How can I reduce the smell of ammonia from my horses stall?

My horse is still young (3 years old) and currently makes quite a mess in her bed every morning. She will defecate and urinate all over the stall and then mix it in/dig holes and lay in it so it's flat.

It takes me roughly an hour to muck out, disinfect and then recover her bed every morning but I'm wondering if I can use a different form of bedding to reduce the smell of ammonia and potentially the amount of waste.

Currently her bedding consists of deep littering straw/hay of at least 12 inches (30cm).

I've had to add gradient banks to her bed as she's become cast a few times in the first couple of weeks of owning her but has since stopped once the banks were in.

Other options I have been recommended are using rubber mats and sawdust. However, from what I've read and heard from those who have these is that if the mats aren't washed then the urine scent will be absorbed in the mats and that they can be quite heavy and awkward to move.

  • 1
    Lime, drying it out and allowing the air to get to it and sunlight if at all possible.
    – user6796
    Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 17:22

1 Answer 1


There are a couple of ways to dampen or limit the ammonia smell.

  1. Baking soda: You can add this to the bedding and you do not need to use a lot of it. You can get this in bags from 1 kg to 1000 kg. It limits the smell of ammonia by increasing the pH so less urea is converted to ammonia.

  2. Lime: You can add this to the bedding, but you need to use a larger amount of it to remove the smell of ammonia. You can get lime in bags from 20 kg to 1000 kg. It costs less than baking soda.

To get the ammonia smell out of rubber mats you can use baking soda and vinegar. IMPORTANT DO NOT MIX VINEGAR AND BAKING SODA IN A CONTAINER. Use dry baking soda on the rubber mat and wash with vinegar diluted in water so you have 2-5% vinegar. DO THIS OUTSIDE AND USE EYE PROTECTION as a minimum of protective gear.

Side note: You can use vinegar to remove lime stains from any hard surface.

  • Is the baking soda safe for contact with my horse or should I be leaving it for a set amount of time before she's allowed back in? Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 11:32
  • 1
    all of this is safe for your horse the rubber mat treatment too after you have rinsed the mat with water. Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 11:35
  • 1
    As lime can cause respitory issues I went with baking soda instead. It arrived today and I can honestly say this is the best answer ever. If I could upvote again I would. I no longer have to wait 3-5 hours for the base to dry as the baking soda does the whole thing with 1 cup full! The smell of ammonia disappeared and now the barn just smells "horsey" thank you so much! :D Commented Mar 7, 2020 at 11:35

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