When it comes to approximately two weeks before the county fair, as it is this week for me, the two most important things to do are to wash the cows and to clip them. Washing always has to go first in order to get as much dirt off of them as possible. This makes the clipping step easier in order to not break or damage the clippers or to hurt the cow.
Washing is pretty much one of the easier things to do in getting ready for the fair. The only major things needed are a bucket of water, a hose, a few different types of brushes, and dawn dish soap. Dawn dish soap works the best to get off most of the dirt, and though most any dish soap would probably work pretty much everyone I know uses dawn.
That being said while washing a cow it works best to rinse them off first with slightly warm water, but not too hot obviously. This way some of the dirt comes off before you even start scrubbing. The rest is pretty much scrubbing off as much dirt as you can, and then rinsing them off again. It’s also best to let them dry off before clipping, which is why I usually do washing one week and clipping the next.