How to Wash Stinky Dog Collars

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It’s that time of year again to switch from fall collars to Christmas collars.

Yes, I am that mom who has a variety of collars for different seasons and a couple of sports teams.

And yes, I am well aware that the dogs don’t care if they are wearing cute collars or nothing at all.

But there are too many cute collars out there, and I just can’t help myself!

After choosing their new collars, it was time to wash the ones they were wearing and put them away for the winter.

I usually throw my dog’s collars in the washing machine in a delicates garment bag, then lay them flat to dry.

I’ve learned the hard way that the washing machine method only works for some collars. More delicate collars don’t fare so well in the washing machine, and leather collars obviously need an alternative plan.

Thankfully, there are several different cleaning options available, anything from laundry detergent to baking soda.

Below I’ve covered a variety of cleaning products and methods to help keep your pup’s collar clean and smelling good.

How Often Should You Wash Your Dog’s Collar?When should I wash my dogs collar mud dirt stinky

Dog collars should be washed regularly.

I always wash the dogs’ collars when I change them out or when the dogs are getting bathed.

However, even if you wash the collars frequently sometimes, pups make bad decisions and decide to roll into something nasty, which requires a bit more work to get them clean.

What Can I Use to Wash My Dog’s Collar?

The below options are for fabric or synthetic collars.

Cleaning options for leather and metal collars are listed further below.

Dog Shampoo

How to wash dog collar with pet wash shampoo instructionsThe benefit of using dog shampoo to wash your dog’s collar is that it won’t cause skin irritations[1].

Plus, if you happen to be bathing your dog at home, adding the collar to the tub is an easy and fast way to freshen it up.

How to Use

Either drop it in the tub or use about a ΒΌ Tbsp of shampoo in a bowl of warm water.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is known to help neutralize nasty smells.

It is used for deodorizing pet areas such as dog beds and carpet.

How to Use

Baking soda can be used in one of three ways when cleaning a fabric or synthetic dog collar.

  • Baking soda can be used the same as dog shampoo, with two teaspoons mixed with hot water.
  • If you are washing dog beds or blankets, you can place the collar in a delicates bag, then drop it in the washing machine with fragrance and dye-free laundry detergent. For a full load, you can add 1 cup of baking soda; this will help deodorize the whole load.
  • Mixing 2 tsp baking soda with 2-3 tsp apple cider vinegar in a bowl of warm water will also eliminate any bad smells and dirt[2].

Dawn dish soap for washing stinky smelly dog collarsDish Soap

The dish soap should be mild, such as Dawn dish soap.

The one drawback of using dish soap is that some dogs with sensitive skin can react to the soap.

However, it might be good to have some on hand because you can use Dawn against fleas, too!

How to Use

Dish detergent can be used in the same fashion as dog shampoo.


Bleach should never be used on your dog’s collar.

Bleach carries a high risk of causing skin irritation, so it should always be avoided.

How to Use


Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent can be used if it’s free from fragrances, bleach, and dyes; this will help prevent skin irritation.

How to Use

Laundry detergent can be used in the same fashion as the dog shampoo, or you can place the collar in a laundry bag and wash on a gentle cycle, then just air dry.Can you wash dog collars in apple cider vinegar how to

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been used to clean a variety of things, including dog collars.

ACV helps to remove dirt and eliminate bad smells.

However, ACV should not be used if your dog has sensitive skin.

How to Use

Mix Apple cider vinegar with warm water in a bowl.

When done washing the collar, it is essential to thoroughly rinse the collar, to avoid skin issues.

How to Clean Cloth & Nylon/Synthetic Dog Collars

Materials Needed

  • Cleaning solution – Laundry detergent, dish soap, apple cider vinegar, or baking soda
  • Deep bowl or bucket large enough to fully submerge the collarHow to wash cotton nylon synthetic dog collars instructions
  • Warm water
  • Soft bristle brush


  1. In a bowl large and deep enough to submerge the collar, fill with water and cleaning solution.
  2. Place the collar in the bowl, making sure the water and soap solution fully cover it. Allow the collar to soak for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Rub the collar against itself or gently use a toothbrush to remove any additional debris or stains. Be careful to give special attention to any nooks or crevices, especially around the buckle area.
  4. Thoroughly rinse the soap from the collar and let air dry. Do not put a wet collar back on your dog as it can lead to hot spots.

How to Clean Leather Dog Collars

You can use similar cleaning products for leather dog collars that you can use for synthetic collars.

Materials Needed

  • Cleaning Product – Gentle dish soap, apple cider vinegar, olive oil or leather conditioner
  • Small Bowl
  • Warm waterCleaning leather dog collar tips without drying out the leather
  • Soft cloth for cleaning
  • Soft cloth for drying
  • Soft cloth for olive oil or leather conditioner


  1. Using your preferred cleaning product add a small amount to a bowl then fill with warm water.
  2. Gently wipe down collar, do not saturate the collar.
  3. After thoroughly cleaning the collar with cleaning solution, rinse the cloth out, and use plain water to rinse the cleaning product from the collar.
  4. Fully dry the collar with a clean, dry cloth.
  5. Using a clean cloth dab on a small amount of olive oil or conditioner to condition the collar.

How to Clean Metal Dog Collars

Materials Needed

  • Dog shampoo or gentle dish soap
  • Bowl large enough to submerge collarTips tricks to wash metal dog collar without rusting steel
  • Warm water
  • Cloth
  • Towel for drying


  1. Add a small amount of soap or shampoo to the bowl.
  2. Fill bowl with warm water, leaving enough room to add the collar.
  3. Submerge collar in warm water for 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the collar from water and use a cloth to wipe down and remove any dirt or debris.
  5. Thoroughly rinse the collar with clean water.
  6. Towel dry or allow to air dry.

ConclusionWhy clean dog collar keeps puppy smelling fresh pleasant hugs snuggles

Your dog can’t help but become stinky from time to time, and their collars can definitely get a funky smell.

Imagine if you wore the same thing day after day and never washed it. Ick!

And as much as we all love those hugs and snuggles, nothing will end them faster than a bad smell.

Thankfully, cleaning your dog’s collar is one of the easier chores that come with being a dog parent.

So, let’s keep the snuggles and hugs coming from our fresh smelling dogs.


Can You Wash Dog Collars in a Washing Machine?


You can use a fragrance-free detergent and a laundry bag.

But do not put the collar in the dryer. Instead, allow it to air dry.

How Do You Get Skunk Smell Out of a Dog Collar?

How to Wash Stinky Dog Collars
You can also use a product like this to get stubborn skunk odors out

Using gloves, take off your pup’s stinky collar and submerge it in a solution of 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon pet-safe detergent[3].

Don’t be surprised if you have to repeat the process a couple of times.

Is it Safe to Bleach Dog Collars?

It is best to stay away from bleach and other harsh chemicals.

Instead of bleach, try using a baking soda and apple vinegar solution.



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