If you’re like most dog lovers, you want to keep your dog’s collar clean and free of dirt, grime and odors. But with all the activities your pup likes to do — from digging in the backyard to rolling in who-knows-what — it can be tough to keep their collar looking and smelling fresh. We’ve got solutions for cleaning your dog’s collar by hand washing, machine washing–and even cleaning those leather collars.
How to Wash a Dog Collar
Nylon, polyester and cotton are a common materials for dog collars and they’re all easy to hand wash.
Start by removing tags, GPS units and anything else attached to the collar–then use a toothbrush to brush away any loose dirt.
Next, get out a small bowl filled with warm water and a detergent for cleaning.
I like to use Dawn detergent when cleaning our dogs’ collars by hand. Dawn is known for being tough on grease and grime, and it’s also gentle enough to use on dog collars.
Another option is dog shampoo, a great choice if your dog has allergies and already has a shampoo that you know doesn’t irritate his skin.
To handwash your dog’s collar, simply wet the collar and apply a small amount of Dawn soap or dog shampoo. Rub the soap into the fabric–then let the collar soak for 10 or 15 minutes. If you have a particularly tough stain, scrub the collar with an old toothbrush.
Baking soda dissolved in water is another option for removing stubborn stains and smell from dog collars.
Also be sure to have a look at the buckle while you’re cleaning the collar. Plastic buckles can have caked on dirt and oil both inside and outside the buckle. Metal buckles can not only have soil and grease on them but can also sometimes show signs of rust.
Scrub the buckle with dog shampoo or a baking soda paste and a toothbrush.
Rinse thoroughly then let the collar air dry completely before putting it back on your dog.
Can you machine wash a dog collar?
Hand-washing is always an option–and probably the best choice if you have a beautifully patterned dog collar, but if you’re short on time or just don’t feel like getting your hands dirty, you may be wondering if you can machine wash a dog collar.
The good news is that most dog collars are machine washable. In fact, this is often the easiest and most effective way to clean them.
Be sure to use a gentle cycle and avoid using any harsh cleaning chemicals.
If the dog collar is especially smelly or dirty (and especially if it oily), you may want to both handwash AND machine wash the collar. Give it a scrub and a 15-minute soak first then, instead of drying the collar, put it in your washing machine for another cleaning.
You may also want to put the collar in a mesh laundry bag to protect it from snagging or getting tangled in other items. And of course, always air dry the collar afterwards to prevent damage.
How to Clean Leather Dog Collars
Cleaning a leather dog collar is something you can do at home with items you likely have on hand. It’s a good idea to test the cleaning on a non-obvious part of the collar first to make sure your cleaning efforts don’t cause any discoloration in the leather.
The first step is to remove dog tags, GPS units and anything else attached to the collar.
Next, remove any loose dirt or debris with a soft brush.
That may be enough cleaning but, if not, next try spot cleaning dirty areas with a wet rag, or wiping a damp rag along the length of the collar.
Need more cleaning? Prepare a cleaning solution by mixing one part white vinegar with one part water. (You can increase the ratio of vinegar to water later if needed for really stubborn stains.)
Dip a clean cloth into the mixture and use it to scrub away any remaining dirt or grime.
Once the collar is clean, wipe it down with a cloth soaked in plain water and allow it to air dry.
For best results, treat the leather with Saddle Soap once it is completely dry. No Saddle Soap? Olive oil and vegetable oil can be used in a pinch (but know that the scent just might encourage chewing on the collar, especially a problem if you have multiple dogs.)
With a little care and attention, you can keep your dog’s collar clean and looking like new for many years to come.