Sunday, March 29, 2009

Make your brushes brand new!

The horses are shedding, rolling in the new spring mud and looking mighty pleased with their hairy, yak like fuzziness. I realized the other day I hadn't washed my brushes in a wile. I usually do it at least once a month but I have been busy so here, I hand to you my brush washing method that will not harm wooden back brushes, natural bristles or synthetic. It keeps grime from building up between washings and sanitizes them at the same time.

See I got the idea from this commercial brush wash from the tack store. I think I paid $8 for this little tube thing that guaranteed me that my brushes would look band new. It worked but not worth the money really. So I came up with my own method that works just as good, but doesn't smell or cost the price.

Start by collecting your brushes and combing the loose hair out of them with a metal curry cob or another stiffer brush.

First about 1/4 a cup of magnesium sulphate AKA epsom salts. Epsom salts help loosen the hairs in the bristles and fluff the bristles up. It makes them super soft and if you have some brushes that may get squished from time to time the salts actually make the bristles stand up again.

Then my favorite soap. This soap has been around for ages, make sure you ask for it by name. Original Murphys oil soap and you need about 3 tablespoons of it. You can get it for about $5 a bottle at any supermarket or . It not only protects your wooden backed brushes it contains oil. This oil coats the bristles of the brushes and makes a big difference between washing time and how dirty your brushes get. It is also kind on your hands and the horses skin. Believe me it does make a difference. Oh did I mention you can use it on leather too!? I use it for really, really mouldy tack.

Plug a skink, I use the wash tub because I don't think mum would apreceate me using the kitchen skink. I pour water strait from the hot tap, add the epsom salts then the murphy's. It bubbles and sometimes the bubbles form a little white film. Thats ok, that's just the glycerin and it does that sometimes like it did with me because I poured a little too much.

Pour enough water so it just meets the backs of your brushes when they are placed in the water, bristles down.

Swish them around and loosen the dirt. You can see why I said I used a little too much soap here. The floaty white bits are the glycern that has started to solidify after being in the boiling water. I guess less is more because it was a pain to wash out.

Set the timer. 10 minutes is the time they should soak for.

Once the timer goes off drain the sink and rinse them with cold water. The reason for the cold is the soap, because it has glycerin in it you can re-melt it and then end up with crap on them you thought you washed off.

Oh this step since the bristles have been softened and cleaned you want to re-brush them with a stiffer brush or metal curry comb because any of that hair you couldn't get will come out now.
Make sure you rinse them thoroughly because the next step could get messy if they aren't real clean. Once they are rinsed put them all back into the sink and plug it again. Pour some hot water into the sink to the bottoms of the wooden handles like before. Now you are going to add bleach. About a tablespoon or two.

Notice the hobbles next to the bleach. My sister comes over the other day and shes like. WHAT IS THIS!?!?! and shes got one brow raised like I should be in trouble or something. Well I left them on the dryer after washing them and my sister seen them and lol, thought they were like gigantic furry love cuffs or something. It was hilarious. I don't think she was completely convinced they were for horses. Ah non horse sister.

Ok so let them soak a minute or two more and rinse them again. The bleach kills bacteria and stops spread of skin diseases. Shake them out and let them dry preferably outside in the sun. Sun naturally kills many bacteriums and viruses but since it was windy and damp out I put them on a towel.

Oh even though I didn't take a picture make sure you wash your brush carrying box/bag/container because it's gonna have all that dust and dirt in it too.

Voila! your brushes now feel and look brand new at a fraction of the price of that commercial brush stuff. Enjoy.

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