How to Clean a Dog Collar or Leash
How to Keep Your Dog Clean
I detest stinky dogs. I love my pups, but they share my home and furniture, and I insist on canine cleanliness. Years of baths and bribing have taught my dogs that, no matter what their dog park friends tell them, bathing is not a leading cause of canine death. They still aren't happy about bath day, but at least they don't actively fight it.
Unfortunately, it doesn't matter how clean and fluffy a dog is if his or her collar is a filthy mess. Dogs are famous for rolling in disgusting finds, and collars are usually in the center of the action. Nothing ruins the clean dog experience like a stinky collar!
So how do you clean a dog collar? How about dog leashes? How many sweaty summer walks has your dog's leash experienced, and how many times has it trailed through the dirt behind a bouncing pup? Neither the washing machine nor dishwasher seemed like a good idea, so I modified a hand washing techniques to work the grime out of essential dog equipment. This article will go over an easy way to clean dog collars and leashes to remove the dirt and smell without damaging the webbing material or metal pieces.
How to Wash Smelly Dog Collars and Leashes
All you need to wash dog collars and leashes is:
- a large bowl
- and hot water.
Note: I used dish soap because my dog collars and leashes were so soiled that they felt oily, but you could also just use liquid hand soap, body wash, or shampoo. If your dog has sensitive skin, you might want to use a dog shampoo—you know works well for your pet!
- Add soap to the empty bowl. Use your judgment on how much to use, but I unscientifically recommend two good squirts. You'll want enough soap to be effective, but there is no need to use even 1/4 of a cup of soap. Adding the soap before water helps the soap dissolve more easily.
- Fill the bowl almost to the top with hot water. Run the water gently to avoid uncontrollable amounts of soap bubbles.
- Add your dog collars and/or leashes. I have two dogs and find that all four items do not fit in a bowl at the same time. Instead, I wash the collars and leashes separately. Let the items simply sit in the soapy water for a few minutes.
- For added grime extraction, scrub the material against itself. Do not use a brush or scrubbing sponge as this may damage or weaken the webbing material. The video to the right demonstrates how to scrub a collar against itself. If the items are really soiled, apply additional soap to the webbing and scrub it in. You can see filthy soap bubbles on the pictured red leash!
- If the water is visibly soiled, dump it and add fresh hot water. Additional soap is okay, but usually not necessary. Allow the items to soak a few minutes more.
- Repeat step #5 until the water remains clear. If you used a large amount of soap, make sure you rinse the items under running water. If you've already soaked them in several changes of soap-free water, this is unnecessary.
Prevent dry or irritated skin by using a natural, soothing dog shampoo. I use this brand for my dogs and it's great!
How to Dry Dog Collars and Leashes
Dogs don't have pockets, so they need to wear collars with identification. Your dog's collar is only helpful if it's around his or her neck, so getting collars dry as quickly as possible and back to work is important. Leashes and collars can stay wet all day, especially during humid summer months, but putting them in the dryer isn't a good idea because the metal buckles make lots of noise and can damage the appliance.
Luckily, you can actually get most of the water out of dog accessories with an absorbent towel. If you want to use paper towels, you can, but you'll have to use a whole lot of them. Using a bath or beach towel is better.
- Simply grasp one end of the collar or leash firmly with one hand and hold the towel around the item with your other hand.
- Pull the item through the towel several times, moving to a dry area of the towel as needed.
The video below demonstrates this technique. By removing most of the excess water, and a little extra dirt, you can get collars back into wearable condition with minimal air-drying time. A dog isn't just your buddy—many household pets are attached to each other, too. By keeping their collars on as much as possible, you're protecting your friends, as well as their friends.
How to Scrub Dirt out of Dog Collars
You can keep collars and leashes looking and feeling fresh, year after year, with just a few minutes of cleaning! Washing your dog's collar and leash is a good idea after they're done playing in the mud, going to the beach, or swimming in a lake. Unless your dog is exceptionally dirty, washing his or her collar and leash every bath day is probably not necessary. Use your best judgement—if it looks, feels, or smells weird, wash it. Keeping a dog's collar helps his/her coat clean longer, too. As soon as you strap a dirty collar around a clean neck, that fur becomes soiled.
We can do it, dog lovers. Together, we can show the cat people that owning house dogs doesn't automatically equate to a stinky home and dirty furniture!