Horse-Odor Terminators

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Not all the world enjoys the smells associated with horses, and sometimes it’ll even get our noses to crinkle up a bit. Although we doubted anything could really destroy horse-sweat odors, we took three top-choice fabric-deodorizing products and put them to the test. None of these products are cleaning agents, just deodorizers, and we used them as the instructions directed.

Febreze Clean Wash (33.81 oz./$5.68 Wal-Mart) is a cousin to the original Febreze spray-on. Clean Wash goes in the washer with the detergent. For saddle pads, leg wraps and other items that could be machine washed, adding Clean Wash to the detergent was a snap. Our saddle pads emerged clean and odorless. A few testers liked it so much they washed barn clothes with it.

Actually, we torture-tested Clean Wash on a pair of breeches with several heavy splashes of “Old Stinky,” a homebrew of fox urine and natural oils used to leave a scent trail for foxhounds. The breeches emerged from the washer odor- and stain-free, with the knee patches supple and undamaged. Clean Wash carries a mild warning that if it gets in your eyes, rinse with water.

Clorox FreshCare (32 oz./$4.98 Wal-Mart) is a spray-on fabric deodorizer. You simply squirt it on and let the item dry. It did a good job on our heavy rectangular Western saddle pads, vehicle upholstery, and inside winter blankets — things you’re not likely to wash often. The label carries stern warnings, including ventilating enclosed areas during use. This worried us around horses, but we had no problems.

MiraZyme ($7.99/8 oz. from Saratoga Horseworks 800/848-1914) is an all-natural product containing microbial elements and leaves only carbon dioxide and water as byproducts. It’s hypoallergenic — a big plus — and works in warm or cold water. It’s also economical. You use a ?? oz. in 20 gallons of water for small items like saddle pads and 2 oz. in 20 gallons of water for a horse blanket. However, you can deodorize more than one item per batch, depending on how much solution the items soak up. MiraZyme performed extremely well.

So, it depends on what you’re doing: If you’re using a washing machine anyway, it’s easiest to dump Clean Wash in the load. Items like heavy Western saddle pads that you don’t want to soak cry out for the spray-on FreshCare. For sensitive horses or when you have to wash in a tub at the barn (and dump the water later), MiraZyme easily gets the nod. It’s extremely effective, carries no label worries and is environmentally safe.