How To Wash A Dog Collar?
[Extensive Guide]

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

Dogs, in general, love to roll around various surfaces like wet puddles, grass, sand, and so on. As a dog owner, this makes it necessary for you to know how to wash their collar correctly.

After a fun time at the beach or park, it is recommended to wash the dog collar clean along with the pet. The last thing you, the owner, needs is for your dog to lie on your couch with the same dirty collar and spoil your precious home furniture. So regularly ensuring this dog accessory is neat will help keep your mind at ease.

Having a systematic collar cleaning regimen will also keep foul odor at bay. You don’t want your buddy to carry this stink wherever they go and cause discomfort for you and your loved ones. Not to mention, using a dirty collar for a while can act as a welcome ticket for bacteria and infections.

Now that you know why it is crucial to keep the dog collar clean, let’s explore how to wash the dog collar.

Steps To Clean A Dog Collar

You will need to customize the cleaning process based on the collar material. Not all dog collar materials are suitable to be cleaned using the washing machine. However, the hand wash option can take up to around 15 minutes of your time. So, it all depends on your schedule and the collar’s material to arrive at the ideal cleaning method.

Leather Dog Collar

It requires extra care if it is made of leather as the material is too sensitive to be put in a washing machine.

Here are the steps to do it the proper and safe way:

  1. Mix a small quantity of any dog shampoo with warm water in a small bowl. (Using dog shampoo will ensure your dog does not get rashes or skin allergies that occur from other types of detergents. We strongly recommend you avoid using human shampoos or another strong detergent/saddle soap for this purpose. 
  2. Insert the dirty leather collars in it and let them soak for around 15-20 minutes. 
  3. Take out the soaked collar and rub it gently to get rid of any additional dirt or oil that may have stuck to it. 
  4. Hang it out in the sun or air dry. If you like to speed up the drying process, use a towel to pat it dry and then naturally dry it outside before putting it back on your dog.

Hand wash is always the better choice for removing the odor and dirt from a leather collar. When cleaned regularly, they can withstand moisture-induced wear and tear and can last for years.

Nylon Dog Collar

Nylon or synthetic collars are more robust in their physical properties compared to leather. So, you can use a washing machine for cleaning the same.


Wrap the dog collar in a garment so that it does not bounce around wildly while getting rinsed in the washing machine.

As an alternative to the machine wash, you can try the hand wash for the Nylon collar. But take care to use only mild detergents or soap to dislodge the deposited dirt. Once the washing and cleaning part is complete, place it flat on the floor for drying in the sun.

Metallic Dog Collar

If you belong to that category of dog owners who think that metal dog collars do not need to be cleaned because they don’t catch odor and bacteria, think again!

If dirt is left on the metal collar for prolonged periods, they will start to stink as well. The dog’s skin coming into contact with the collar will also smell in no time to make things worse. So here is an easy process to take care of this issue:

  1. Mix the required quantity of dog shampoo with water in a small bowl. 
  2. Insert the metallic collar and soak it for a few minutes. 
  3. Rub/scrub the collar with your palm and fingers, and you are done with the cleaning part.
  4. Follow it up with thorough drying using a thick towel, and the collar is good to go.

Also, make sure there isn’t any rusty area in the metallic collar. This can lead to injury and rashes on your dog’s skin when in contact with the rusty part.

Pro Tip For Removing Odors From Dog Collars 

Apart from using the dog shampoo to make your canine and their collar smell pleasant, you can also try some readily available kitchen ingredients for removing bad scents from the collar. Dilute apple cider vinegar or baking soda with water and soak the collar by dipping it in the solution. This step will eliminate any stink, dirt, or oils from it and make the collars smell great!

In addition, you can also similarly clean a dog harness using dog shampoo and water solution. Again, the scent and ingredients of the shampoo are safe for their skin, and the smell is a familiar one for them, so there won’t be any feeling of repulsion towards it.

Concluding Thoughts

As a responsible dog owner, regularly cleaning your dog’s collar is not a task to be ignored. Unfortunately, apart from the increasing odor levels, an unclean collar can make your buddy susceptible to many skin allergies and infections.

Depending on the material of the collar, you need to employ the correct cleaning methods. Select the hand wash or the washing machine-based cleaning accordingly. In addition, be diligent about the cleaning agent you use. Dog’s skin can be fragile to human shampoos. 

If at all you notice any sign of rashes or inflammations on your dog’s skin, make sure to get it checked by your vet at the earliest to avoid things getting worse. And now you know the right ways to keep your dog’s collar smelling and looking fresh!