Keeping your horse's bit clean is an important part of taking care of your horses tack. The bit is one of the main contact points between you and your horse. If the bit hurts or is uncomfortable for the horse to pack, then your message to the horse will be hurtful and uncomfortable. The rules for cleaning western and English bits are the same. After each ride, particularly if you swap bits between horses, your bit should be rinsed or even dipped in Listerine to kill any bacteria. Remember to wipe down the bit after rinsing to inspect for damage, and to remove excess water so that the bit will not prematurely rust or corrode.

During regular tack cleaning, or just before shows, you should clean your bit more thoroughly. The easiest way to clean a bit is to run it through a standard household dishwasher. This removes buildup and debris with no effort. If this is not a possibility, you should allow your bit to soak in clean soapy water for a few minutes to a few hours, and then carefully wash it - paying attention to crevices - with a mild scrub brush or rag. Rinse thoroughly. 

Once any buildup has been removed, you should polish your bit. We prefer Never-Dull but any polish designed for the type of metal your bit it made of will work. Polish carefully. Some bits may be impossible to polish to a shine, and some bits are not designed to. Stainless steel bits should always be polished back to shine, while rusty mouthpieces should be left alone, plated bits with corrosion are a lost cause and should be replaced or refurbished by a professional craftsman. 

After you have polished your bit, it is important to soap and rinse again to remove any chemical residue on the mouthpiece of the bit. Wash thoroughly and carefully towel dry back to a shine. Before using the bit again you may wish to apply a flavoring to the mouthpiece to cover the taste of plain metal or cleaning agents for the first use. 

Remember to keep your bits clean and dry, and they will last you a lifetime. Talk to one of our Bit Specialists if you have specific questions or concerns regarding your Horse Bits.


Individual bits vary in their construction as well as the material they are made of.  Each manufacturer has specific guidelines and procedures for maintaining their bits, and this procedure should be followed. 

Most bits just need to be kept clean when you are using them to give you the best life expectancy from them. Remember that cleaning your equipment will not shorten its life. 

When you store your bits over an extended period of time, we suggest that you first clean and polish your bit. Then give your bit a light coating spray of oil such as WD-40. Place the bit in a sealed plastic bag, and your done.  Remember to clean your bit after you retrieve it from storage, and prior to using it again. The other option is to throw it in a bucket or hang it on a hook in the barn,  and take your chances

Bit Cleaning


Bit Maintenance