Carruajes Romero

Care and Storage

Carriage care

Location and storage

During the period when horse-drawn carriages were the most common form of transportation, having a proper place to store them, along with their harness and accessories, was very important.

Transport companies had adequate spaces to store their vehicles, specific rooms for harness and places to carry out maintenance and cleaning, separating the stables with doors to keep out dirt and dust. These buildings were always well ventilated and had smooth interior surfaces that were easy to clean.

Today, few owners have this type of dedicated facilities. However, today’s carriages, whether modern reproductions or restored antiques, including their harness, still require proper care and maintenance, whether they are kept in a garage, a basement, an industrial building or a garage specially built for storage.

Carriages and harnesses have parts made of different materials (wood, metal, leather, cloth, paint) that do not react in the same way with the environment. Finding ways to deal with the environment to prevent the deterioration of these various materials is quite a challenge for the collector.

Remember that one of the best preventative maintenance procedures for preserving carriages is to keep the area where they are always kept clean. This practice will preserve your carriage much longer than any miracle cleaner.

Carruajes Romero

Leather maintenance

and the Upholstery

Fenders, dashboards, fins, shaft linings, the ends of the spear and other parts containing leather in the carriage must be cleaned, conditioned and polished to allow proper nutrition and hydration. Remember that the carriages with folding hoods should be stored with hoods up, but not extended to its full extension, frequently opening other parts of the carriage that contain folds in the leather.

Remove the seats and clean the bottom and other covered parts where dirt collects and rodents may nest. To clean the fabric, use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery accessory or a soft horsehair brush. If you are cleaning fragile historic textiles, place a nylon screen over the fabric while vacuuming to prevent damage.

Maintenance of wooden

parts and ironwork

Never keep the carriage dirty! We never get tired of saying it. Remove mud and dirt with water using a gentle stream from a hose or squeeze a large sponge over the carriage to let the water flow over the dirt.

Always work from top to bottom, cleaning wheels and axles last to prevent the sponge picks up stones that can damage the surface.

Remove dry dust with a vacuum cleaner if possible, using a very soft brush attachment. Remember, start at the top and work down.

Use the vacuum’s extension wand to get into corners. It is important to use a good quality vacuum cleaner with an approximate 1.5 hp motor. Avoid using an industrial vacuum cleaner that emits fine dust from the exhaust. The most recommended is to use a portable vacuum cleaner, backpack type or with a shoulder strap, which can facilitate movement around or between the different carriages in your collection.

After vacuuming, clean the carriage with a lint-free cloth or a disinfectant cloth by adding some car maintenance product that can help reduce the static electricity that dust attracts.

Maintenance of metallic

parts and painting

Metal parts of a carriage can deluster (brass or silver hardware) or rust (steel or iron axles, springs, etc.).

To treat tarnish, use a small amount of a slightly abrasive metal polish. Take care not to let the polish penetrate into the surrounding materials. Apply the polish with a fine cloth and rub abundantly.

Once the process is finished, make sure that all the residues produced by the polish are cleaned.

Finally apply a small amount of micro crystalline wax to retard tarnish.

Always keep a small can of black paint with a small brush nearby to touch up rungs, couplings, and other parts that are constantly wearing. Always apply as thin a layer as possible.

Always keep in mind that these types of historic vehicles are often painted with many coats of paint from many different mediums.

Finally, to help keep the paint in good condition, clean your carriage carefully to avoid scratches, store horse carriages properly in a clean area, away from direct sunlight, extreme temperature changes and inadequate humidity, and always handle carriages with care when transporting them.

Maintenance of horse

carriage wheels

Good wheel maintenance is always a prerequisite for safe driving. The first step to proper wheel maintenance is to determine if the wheels use a single axle nut lubricated with grease (very common in light weight carriages) or cylindrical shafts (type “Collinge” or “Mail”) lubricated with oil, not with grease. Be aware that applying grease to a Collinge-type axle can cause the wheel to “freeze”.

Axles should be thoroughly cleaned, applying grease or oil frequently, and always after the carriage has been driven on a sandy surface for an extended period.

Finally having a carriage “jack” will greatly facilitate the process of lifting each wheel to remove, inspect, clean and lubricate it.

Maintenance of parts

with wicker in the carriage

Because wicker can become brittle and weak, horse carriages with wicker parts should always be stored out of direct sunlight, repairing any holes detected in the wicker as soon as possible to prevent further deterioration.

On the other hand, both the wicker in its natural state and the painted one should always be cleaned with soap and water rubbing them with a sponge (keep in mind not to rub the sponge on the wicker with excessive force as it could damage it).

Dust maintenance

in the carriage

Dust is one of the carriage’s worst enemies as it absorbs humidity and can cause mildew on the surface, encrusting the fabric and damaging upholstery. Also, because dust is abrasive, the simple act of cleaning a dusty carriage can scratch the surface.

Dust covers are a good solution that can help protect us from this problem, but keep in mind that plastic or cotton covers can retain humidity and encourage mold growth. In addition, regardless of the type of cover, these always help to inhibit our regular inspections by preventing pest infestations and other easily visible problems with the carriage uncovered.

But if individual covers are necessary on a carriage, the best material to use is a modern wrap product such as those used in the construction field. These can be sewn, stapled and also washed. Additionally, these types of materials have the ability to be “breathable” while keeping dust off the carriage.

Another interesting option would be to cover the carriage that is stored in a stable or garage with a “tent” built on a box-shaped frame with the walls and top formed by engraved strips, leaving a lid or door that can be opened to get to the car for cleaning.

Finally, remember to never use tarps or plastic wrap to cover the carriage because they retain humidity.


against pests

Insects: Many insects, especially moths, can destroy the textile parts of our carriage. One way to determine if there is an insect infestation and, if so, what kind of insects are, is to place sticky insect traps around the carriages and see what they catch.

Although there are many pesticides on the market to combat these pests, the best advice we can give you to prevent insects from destroying our fabrics is to keep our horse carriages thoroughly clean.

However, if there is evidence of a moth infestation on the seats or other removable fabric, the best what can be done is “remove and isolate”.

Remove and place possible infested parts in heavy-duty plastic bags along with insect- catching strips and seal the bags hermetically. Insulate bags in an upright freezer or place them outdoors if the temperature is below zero. Because moths can remain dormant, freezing should be alternated with vacuuming and thawing.

Finally, to help prevent new infestations, be sure to quarantine newly purchased vehicles until determined to be free of insects.

Rodents: Mice and other rodents often nest in seat padding, easily spotted by marking their territory with urine. The use of poisons will easily kill these pests, but if a rodent hides somewhere in or near the carriage before it is dead, its remains can create an unpleasant smell and become a food source for other pests.

The best advice we can give to rid the area where we keep our carriages of mice is to use a lot of traps, especially during the season of mating in early fall: the more traps, the higher the success rate.

Mice move along perimeters, so be sure to place traps along perimeter walls. Once a trap has been triggered, throw away the trap and the mouse.

Finally, don’t forget to remove all food from the picnic baskets once you’ve packed your carriage!

Lastly, to help prevent new infestations, be sure to quarantine newly purchased vehicles until determined to be bug free.

Humidity and Temperature


The ideal humidity to store your carriages is between 48 and 52 percent. The thermometer for measuring temperature and humidity should be placed on a wall away from the entrance door.

If the garage in which we store our carriages gets hot, it can cause the relative humidity to be too low (below 45 percent), causing the wood in the carriage to lose its humidity content and causing shrinkage that can cause cracks in different parts of our horse carriages

(especially panels). Also, if the wood shrinks much more than the paint, the paint can bulge and bend.

One solution to these problems is to keep the temperature down and always use a humidifier.

When relative humidity is very high (over 60 percent), wood can expand much more than paint and cause cracks as well. Another problem that can occur in high humidity environments is mold growth. It feeds on painted and varnished surfaces, as well as leather and fabrics. One solution to these problems is to use a humidifier and fan.

An unheated garage with a basement and attic can be an ideal storage facility. The carriages can be stored in the middle level on a wooden floor, thus allowing temperature and humidity changes to be more gradual. Remember that any dramatic change in temperature and humidity can cause the vehicle’s panels to crack.

The fans (extractors, in roof or wall) can reduce temperatures and improve environmental conditions for storing horse carriages.

Finally, keep in mind that the extractor vents must have a fine filter to prevent any infiltration of insects.