How To Wash A Dog Collar

It’s easy to forget your dog’s collar and then one day you notice – it’s filthy!

Thankfully, cleaning it properly before it can cause an abrasion or infection is a breeze, and today I’m going to tell you how it’s done!

Here’s a quick preview of the steps that you’ll need to clean a nylon, polyester, or leather collar:

  1. Mix up a proper cleaning solution
  2. Give it an aggressive scrubbing with an old toothbrush
  3. Rinse it thoroughly
  4. Give it a good air-dry

In the remainder of this article, I’m going to elaborate on each step, and give you a tip or two along the way that I think you’ll find quite handy!

What You’re Going to Need

  • Small, plastic bowl
  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • An old or new, unused toothbrush
  • Clean, wet washcloth
  • Saddle soap (optional for leather collars)
  • Vegetable or Olive oil (optional for leather collars)

Step 1

Fill your bowl up 2/3 of the way with water and stir in one teaspoon of baking soda, mixing it well. It should be fully dissolved and invisible to the naked eye.

This solution will allow you to clean polyester, nylon, or leather collars and it’s safe and effective for all of these types.


While the baking soda and water is safe for leather, if you are worried then you can always use saddle soap instead and simply follow the cleaning instructions on the product package.

This boils down to following the same steps we’ve listed today, except you won’t rinse it under the tap – just wipe the reside away with an old, absorbent towel.

You can also use Vegetable or Olive oil after following the baking-soda steps to help condition a leather collar in a pinch.

Alternately, you can use a mild, lavender-scented dishwashing liquid if the collar has a bad smell, and the lavender will have the added bonus of repelling fleas that get too close to the scent.

Step 2

Remove your dog’s collar and hold it over the sink, dip the toothbrush into your cleaning solution, and start scrubbing.

Be careful around fasteners and wipe away the residue with the washcloth as you go, until the collar is thoroughly cleaned.

Step 3

Turn your sink tap so that the water is coming out at a medium to high level and give the collar a thorough rinse to remove the soapy residue and to minimize the amount of soap still in the collar.

Step 4

Hang the collar somewhere in or even outside of the house, provided that it is in an area that will not receive direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can easily fade your dog’s collar, so you want to be very careful about this.

 If you are working with a leather collar, you can optionally give it a quick rub with a small amount of saddle soap, olive, or even vegetable oil to help condition it if you like, as this will help to maintain the leather.


If you don’t have one already, it’s a good idea to invest in a second, spare collar, that you can hang up for the times when you are cleaning the collar or even take with you on walks, in case of accidental breakage.

This is especially useful if your dog is not yet mature and there is a risk of them escaping while you are cleaning the collar.

With a spare, if your dog does make a ‘run for it’, they’ll still be wearing their collar and tags so you’ll have a better chance of retrieving them quickly and getting them home safely.

Final Thoughts

So, there you go! Cleaning your dog’s collar is easy-peasy and you can do it with simple items that you probably have in the house already.

For best results, you should do this every 2 weeks, and this will help to keep bacteria build-up at a minimum and far away from your furry best friend!