How To Clean A Stinky Dog Collar in 8 Simple Steps

Shellie Sutera
by Shellie Sutera
What’s that smell? It’s not dog breath – it’s coming from his collar! We often forget that collars need to be washed to help keep our pooches smelling fresh.

Wow! That stinks! How many times has this been your reaction when you smell a strong odor coming from your dog’s collar? This is a common situation that many dog owners often solve by purchasing a new collar. Save your money! The good news is you can easily clean his collar and have it smelling fresh quickly. Whether it’s an already made product or a homemade recipe, you can have that collar going from staaaannnky to stupendous in no time.

Why Does My Dog’s Collar Stink?

Let’s just face it. Our dogs like being dirty. And that means their collars get dirty too. Obviously–if you know your dog’s been sprayed by a skunk or been rolling around in the local deer poo–you have a pretty good idea of why his neck makes you want to gag.

But the reality is that collars are often the least-considered aspect of keeping our dogs groomed and we forget that dirt, mold, bacteria, parasites and a whole host of other ickies like to hang out in our dogs’ collars. Many collars have fibers that hold on to those germies, and then when you mixe that with your dog’s body oils, dirt on fir and even sweat and skin smell? A collar can reek. And it really makes no difference what the collar material is, honestly. Leather, polyester, nylon…they all get dirty and they all need to be cleaned properly (and regularly) to help ward off infection as well as stinky dog smell.

How To Clean Synthetic Dog Collars

Doing this is probably easier than you may have thought. Every time you clean or bathe your dog, do so for his collar. If you bathe or groom at home, you can use that same dog shampoo you’re using on Fido on most synthetic collars. If there are some stains, you can use an old tooth-brush or soft-bristled brush to get into the nooks and crannies of the collar. Be sure to use hot water for best bacterial cleaning and then hang by the buckle until it’s totally dry. You don’t necessarily want to put it back on your dog until it is (prevents yeast issues), so be sure you have a backup collar for your dog while you’re cleaning it. You don’t want him to run off with no ID!

Related: 4 DIY Homemade Cleaners That Are Safe For Dogs

What To Do If Your Dog’s Collar Is Badly Stained?

Some pet parents like to use vinegar and baking soda on really stained collars. It’s a safe, non-toxic way to get stains (and smells) out, and you can make a solution of this and let a synthetic collar soak (or be brushed) to get the collar clean. You’ll want to rinse with hot water again, and let it fully dry by hanging. This is only for synthetic or cloth collars; leather collars need different care.

How To Clean A Leather Dog Collar

If your dog’s leather collar just needs some spot cleaning, you can still use a vinegar/baking soda mix and a toothbrush to gently spot clean where it’s needed. You’ll want to rinse gently (but not submerge for extended time) and you’ll want to completely dry it out when you’re done. Leather conditioner after is always a wise move and way to preserve the collar.

If your dog’s leather collar needs more cleaning than just spot cleaning, you can buy a leather cleaner to do the job. If in a pinche because poochy got into something raunchy and rolled everywhere, you can use a gentle dog soap or mild cleaner and warm water, but you’ll want to be sure to let it dry fully and condition after if you can so you preserve the integrity of the leather.

Easy DIY Recipe For Cleaning Dog Collars

If you’re looking for an all-purpose solution for regular collar cleaning, this little diddy takes about 10-15 minutes from start to finish and keeps your dog’s collar clean and stink-free!

Items Needed

  • Bowl or bucket
  • Rubber gloves
  • Baking soda
  • Toothbrush or similar brush
  • Lavender oil
  • Towel

Step 1: Fill the bowl or bucket with warm water and add 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Stir until the baking soda has been melted by the water.

Step 2: Place the dog collar in the water and let it soak for 10 minutes.

Related: DIY Cleaning Solutions For Stinky Pet Stains

Step 3: Scrub the collar with a toothbrush or similar type of brush until clean. Make sure you get in all of the crevices of the collar. Repeat step 1, 2 and 3 until the collar is clean and odor has lessened considerably.

Step 4: Clean and rinse the bowl or bucket thoroughly and refill the bucket with fresh water, adding 2 drops of lavender oil. You can also use peppermint oil or any other essential oil that you may prefer.

Step 5: Soak the collar in the aromatic mixture until the bad odor has disappeared.

Step 6: Rinse the collar off by running it under the faucet.

Step 7: Pat the collar dry and place it on a flat surface to dry.

Step 8: Place the fresh-smelling collar on your dog.

Dog collars absorb oils from the skin as well as attracts dirt and grime. Depending on your dog’s activity level outdoors, you may need to clean his collar on a regular basis to keep it clean. Dog’s that enjoy the outdoors, go swimming, roll around in the mud and participate in high-level activities will require frequent cleaning. Keep in mind indoor dogs will also need a good cleaning once you detect the first scent of odor.

The above cleaning method is suitable for fabric, nylon and leather collars. You can also add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to the baking soda and water mixture if you find that the collar has deep stains. At times, a leather collar may require additional cleaning. If you observe staining or discoloration in a leather collar you will want to use saddle soap to remove deep, set-in stains.

Notes For Before You Get Started

Always use rubber gloves to protect your hands and arms while cleaning the collar. Avoid submerging your hands in the baking soda and water mixture. It can cause dryness and irritation to those who are sensitive to baking soda. As an alternative you can replace the baking soda with apple cider vinegar.

Keeping your dog’s collar clean on a regular basis will prevent odor and keep the collar in good condition, which keeps your dog smelling sweet and saves you money. It will also keep the skin that is nearest to the collar healthy, since dirt buildup can develop into bacteria have a negative impact on the skin. Repeat the steps as much as needed during each cleaning session to reveal a clean, fresh scented dog collar.

Shellie Sutera
Shellie Sutera

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