How to Clean a Dog Collar

Easy
10 - 15 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

Buffy, the Cocker Spaniel’s collar is getting pretty funky. 'Not sure what she was rolling in, but not only does she need a bath, so does her collar. 

It is not uncommon for dogs to roll and rub their necks and collars in the dirt--after all, the collar area is where it is itchy--this can result in a badly soiled collar.Also, dogs that swim in lakes or sloughs can get their collars soaked with dirty water, and if left to dry naturally that funky wet dog smell can permeate the collar as well. Even if your dog is a diva and avoids wallowing in muck, her body oils will eventually start to seep into her collar and cause it to look and smell pretty yucky. Dog collars come in different kinds of material, synthetic fabrics like nylon or canvas, or smooth or rough leather. Some have metal fasteners or chains, some have plastic parts. Depending on the kind of collar your dog uses, you will need to vary how you clean different materials. Whatever type of collar you have, regular collar cleaning is important for good hygiene.

Dog's Perspective

Collars are itchy, so rubbing them in the dirt seems like a pretty good idea to your dog. He also scratches his neck with his hind paw, and whatever that paw is currently covered in. A dirty collar can harbor bacteria that creates skin sores or worse, a poorly fitting, dirty collar that rubs can create hot spots and serious skin infections. Make sure your dog's collar is clean and fits well to avoid these problems, and if your dog has gone for a swim, remove your dog’s collar so that a wet collar does not chafe on your dog's neck and cause sores.

The Synthetic Collar Method

Effective
0 Votes
Shampoo
Dryer
Towel
Toothbrush
Step
1
Clean regularly
Whenever you bathe your dog, fill a bowl or basin with hot water and dog shampoo or with water, vinegar and baking soda.
Step
2
Soak and scrub
Immerse and soak the collar for 10-15 minutes. Rub the collar against itself, really scrubbing out any soiled areas. Add soap if necessary. You can use an old toothbrush or nail brush to scrub if available.
Step
3
Rinse well
Rinse well to remove all soap, which could cause skin irritation on your dog's neck.
Step
4
Apply lavender oil
Apply some lavender oil to the collar to make it smell nice. Lavender oil is also antibacterial and antifungal.
Step
5
Dry well
Completely dry the collar before putting back on your dog’s neck. Towel dry and hang to air dry. Ideally, a well-ventilated sunny area is best for drying a collar. A blow dryer can help speed up the process in a pinch.
Recommend grooming method?

The Leather Collar Method

Effective
0 Votes
Toothbrush
Step
1
Determine leather type
Check to see if your dog's leather collar is finished or unfinished. If you scratch it and it remains the same color, it is finished and will stand up to some cleaning with water.
Step
2
Wash finished leather
Dip a cloth or toothbrush in soapy water or vinegar and baking soda with water and gently scrub the finished leather collar to remove dirt.
Step
3
Use saddle soap
After cleaning a finished leather collar with water and soap or, if your dog's collar is rough or unfinished, use saddle soap available at a tack store. Wet a cloth and wring it out until almost dry. Rub some saddle soap on the cloth.
Step
4
Rub with saddle soap
Rub the collar with the saddle soap covered cloth to remove dirt.
Step
5
Dry completely
Wipe the collar with a clean dry cloth to remove moisture and excess saddle soap. You may apply lavender oil to the collar, which is antibacterial and smells nice. Let the collar air dry until completely dry.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Wear rubber gloves when working with vinegar to clean your dog's collar as it can dry and irritate skin.
  • Make sure your dog's collar is completely dry before putting it back on your dog. A wet collar will chafe and cause sores and presents a perfect breeding ground for bacteria trapped in the moist warm area between the wet collar and your dog's skin.
  • Be cautious using commercial leather cleaning products as they may irritate your dog's skin or even be poisonous to your dog.
  • Avoid submerging leather collars in water, which can ruin leather.

Conclusion

Your freshly groomed and bathed dog will still smell icky if his collar has not been cleaned. Clean collars as often as you clean your dog to remove dirt and body oils. Never leave a wet collar on your dog, as bacteria and fungal infections can result from organisms taking advantage of the warm moist area between your dog's collar and neck. Clean synthetic collars with soap and water, and leather collars carefully by wiping or scrubbing and using saddle soap. You can even apply lavender oil to your dog’s collar to make it smell better and combat microorganisms your dog's collar is harboring. Your dog's collar will look and smell a whole lot better with regular cleaning.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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