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Your horse’s mouth is a very sensitive area and most do not appreciate having to wear a dirty bit. It is best practice keep your bits clean instead of leaving them to build up a mixture of saliva and dirt over time.
Regularly cleaning your bit is a quick and easy job that will help to keep your horse happy and willing.
Make it a habit to keep your bits clean by rinsing them off every time you remove the bridle. Simply dunk the bit into clean water to get off saliva and gunk from food your horse may have eaten whilst wearing it.
Vinegar and baking soda both have natural antibacterial properties and can cause no harm to your horse. Both can be added in small quantities to the water you are using to help keep away any potentially nasty bugs.
After rinsing either wipe the bit dry with a clean cloth or leave it to drip dry while you finish your other chores. Be sure to pay extra attention to wiping the joints where a lot of dirt usually accumulates.
Depending on how often you ride you will want to give your bit a proper deep clean every few weeks. Remove the bit from the bridle before soaking it in hot water to soften the dirt before scrubbing with an old toothbrush.
Toothpaste is cheap and excellent to use to clean your bits instead of a commercial cleaner. It has very fine abrasive material which will help to remove gunk without wearing away too much of the metal.
Using a toothbrush makes it easier to get into all of the bits nooks and crannies. Use a pipe cleaner or straw cleaner to get into the hole that the ring attaches to.
Be sure to also good to clean your bridles cheek piece where it attaches to the bit as a lot of the dirt build-up on the rings comes from here.
For a show quality sheen you can polish your metal bits up after scrubbing. However, be wary of the fact that all kinds of polishing wears away the metal, so never do more than is needed to get that shine.
For the simplest polish simply soak the bits in very hot water and then polish dry with a microfiber cloth.
For harder to move stains you can use super fine grade jewellers polishing cloths to restore your bits to new.
It is very important to clean your horses bit with gentle substances only. Any commercial metal cleaner not specifically for bits should never be used.
Toxic cleaning products can cause irritation inside the mouth and even painful blisters where the bit, rings and shanks come into contact with the mouth and face.