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How to Deep Clean Your Horse Trailer

A regular dose of deep cleaning is the perfect way to keep your horse trailer in tip-top shape. It allows you to wash away all that dirt and grime that tends to build up over time — coming from the roadways, the weather… and especially from your very own horses!

Sure, cleaning isn’t the most exciting chore in the world.  But when it comes to trailer maintenance and upkeep, it’s one of the best things you can do to care for your investment.

Regular deep cleaning will keep your trailer in “like new” condition for longer and reduce costly repairs during your ownership. Plus, it will help you spot any potential safety concerns that develop over time.

So, grab your hose and elbow grease… and let’s get to work!

Caring for Your Horse Trailer Floors

Let’s start at square one with the most important element that needs your regular attention — your trailer floors.  Weak or rotten floors can be a very serious safety hazard for your horses.

We see safety issues most often in aluminum horse trailers — which Double D Trailers does not build or recommend.  Regular exposure to horse urine will cause an aluminum floor to deteriorate, showing a white rust coating with pock marks and small holes.

When this happens, the horse trailer floor is severely weakened and your horse is in danger of falling through the floor during travel.  This scenario sounds horrific, but it does happen, so we strongly recommend you stay away from aluminum floored horse trailers — even if they have a WERM or PolyLast coating.

Better flooring options include pressure treated pine lumber boards or synthetic Rumber flooring made from recycled tires.  Both materials prevent the transfer of noise, heat and vibration up from the roadways.

Rumber is especially good because it does not require the use of rubber floor mats.  It’s a rubber and plastic composite material that carries a lifetime warranty against rot.  Unlike aluminum or wood — which requires frequent replacement even under ideal conditions — Rumber is tough and durable.

Best of all, since it doesn’t require stall mats, you can skip all the heavy lifting and get right down to the business of cleaning.  Many of our customers love these benefits of Rumber and feel it’s well worth their investment.

After all, if cleaning were easier, you’d do it more often, right?

To deep clean your floor, take the following steps:

      1. Every time you use your trailer, remove wet bedding and manure as soon as possible.
      2. Every 90 days, deep clean your trailer floors by removing everything in your trailer’s main horse area that isn’t nailed down.  This includes rubber mats, extra hay, bedding, and equipment.  Getting everything out of the way will allow you to better visually inspect your trailer for damage or wear that needs to be addressed.
      3. With everything out of the trailer and the windows and doors open, sweep up any debris that remains. Next, liberally apply bleach water mixed at a rate of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water on every flat surface.
      4. Once the bleach water has dried, raise the front of your trailer slightly and hit it hard with a power washer or high pressure hose.  Pay close attention to the cracks where the floor meets the wall, joints at doors and any other place where the trailer tends to collect debris.
      5. Allow the floor to completely dry and then sprinkle a layer of baking soda before replacing the mats.  This helps neutralize the acid from your horses’ urine.


Caring for the Exterior of Your Horse Trailer

Moving on from the floors, let’s take a look at the main exterior elements on your trailer including your paint job, tires, and hitch assembly.

If you own a Double D Trailer, you already have the benefit of a rivet-free trailer design.  Rivets provide a gateway for moisture to seep into your trailer.  Plus, the holes in the sheet metal tend to enlarge over time.  With a rivet-free design, you will have a completely smooth outer layer of metal on your trailer.

Regular care for the paint and exterior elements of your trailer can keep it looking its best for many years to come.  Road tar and dirt can build up on the outside, too, and cause damage to the exterior. Giving your trailer a bath is more than simply making it look nice.  It also protects the paints and metal underneath from premature aging


Take these steps to deep clean the exterior paint of your trailer.

  1. The first step is always prevention.  That’s why we recommend you store your horse trailer indoors to protect it from the damaging sun.  This keeps the paint looking sharp and keeps the rubber elements on your trailer — including window seals and tires — from turning brittle and weak.
  2. If indoor storage isn’t possible, then consider buying a trailer cover that is tightly tied down to cover your trailer during long periods when it is not being used.  The cover should include your tires along with the main body of the trailer.
  3. Show your horse trailer the same type of attention you would give your brand new car or truck. Using an automobile soap, wash everything carefully, including the wheels, tires, and inside of the wheel wells. 
  4. Apply a generous coat of wax every six months to improve the exterior’s longevity.  This will be especially helpful for any plastic trim moldings, vinyl graphics, or other elements that are sensitive to light.


Maintaining Your Trailer’s Hitch Assembly and Latches

  1. Your trailer’s hitch assembly is going to be made of cast iron — so it’s incredibly strong — but also prone to some rust.  Other steel elements on your trailer, like door latches, may need the same extra care. Keep these elements well coated in paint and they should be fine to last the lifetime of your trailer at 25+ years.  Plus, repainting when needed will improve the overall look of your trailer.
  2. Hitches and latches can “freeze up” depending on the style of the locking mechanism.  Use lubrication to keep these elements working as it should.


Caring for a Living Quarters Horse Trailer

As with many things in life, a horse trailer and its living quarters tend to stay the nicest when they are used frequently.  There’s nothing quite like “sitting around” to make a trailer age faster than it should.  That’s why we recommend you take regular steps to keep your living quarters in tip-top shape. 


Tips to Clean Your Horse Trailer Living Quarters:

  1. Just as you would with a camper or an RV, use regular household cleaners to scrub the kitchen, bathroom, and living room areas of your trailer.  Small vacuums can also be used to control crumbs so you don’t attract mice or ants.
  2. Check the seal on the top of your air conditioner as it can often “age out” and begin leaking suddenly.
  3. Inspect your awning fabric since it tends to attract mildew and dry rot with age.
  4. Take a look… or sniff… at your refrigerator.  They are famous for going “bad” while sitting.  Plus dust and dirt can build up in the burner of your fridge and will need regular cleaning.
  5. Have your fresh water system sanitized yearly to prevent the build-up of algae in your fresh water tanks.
  6. The holding tanks underneath your trailer should be thoroughly cleaned to prevent build up.
  7. The heating system should be cleaned and tested yearly.
  8. Check for leaks in your trailer tin insure a fitting or rubber seal hasn’t cracked over the winter.  As with all RVs or campers, sealants in your living quarters trailer can dry rot over time.  Stay ahead of the problem by sticking to a routine maintenance schedule for all living quarters horse trailers.

Deep Clean for Your Horse’s Comfort

Besides the obvious benefit of keeping your horse trailer looking its best, deep cleaning will also help your horses!

Sanitizing the trailer as we’ve recommended can help prevent the transfer of diseases between horses. It also eliminates fungus that can cause respiratory distress in sensitive horses.

In addition, a clean horse trailer is less scary for horses.  Even our custom horse trailers with white internal paint jobs brighten up considerably when the dust is washed off the walls and floors.

If your horse is a hesitant loader, you may find that he suddenly walks right into the trailer after a good deep cleaning.  The added light from the removal of dust from walls and windows will create a more inviting space. Remember, horses are clean animals by natural and they’ll be far more willing to go into a clean trailer than a dirty one.

Cleaning isn’t the most fun chore in the world, but it’s an important step to keep your trailer working at its best for years to come! If you have any questions about cleaning your horse trailer, send Brad a message

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