the process! 

Step Five – Finish Up The Cleaning Process

Once you have cleaned the leather parts of your tack, you will want to make sure that you clean the other parts of the saddle and bridle that you removed earlier, like the stirrups. 

These parts should not be washed with saddle soap. Instead, you will want to use warm water and dish soap if the dirt is stubborn.

Step Six – Reassemble Your Tack

Last but not least, after you are done cleaning your tack, make sure that you reassemble it. 

Make sure that you do up the bridle, and return the bit for your next ride!

Once you are finished, your horse tack should look brand new!

Notes When Using Saddle Soap

  • Don’t Use Too Much Water – All you need for this process is a damp cloth, not a soaking wet one. Make sure that when you dip your sponge into warm water, you always wring it out.
  • Clean Your Tack In Sections –  It’s a good idea to mentally divide the leather surface into several areas and then treat them with saddle soap in succession. This way, you will ensure that you’ve rubbed all of the saddle soap in efficiently without forgetting about any parts.
  • Avoid Using Too Much Saddle Soap – A little goes a long way. Don’t apply too much saddle soap to your saddle, as this will make it too slippery for you to sit on. In addition to this, too much saddle soap can also transfer to and stain your clean jodhpurs, which no one wants!
  • Pay Close Attention To Certain Areas – The most dirt is likely to collect where the leather layers overlap on your tack. Make sure that you pay close attention to these areas to ensure that you are thoroughly cleaning your tack.

How Often Do You Clean Your Tack With Saddle Soap?

In an ideal world, the best practise is to clean your horse tack after every ride. 

If you fail to do this, your leather can begin to deteriorate in certain places, such as your girth straps. You don’t want your girth straps to break when you’re out on a ride, because this is what connects your saddle to your horse.

In addition to this, you should make sure that you clean the stirrup leathers after every time you use them. This will ensure that they remain in the best possible condition for each ride and will enable them to withstand the test of time.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it! How to use saddle soap and some notes on how to use saddle soap in the best way!

Happy cleaning!

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