How to Clean Rubber Stable Mats
Nobody enjoys cleaning and sanitising the stables in their barn, but it’s one of the most important things that you can do as it helps you to protect the animals in your care. Every one of your animals has unique needs, especially for their health needs. Cleaning out and regularly mucking stables can be one of the best ways to help keep your animals healthy.
In this article, we will discuss:
- Why should you clean horse stall mats?
- The best rubber mats for horse barn flooring
- How to properly clean and sanitise them
Why should you clean your rubber horse stall mats?
It’s important to clean horse stall mats as bacteria, mould, and mildew can build up on top of the mats, and this can cause serious injuries and diseases for your animals. And this can affect your bottom line, as a sick horse can lead to pricey veterinarian bills.
Limit Bacterial infections
Studies have been conducted that prove that the bacteria in unclean stables can cause leg lesions, hoof diseases, and bacterial infections.
In fact, a cow that is producing milk can develop mastitis, a bacterial infection that affects their udders. This can lead to costly vet visits, whilst also sidelining your milk producing cows.
Minimise slips, trips, and falls
Not only that, unclean floors can lead to tripping hazards and can affect the gait of your animals. One study has shown that slippery, soiled floors can directly affect the gait of your animals, increasing the chances of slips and falls on a stall floor. Without regular cleaning and maintenance, your animals may suffer from injury.
One of the best ways to finish cleaning your mats is to make sure that they’re completely dry, and that there is no standing water sitting on the surface.
The easiest way to clean stall mats
When you’re purchasing stall mats for your stables, it’s important to understand that not all rubber mats are created the same. Some rubber mats have deep pockets and pores which can hold in bacteria, making it hard to properly disinfect the mat. Also, these mats absorb any type of water mixture, and this can easily lead to a buildup in mould.
The best types of rubber mats to purchase are non porous, as they are easy to clean. Just use a simple pressure washer to clean out your horse stalls, and you won’t have to worry about bacteria and mould.
In the same way, the best rubber mats to purchase are those that have drainage furrows underneath, as these drainage channels help to move dirty water and urine away from the centre of the mats.
Rubber stable mats also limit the amount of bedding that you need for your animals. Some farmers have said that it saves them up to 1/3 the amount of bedding that they used to use, when compared to concrete, dirt, or other stall floor. So, in a way, purchasing rubber mats can actually be your first step in minimising cleanup time.
Here are some of the easiest mats to clean:
- 17MM 0.91M (3FT) X 1.22M (4FT) STUD DOT RUBBER STABLE MATS: Utilising a stud dot surface, these mats are perfect to use for stable floors. They offer superior traction to other mats and are great to use with injured or elderly animals. They also feature drainage channels underneath, and are made from a sturdy, non porous, vulcanised rubber. These mats are great to use with horses, cattle, other animals, and as anti-fatigue flooring.
- 20 MM DOG BONE RUBBER JIGSAW TILES 1.1M X 1.1M: These are quality mats and are incredibly durable. These mats are great to use as decorative walkway mats, as they mimic the look of cobblestone flooring. But they’re also easy to clean, and can hold up in wet, dirty conditions.
Disinfecting rubber horse mats
One of the first things to keep in mind is that rubber mats, like many other types of materials, can degrade from harsh chemical cleaners. Cleaners like bleach can cause discolouration and can affect the lifespan of your mats. If you want to get the most out of your investment, keep reading to learn the best tips and tricks to properly clean your mats, including the best disinfectant to use.
The tools you need when cleaning rubber mats
When you set out to clean the stall mats in your barn, you need a list of the best tools to use to make the task go by easier. Although it’s a fairly simple task which you’ve done many times throughout your career as a farmer, gathering together a bunch of the right tools to use can actually help you clean out your stalls more efficiently. Below, you’ll find a list of the most important tools to use when cleaning a rubber floor:
- Pitch fork
- Garden sprayer or power washer
- Rubber gloves
- Scrubbing brush
- Clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty
- Wellington boots or other waterproof boots
- A fan to help with air circulation
How to clean stall mats
If you’re anything like me, you get into a habit and a rhythm for how you do household chores. You put in a lot of hard work, but sometimes, things get missed or neglected, and it’s always a good idea to discover new ways to clean your mats on a regular basis. Let’s examine the job of cleaning stall mats and provide you with new strategies to help make the job easier.
Disinfect before you lay mats
In order to prevent the buildup of bacteria underneath your mats, consider spraying a powdered disinfectant underneath your mats. Make sure that you let the mats dry, and place down a fine powdered disinfectant. This is a great thing to do when you do your once a year cleaning where you pull up all the mats, clean underneath of them, and put them back in their original positions.
Clean and sweep all debris away
Another important step in the process is to make sure that you clean all dirt, debris, manure, and anything else inside of the mats. When sweeping, avoid creating giant dust clouds, as the dust will settle and dirty up the floors right after you finish cleaning them.
Use a stiff bristled broom to sweep away all the dust and dirt, and if you’re mucking out, the stalls use a wide shovel and a pitchfork. The goal is to make sure that all materials, whether bedding or faeces, are out of the stalls before you clean them.
Clean with a power washer and scrubbing brush
Once you’ve got all debris off the mats, use a pressure washer to wash away set in dirt. You may not be able to get everything off the mats, and this is where you have to get down and scrub away any of the difficult clods of debris.
At first, you can use just plain water to clean away any of the dirt and debris, but next you’re going to want to grab some buckets of water filled with a cleaning solution. When using a cleaning solution, remember to check the label to discern how much water to add to dilute the solution. Although you may choose a safe cleaner to use on rubber mats, if you don’t dilute the solution enough, you could cause damage to the mats.
Some people use natural cleaning materials, like lemon juice in a spray bottle, whilst others choose to go a little more heavy duty with their cleaning solution. You may wish to speak to a veterinarian about the best disinfectants the use, especially if you have cows which are producing milk. You may be interested in purchasing special medicated non biological washing powder.
Many owners simply use powdered laundry detergent mixed with warm water to clean their mats. This may be exactly what you’d like to use, as the detergent is an emulsifier, something which lifts out oil, grease, and grime when mixed with water.
Just one thing: always test a disinfectant on the underside of a mat or a mat tucked away in the corner.
Cover every area with the cleaning solution
So you’ve cleaned all the mats and you’re feeling pretty confident that you’ve done a good job with disinfecting everything in your horse’s stable. You might’ve overlooked other areas that the horses regularly come in to contact with, including stall walls, parlour pits, horse barn aisle flooring, and other areas where there may be rubber matting.
You may also want to clean and disinfect watering troughs and feed buckets, as harmful germs can build up inside of them.
There is no point in doing a job halfway, and that’s why it’s important to find areas throughout your barn which can be cleaned out and scrub down. You may even consider cleaning other surfaces in your barn, like the wood, stone, or other areas where the horses come in contact with.
Let mats dry
The last thing that you can do is let the mats dry. You can use a fan to circulate air into the stall to help to dry the mats quicker. Always make sure that the mats are fully dry before you let horses or cattle on them.
You may also consider putting all of your mats outside to dry. By laying your horse stall mats outside, it gives you the ability to see if the mats are still wet. Spread them out on a hard surface, like asphalt or concrete, and put them in direct sunlight.
Also, check to see if the plywood or wood around the horse stalls, making sure they’re not rotting. The best time to do this is when you are doing a full clean of your mats, pulling them up and disinfecting underneath of them. Wood rot is a difficult thing to find, but if you’re vigilant, you can make sure that you avoid costly fixes later on.
With a little dedication and hard work, you can clean out and properly sanitise all the stable mats in your barn. It may be trial and error at first, as you learn how to effectively clean all of your mats. But stick to it, and after a few cleanings, you’ll understand how to do it quickly and efficiently.
Author: David Van Kooten