Keeping your horse's bit clean is an important part of taking care of your horse tack. 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. 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 debri 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, then carefully wash it- paying attention to crevices- with a mild scrub brush or rag. Rinse thoroughly.
Once 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, like the one pictures below, 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 (like the one pictured) are usually a lost cause and should be replaced.
After you have polished, it is important to soap and rinse again to remove any chemical residue on the mouthpiece of the bit. wash thorougly and carefully towel dry back to a shine. Before using the bit again you may wish to apply a dab of syrup or some other flavoring to the mouthpiece to cover the taste of plain metal or cleaning agents for the first use.