How to Wash a Dog Collar

Save the sparkly collars for special occasions.

Save the sparkly collars for special occasions.

Studded, synthetic, cloth or metal, no matter what it’s made of, your dog’s collar traps dirt and grime. Regularly cleaning your pooch’s collar will prevent irritation and foul odors. Because construction and material varies widely between dog collars, using the factory-issued directions for washing is essential for protecting its strength and appearance.

Place your dog’s collar flat on the porch or stairs and vigorously brush both sides to loosen the dirt and dust trapped inside the fibers. This is particularly effective for Nylon or synthetic materials, but unnecessary for metal or leather collars.

Wet the collar with cool water until both sides are soaking wet. Some manufacturers recommend cold water, while others allow hot or warm water. Massage the material with your fingers to make sure the water goes all the way through the fibers. Dog collars are made of thick, reinforced material, which means they take longer to saturate than a regular article of clothing. If the collar is made of leather, use a damp paper towel to wipe down the outside, instead of getting it wet.

Place the collar flat in the sink and gently massage a dime-sized amount of mild detergent over the collar in circular motions. Repeat on the opposite side. Avoid swiping the sponge forcefully over the collar. Doing so will wear down the material and cause premature fraying, even on durable Nylon collars.

Rinse the collar thoroughly with cool water and pat it dry with a clean paper towel. Wait until the material is completely dry before placing it around your dog’s neck. Wet material sitting close your pup’s skin creates a breeding ground for fungus, yeast and bacteria.

Items you will need

  • Stiff bristle brush
  • Mild detergent
  • Sponge
  • Paper towels


  • Avoid saturating any collar that contains decorative rhinestones, glitter or any hand-sewn embellishments.


  • Always read the directions issued specifically for washing your dog’s brand of collar.
  • Unless the instructions say otherwise, never toss your dog’s collar in the washing machine or dryer.
  • Never get a leather collar wet. A damp, clean paper is all you need to restore the shine.

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About the Author

Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.

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