How to Clean Dog Collar

how to clean dog collar

You come home from work and see Maddie leaping excitedly towards you and then jumping in your lap for a hug. This purest expression of love just melts your heart! But then you notice the grimy collar or the funny smell coming out of it. Yikes!

If you’re a lucky dog owner, then you know how your buddy loves nuzzling or leaning against you all the time. Pet owners look forward to these special cuddling sessions, but ensuring your companion has taken a bath is sometimes not enough if he’s wearing a dirty collar.

Dog collars get dirty if your friend likes venturing out and enjoys outdoor adventures. Even if your little friend is more of a homely pet, the collar absorbs oils from his coat that may eventually give out a funky smell.

Cleaning your dog’s collar is extremely important to support the good hygiene of your pet. It helps to maintain the collar’s neat outlook and remove stains, dirt, and bacteria buildup.

What Makes a Dog Collar Smell Bad and How to Clean a Smelly Collar?

Old collars that have not been washed are often the primary reason for stinky dog collars. Moreover, playing in the park, rolling in mud, or walking in the rain can cause the dog collars to be caked with dirt, debris, and bacteria which are the major causes of foul smell.

A rule of thumb is to always take it off when you bathe your dog to avoid odor. If you prefer to keep your dog’s collar on when your dog gets wet, be sure to take it off later and let it air dry otherwise, it may make your clean dog smell gross.

It is recommended to wash dog collars every time you bathe your darling friend. The easiest way to clean smelly nylon collars is to scrub them with a mild soap or dog shampoo and hot water and then air dry them.

How to Clean Your Dog’s Collar?

wash dog collar

It is imperative to clean a dog collar regularly to keep your dog looking and smelling fresh. The regimen for cleaning your dog’s collar entirely depends on the material of the collar used. Some materials need special care for their maintenance.

For example, a leather collar needs extra care and attention than, let’s say, most fabric collars due to their sensitive organic fibers. You have to be careful while cleaning dog collars in a washing machine.

How to Clean a Synthetic Dog Collar

Using a dog shampoo is your safest choice to clean a nylon dog collar. While bathing your dog, just remove it and let the collar soak in the tub for ten to fifteen minutes to clean and freshen it up. You can add a little buffing with a soft bristle brush to remove those hard-to-reach stains.

This is the quickest and easiest way to clean a dog collar. With regular washing, you can keep the dog collar in top-notch condition and avoid the growth of bacteria, tough stains, or any disgusting smell.

Cleaning a Leather Dog Collar

When it comes to collars, leather collars are the favorite choice of dog owners due to their strength, durability, and beautiful natural smell. The single deal-breaker of this material is that it absorbs smells over time if not cleaned regularly.

Leather collars should not be machine washed; washing by hand is your safest bet. Ideally, using a damp cloth with soapy water to clean a leather dog collar is the perfect method. Use a little saddle soap to clean and avoid saturating the leather collar in water to maintain its high quality and sleek appearance.

In case of stubborn stains, soak the collar in a mixture of shampoo and water for ten to fifteen minutes. Rub it gently to remove residual grime, then hang to let it dry naturally. In the end, dab on a small amount of olive oil or leather conditioner with a clean cloth to enhance the natural sheen of the leather collar.

How to Clean an E-Collar

clean dog collar

Elizabethan or E collars are used after surgery to prevent your dog from licking his abrasion or wounds. It is important to clean both sides of an E collar. It is advised to trim the hair of the neck, face, and ears to avoid the accumulation of moisture which may lead to secondary infection after surgery.

You can use shampoo and warm water to clean and thoroughly wipe it, so it is completely dry before being placed back on your pet.

How to Wash Your Dog’s Collar? Tips and Tricks to Washing

Using Baking Soda

Baking soda is a popular laundry booster as it helps to neutralize rancid smells. It also helps in many DIY projects like deodorizing carpets, shoes, blankets, and dog’s bedding at home.

For cleaning synthetic or fabric collars, add two teaspoons of baking soda into warm water and soak the collar in the mixture for about fifteen minutes. Alternatively, you can use a baking soda mixture to scrub the collar with an old toothbrush.

how to wash dog collar

Hold the collar under running water in the end to remove any residue. Let the collar air dry, or place it on a towel to remove excess water. You can also hang them away from sunlight.

Adding two to three teaspoons of apple cider vinegar into the baking soda cleaning solution removes any lingering odor from the toughest stains. Apple cider vinegar should not be used if your dog has sensitive skin.

Using Peppermint Soap

Peppermint soap is a great refreshing agent due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Its cooling smell helps to repel ticks and fleas in dogs. Peppermint soap can be used to wash both leather and synthetic dog collars.

After removing the stinky dog collar, lather it up with a peppermint soap bar and gently scrub with a toothbrush. Finish the process by running hot water over the collar and repeat the process if necessary. Place it on a towel or dry naturally away from sunlight.

Using the Dishwasher

Most collars can be easily washed in a dishwasher, but it is advised to read the instructions manual of the collar carefully before deciding to do so.

Leather dog collars can not be washed in a dishwasher. However, the dishwasher is a convenient cleaning method for most synthetic collars. Simply clip the dog collar in the top rack of your washer to prevent its slippage during fast water flow.

Use the washer on the normal washing cycle, and make sure to turn off the drying cycle of your washer to avoid any twists or damage to the collar.

Use a Gentle Dog Shampoo

Although you can use dish soap to wash dog collars, the only downside is that some sensitive dogs might develop irritation in reaction to strong ingredients in soap. Therefore, it is always recommended to use a gentle dog shampoo to clean a dog collar.

how to wash a dog collar

It prevents skin allergies or inflammation, and the familiar smell doesn’t bother your beloved friend. It helps to clean the collar gently without affecting its quality.

Add some shampoo to a bowl of hot water and soak the collar for fifteen to twenty minutes. You can also give it a little scrubbing if the collar looks seriously dirty. When it’s done, gently squeeze the excess water and let it dry.


Can You Put a Dog Collar in the Washing Machine?

Most collars are machine washable, but it is suggested to read the label before dropping your collar in the machine. Collar cleaning in a machine is highly effective and practical.

It is advised to place the synthetic collar in a delicate garment bag, put it in the washing machine, and add a mild detergent. Remember to choose a detergent free from fragrance, bleach, and dyes. You can also add some baking soda to sanitize the collar and get a perfect result.

Please do not put the collar in the dryer and let it completely dry away from direct sunlight. Avoid washing leather collars in a washing machine.

Do Metal Dog Collars Need to Be Cleaned?

Contrary to popular misconception, dirt, bacteria, and oil can also accumulate on metal collars, so they need to be cleaned like any other collar.

In order to clean metal collars, add a small amount of dog shampoo or dish soap to warm water and soak it for ten to fifteen minutes. You may use your fingers to remove any coarse dirt on the collar; after removing from water, thoroughly clean dog collars with a cloth to remove any debris or stain.

To remove rusty stains, apply a paste of water and baking soda to the surface and let it harden. Remove it with a toothbrush. In the end, rinse the collar with cold water and let it air dry, or use a towel to dry it more efficiently.


We hope this article answers all your concerns and apprehensions regarding the cleaning of your faithful friend’s collar. We must remind you that giving your buddy a timely bath will not ensure his cleanliness until you take good care of the collar that he always wears!

Therefore, it is recommended to wash the dog collar every time you bathe your pet. Making it a routine would simplify things for you! Investing a few minutes in his hygiene will ensure he stays healthy, happy, and smelling awesome for those amazing play times with you!

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Hannah Williams
Hannah Williams is a media graduate and writing is her passion. She was 18 years old when her first dog Bella died in her own hands due to a food recommendation that went wrong for her husky. The grief was more than any she went through in her life but this gave her a direction. She became a dog trainer and dog food advisor. Testing everything before she recommends it to you is what makes her different from others. These days she is a pet parent to two cute dogs. Bumblebee. a Yorkie and Labradoodle Rosie. Making best of her days with them and ensure you get the best advices and recommendation for your furry friend.

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