There are plenty of reasons to try homemade grooming products. They’re cost-effective and conveniently available in your kitchen or at the grocery store or pharmacy. They promote health and hygiene and have beneficial properties in addition to being grooming tools. They’re often kinder to sensitive skin and they’re typically environmentally friendly. Last but not least, they’re surprisingly effective!

Here is a list of common household items you can bring with you on your next trip to the barn. You may even end up incorporating your favourite into your horse’s regular grooming regimen.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the most beneficial and versatile natural grooming products, and an essential for your grooming kit. It can be purchased as a solid or as a liquid, in fractionated form. In addition to being an excellent hydrator, it works as an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial when applied topically.

Use it on your horse’s mane and tail after a shampoo and vinegar rinse to hydrate roots and prevent dandruff and rubbing. Simply melt it in your hands and work it through your horse’s hair for a beautiful, glossy leave-in serum. Or heat it in the microwave and, after ensuring it isn’t too warm, pour it over the roots of the mane and tail, working it down to the tips with your fingers.

A collection of baking products that can also be used for grooming.

Your kitchen holds a number of products that can be useful in the barn, too! (Charlie Fiset photo)

When applied to the muzzle, coconut oil makes the skin instantly glossy and supple. However, to avoid sunburn, don’t apply directly before turnout, especially if your horse has a snip or white muzzle.

For instant hoof oil, take a small lump of solid oil in your hands to warm it slightly, and then glide it over the walls and underside of the hooves, rubbing it in as you go. It gives hooves a healthy-looking finish and it also prevents chips and cracks when used consistently.

It also works as an excellent carrier oil. Add a few drops of an antibiotic essential oil like tea tree oil and apply to the frog and sole of the foot to treat or prevent thrush. Add lavender oil and work thoroughly into the heels after washing them to prevent mud fever.

White Vinegar

Add a cup of vinegar to your sudsy bath bucket for an extra powerful clean. It can be used seasonally to deep clean the coat and remove a build-up of grease, dirt, and excess grooming product, or it can be used regularly as an antimicrobial rinse that prevents bacterial skin conditions and leaves hair with a sheen.

To use it as a stain remover, put undiluted vinegar into a spray bottle and spray it directly onto the hair. Wait a few minutes while the vinegar loosens the stain, then rinse.

It’s important to monitor the condition of your horse’s hair and skin if you regularly bathe with vinegar, as it can be drying.

Apple Cider Vinegar

While white vinegar has higher acidity, apple cider vinegar has more vitamins and proteins, making it an excellent natural conditioner.

Try using one part apple cider vinegar with three parts water after a bath to rinse and condition the coat, mane, and tail. Not only will the vinegar completely rinse out any remaining shampoo, it will also give the hair a beautiful shine.

To make a leave-in conditioner, add two tablespoons of Argan oil and a cup of apple cider vinegar to a spray bottle filled with water. Shake well before each use.


Make a tail mask to use after a vinegar cleanse or shampoo by beating three to four large eggs, a quarter cup of olive oil, and a quarter cup of honey into a large bowl. Be sure to let your honey warm to room temperature before you try to mix it. Apply the mixture to the tail slowly and thoroughly, using a bucket to catch spills. If you have some extra vet wrap or a tail bag you don’t mind washing, wrap the tail and allow it to sit for as long as possible before completely rinsing.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is an excellent mild cleaning agent. Add a half-cup to your bath bucket to deep-clean the coat and relieve itch. Or make it into a paste by adding water and then applying it to a stain or white socks. Work the paste in with your fingers, let it sit, and then rinse it out. Follow the same procedure to clean a white tail.

To make a homemade spot cleaner, melt a half-cup of coconut oil, a half-cup of corn starch, and a half-cup of baking soda in a saucepan on your stove, stirring to mix the ingredients together. Let cool, and then scrub into the coat before rinsing.


Oatmeal is an excellent hair conditioner and can also be used to soothe and enrich sensitive or damaged skin.

Try an oat conditioner before you apply a leave-in serum. Soak one to two cups of oats in warm water until the water becomes milky. Add three or four chamomile teabags for their anti-inflammatory properties and to prevent itching. Stir, and then pour on and apply it to the coat by massaging deeply with your hands or a curry comb, ensuring the diluted oatmeal reaches the skin and covers the hair completely. After allowing it to sit until slightly dry and caked, rinse with warm water. The hair should dry glossy and smooth.

Don’t forget to constantly monitor the condition of your horse’s hair and skin while testing new products, and always test each new product on a small patch of your horse’s skin before applying to his entire body.