Horse Care 101: How To Clean Your Horse’s Water Bucket

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In this article we’ll cover the step by step process to clean your horse’s water bucket and the importance of doing so. First let’s cover some basic facts you’ll need to know about providing water for your horse. The bottom line is, horses need fresh water all day every day just like people and our other pets! Not all horses like to drink, one way to encourage them to stay hydrated is to keep the water fresh and clean!

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How Much Water Horses Drink

In an article in Practical Horseman magazine published January, 2019, veterinarian Lisa Borzynski answers this question. She advises that horses will drink anywhere from 5 to 15 gallons of water per day or roughly 1 gallon per 100 pounds of body weight. Check out the full article to find out more about ensuring your horse stays hydrated.

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Offering Clean Water

If your horse(s) are anything like mine, they will most likely avoid water that is not fresh. We do have a couple of horses like my older gelding Beau, that enjoy dunking their hay in the water, but otherwise won’t drink old water.

Fresh water should be offered daily, and even if you don’t scrub out your buckets daily, you should at least dump and refill them. Just imagine if your only water source had slime in it and smelled funky, you would probably don’t be too interested in drinking it!

All of our horses have two 5-gallon water buckets in their stalls and access to large water tanks in turnout.

What You’ll Need To Clean Your Water Buckets


Scrub Brush


How To Clean Your Horse’s Water Bucket


On our farm, we like to clean and disinfect the water buckets with a bleach solution on a weekly basis. Throughout the week we will scrub buckets with only water as needed. However, water is dumped out and re-filled daily.


To clean your horse’s water bucket, start by dumping out the dirty water. Next rinse out the bucket with water.

I like to spray the whole bucket down inside and out so that when I begin scrubbing there are no dry spots. Add a little bit of bleach to the bottom of the bucket and a bit of water, approximately 1 part bleach per 10 parts water.

Scrub the bucket thoroughly with the bleach mixture.

Rinse out the bucket completely at least twice to ensure you rinse all of the bleach out.

Next hang your water buckets up in the stall and re-fill.

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