How To Wash Dog Collar

Keeping your dog’s collar clean is an important part of providing proper care for your canine companion. Over time, dirt, debris, and oils from your dog’s body will cause its collar to become dirty and develop an unpleasant odor.

Fortunately, washing most dog collars is a quick and simple process. The proper method depends on the collar material, such as nylon, leather, or metal. With the right supplies and techniques, you can easily keep your dog’s collar fresh and hygienic.

This article will walk you through the steps for effectively washing different types of dog collars by hand or machine. Follow these tips to remove grime, eliminate odors, and extend the life of your dog’s collar.

Gather the Proper Supplies for Washing Your Dog’s Collar

Before starting the washing process, you’ll want to gather the proper supplies. Having everything you need ready will make washing your dog’s collar quick and easy.

For most fabric collars, you’ll need:

  • Mild detergent or dog shampoo – Use a gentle cleanser that won’t irritate your dog’s skin
  • Warm water
  • An old toothbrush for scrubbing
  • A bowl or sink for soaking the collar
  • Clean, dry towels

For leather or vinyl collars, the supplies are a bit different:

  • A clean, soft cloth
  • Leather cleaning solution
  • Leather conditioner
  • Bowl of water (for rinsing)

And don’t forget to have a backup collar on hand so your dog is never without their ID tags while you clean their regular collar.

Soak the Collar in Warm Water and Detergent

For fabric collars made of nylon, polyester, or cotton, start by removing any tags or attachments.

Fill a bowl or sink with warm water and add a small amount of mild detergent or dog shampoo. Let the collar soak for 10-15 minutes to begin loosening dirt.

If there are any stubborn stains or buildup, scrub them gently with an old toothbrush while soaking. Be sure to focus on areas like the buckle and D-rings where grime loves to hide.

Rinse Away Dirt and Residue

Once the collar has soaked, give it a good rinse under warm running water. Rinsing removes all traces of dirt and soap residue that could irritate your dog’s skin.

Squeeze and pat the collar with a clean towel to absorb excess moisture. Then lay it flat or hang it up to allow it to air dry completely before putting it back on your dog.

Use Baking Soda to Remove Odors

Does your dog’s collar still smell funky even after washing? Using baking soda is an effective way to remove stubborn odors from fabric collars.

Make a paste of water and baking soda. Generously coat the collar with the paste, focusing on smelly spots. Let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing clean. Baking soda will absorb and neutralize odors without the use of perfumes or fragrances.

Clean Leather Collars Gently With a Soft Cloth

Leather requires more gentle care than fabric. Start by wiping down the collar with a clean, soft cloth to remove surface dirt and debris. Dampen the cloth with water if needed to clean deeper.

For a more thorough cleaning, use a leather cleaning solution. Apply a small amount to a soft cloth, then wipe the collar. Rinse with a fresh damp cloth.

Let the leather collar air dry completely. Condition it with a leather conditioner to keep it supple. Avoid getting leather overly wet as it can cause cracking and discoloration.

Use the Washing Machine for a Deep Clean

While handwashing is gentlest, the washing machine can be used to deep clean fabric collars that are very dirty.

Place the collar in a mesh laundry bag and zip shut. This prevents the hardware from damaging the machine or tangling with other items.

Wash on a gentle cycle in cold water with a small amount of mild detergent. It’s best not to use fabric softener or dryer sheets as they can leave residue.

Air dry the collar fully once washed. Avoid machine drying, as the heat can damage collars.

Wash Dog Leashes Using the Same Method

Over time, dirt, dust, and oils from your dog’s coat can make leashes dirty too. Luckily, leashes can be cleaned using the same method as fabric collars.

For basic cleaning, soak the leash in warm water with mild detergent. Allow to soak for 10-15 minutes before scrubbing with a toothbrush and rinsing clean.

For convenience, leashes made of nylon or other synthetic materials can also be placed in a mesh bag and washed on a gentle cycle in the machine. Always air dry.

Clean Your Dog’s Collar Frequently

To keep your dog’s collar fresh, aim to clean it about once a month or any time it gets noticeably dirty. It’s quick and easy to wash most collars by hand in just a few minutes.

Washing their collar whenever you bathe your dog is a great habit. That way, you won’t put a dirty collar back on a clean dog! Keeping up with regular collar washes will prevent the buildup of grime that leads to unpleasant odors.

Disinfect Collars If Your Dog is Sick

If your dog has been sick, disinfecting their collar is important to destroy germs and prevent reinfection.

The washing machine is ideal for disinfecting fabric collars – the hot water kills microorganisms. Use the sanitized or hot water setting.

For leather, thoroughly wipe down with a cloth dampened in a disinfecting solution made for home use. Rinse and let air dry.

Replace your dog’s collar altogether if it’s heavily soiled. A new collar reduces the risk of transferring illness.


How often should you wash a dog collar?

You should aim to wash your dog’s collar about once a month. Washing it whenever you bathe your dog is a good habit. Collars that get submerged in water or are exposed to an illness should be washed immediately. Dogs who swim or get very dirty may need their collar washed more frequently.

What is the best way to get dog collar odor out?

To fully remove odors from a dog collar, soak it for 15 minutes in a solution of warm water, baking soda, vinegar, and mild detergent before washing. Baking soda helps deodorize while detergent lifts grime. Avoid fragrances, which just mask smells temporarily.

Can you put a nylon dog collar in the dryer?

It’s best to air-dry nylon and other fabric dog collars to prevent heat damage. Lay flat or hang to dry. Avoid the dryer, which can cause collars to shrink.

How do you clean everyday buildup on a leather dog collar?

To clean surface grime on leather dog collars, simply wipe down with a damp, soft cloth daily. Use a leather cleaner weekly. Avoid over-wetting leather, and always condition after cleaning. Frequent gentle wiping removes dirt before it builds up.

What is the best way to wash a fabric dog leash?

Nylon and polyester leashes can be washed just like fabric collars. Soak in warm, soapy water and scrub with a toothbrush. For heavy-duty cleaning, place leashes in a mesh bag and wash on a gentle cycle. Always air dry fabric leashes fully before use.


With regular cleaning and proper care, a quality collar can last for years of daily wear. Be sure to follow washing instructions based on the material. Air drying instead of machine drying prevents damage from heat.

Conditioning leather collars keeps them supple and prevents cracking. Storing collars properly when not in use will also extend their lifespan.

By cleaning your dog’s collar regularly, you’ll keep it looking new, remove odors, and help it last! Proper care is quick, easy, and important for your dog’s health and comfort.

Rover Troutt
Rover Troutt

Well hi there! The name's Rover and I'm your friendly neighborhood dog trainer. I've been working with canine companions for over 15 years now and love helping dogs and their humans build strong, loving relationships.

My training methods focus on positive reinforcement - that means lots of treats, pets, and praise for good behavior. I don't believe in punishment or scolding, that just makes pups anxious and confused. Clear communication is the key.

I can help with all kinds of training goals, from basic obedience and housebreaking to advanced skills like agility and scent work. Puppies, adolescents, adults - I work with dogs of all ages and backgrounds.

And training is as much for the owner as it is the dog! I'll coach you on how to manage behaviors at home, provide mental stimulation, and deepen your bond with your furry best friend. With consistency and patience, we can accomplish so much together.

So if you're looking for a caring, compassionate trainer who will get to know you and your dog's unique personalities, give me a call! I offer private lessons, group classes, and even fun socialization outings. Let's talk soon about how I can help you and your pup succeed.