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Gear Guide Tried & Tested

Tack Cleaner

Tried & Tested
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A good leather care system will not only prolong the life of your tack, but also keep it soft, supple and more comfortable for your horse – we’ve tested a range of products to help you find the best system for your needs.

Our testers: These products were tested for three months on hardworking tack needed for both everyday training and competition perfection.

The products

Voltaire tack cleaning


Natural ingredients to soften and protect without chemicals.
Hercules glycerin soap £15 for 500ml
Hercules leather balsam £15 for 500ml

The verdict: “Expensive, but great results, even on old leather.”

“The soap only needed a small amount on a damp sponge to get my tack clean. The leather balsam was fantastic, I used it regularly on all my tack, including a very old saddle, and it brought out a deep, rich glow. It didn’t leave a film or make my saddle slippery and it smells amazing.”

Stübben tack cleaning


Gentle, pH-neutral soap and an intensive care conditioner.
Glycerin saddle soap £7 for 250g
Hamanol leather care £9 for 250g

The verdict: “Intensive and long-lasting, but needs working in.”

“The soap was fantastic – easy to work into the sponge and it didn’t foam up at all. It left a really great shine that remained for days, smelled lovely and improved the condition of the leather. The Hamanol is quite thick and needed working in, but did a great job.”

Showmaster tack cleaning


Oils and waxes to maintain leather.
Leather care spray £7.99 for 500ml
Leather balsam £4.49 for 500ml
Leather oil £4.99 for 500ml

The verdict: “Versatile and good value, but needs some effort to work in.”

“The spray was quick to use and left the leather clean but a bit dry. The oil was a great moisturiser for new tack, although it needed several applications. The balsam was much heavier and took some effort to work into the tack, but it’s great for leather girths on muddy days.”

Safe Equine tack cleaning

Safe Equine

Natural and gentle cleansing with a plant-based spray for cleaning bits and stirrups.
Tack pack, containing 750ml leather cleaner, 250ml balsam and 750ml multi-purpose cleaner for £17

The verdict: “Great value, everyday cleaning.”

“The leather cleaner lifted dirt and grime easily, and left a soft finish, even before applying the balm. Both products absorbed quickly without leaving a residue and smelt really nice. The multi-purpose cleaner left metalwork sparkling, too.”

Saddle Clinic tack cleaning

Saddle Clinic

Specially formulated for use on equestrian leather to nourish and protect.
Mould remover £9.95 for 250ml
Leather Revive £12.95 for 250ml

The verdict: “Great for long-term treatment of leather.”

“I used the mould remover to treat tack before storing it – months later it still looked clean and mould-free. The oil was a great conditioner, and was light, clean-feeling and didn’t darken the leather or leave any residue. Perfect for light-coloured leather, boots and accessories.”

Renapur tack cleaning


Natural products made from plant extracts that can be used diluted.
Clean and feed kit, containing 250ml leather cleaner and 200ml balsam for £21

The verdict: “Effective, deep cleaning, but needs working in.”

“I used the cleaner diluted in a bucket of warm water to strip every item of leather in the tack room and it was very effective. The balsam needed quite a lot of working in to stop it feeling sticky, but it left the leather feeling supple and soft.”

Prestige tack cleaning


Easy, gentle cleaner and an intensive conditioner.
Leather care kit, containing 200ml leather cleaner and 200ml leather conditioner for £19.83

The verdict: “Deep cleaning and conditioning, but a fiddly cap.”

“The cleaner did a good job of removing grease and dirt from my tack. It took a while to get used to how much to use and it was fiddly to keep screwing the lid back on. The balsam gave a great shine, and left the leather feeling soft and supple.”

Nettex tack cleaning


An antibacterial cleanser, a conditioner and a balm made with natural oils.
Traditional tack cleaner £4.05 for 500ml
Traditional tack conditioner £4.55 for 500ml
Premium leather balm £6.99 for 330ml

The verdict: “Effective on the dirtiest tack, but can require lots of product.”

“The cleaner did an amazing job on my tack after muddy cross-country rounds. The conditioner was also great, but I had to use a lot to get the best results. The balm left it shiny without a greasy residue.”

NAF Sheer Luxe tack clening

NAF Sheer Luxe

Deep cleaning with intensive nourishment and a light fragrance.
Cleanse and Condition £9.99 for 500ml
Leather balsam £9.99 for 400g
Leather food £9.99 for 500ml

The verdict: “Creamy, intensive condition with long lasting effects.”

“These products have a lovely smell. I’d prefer a more robust trigger, but the product worked well. The food is intensive and soaked in without leaving a residue. The balsam polished up well, but it was easy to use too much as it’s quite soft.”

Lincoln tack cleaning


An all-in-one cleaner and feed to provide natural protection and nourishment.
Total Tack Care spray £9.50 for 500ml
Superior Leather balsam £10.99 for 400g

The verdict: “Easy to apply, but dirtier tack required extra effort.”

“The spray trigger worked well and it was easy to control how much product I used. It took a couple of goes to get rid of really ingrained dirt. The balsam smelt nice, like honey, and made the leather soft and shiny. I only needed to use a small amount, so the tub lasted a long time.”

Kieffer tack cleaning


A gentle soap and an in-depth treatment cream to restore leather.
Glycerin saddle soap £4.20 for 200ml
Leather care cream £8.75 for 500ml

The verdict: “Good for restoring suppleness, but a slight sticky residue.”

“The soap effectively cleaned grease and dirt from the leather, but it was easy to use too much of it, which then lathered
up and left a slight stickiness to my tack.
The leather cream was very easy to apply, and it left my tack really supple and smelling clean.”

Groom Away tack cleaning

Groom Away

Protects, feeds and helps weatherproof leather, leaving a non-slippy, shiny finish.
Clean & Restore saddle soap £8 for 400g
Patent Shine for leather £11.50 for 200g

The verdict: “Good value cleaners for last-minute show ring shine.”

“The soap was brilliant and left leather residue-free with a soft, supple feel. The Patent Shine put a sparkling finish on my tack, perfect for before competitions. If applied immediately before getting on, it gave a bit of an adhesive quality, great for the inside of your boots!”

Gold label tack cleaning

Gold Label

Easy-to-use spray-on soap with a soft formula that’s kind to hands.
Glycerin liquid saddle soap £6 for 500ml
Soft Formula saddle soap £3.90 for 500g

The verdict: “Left a nice, if not long-lasting, shine to leather.”

“The convenience of the spray was fantastic for after riding – no need for water, just a dry cloth to wipe it over. The soft soap could be polished up for a nice shine, but the effects didn’t last as long as I would like so I was cleaning my tack more frequently.”

Belvoir Professional Equine tack cleaning

Belvoir Professional Equine

A pH-neutral cleaner and a clear conditioner with glycerine and coconut oil.
Tack cleaner £7.95 for 600ml
Conditioning spray £11.70 for 600ml

The verdict: “Easy and quick to use, but not intensive enough for big jobs.”

“The cleaner was easy to use and left the leather grease-free. It was really handy and quick, especially at competitions as it doesn’t need water. The conditioner added a good shine and I liked that it didn’t leave any foamy residue, although it wasn’t a very intensive product.”

Absorbine Leather Therapy tack cleaning

Absorbine Leather Therapy

Gentle on stitching, and can be used on tack, boots and synthetic leather.
Tack wash £16.73 for 473ml
Restorer & Conditioner £19.89 for 473ml

The verdict: “Everyday treatment with results worth the price tag.”

“The wash was great for everyday use, quick and with no need to rinse. It removed any dried sweat easily and didn’t stain white stitching. The conditioner absorbed well and made the leather noticeably more supple. Although it’s quite expensive, a little goes a long way.”

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Horse&Rider magazine September 2020

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