How to Clean a Dog Collar

Keeping dog collars clean isn’t rocket science.

One of the most common questions, other than how to measure a dog’s neck for a collar, is how to clean a dog collar.  Over time it’s only natural that your dog’s collar might get a bit grubby, particularly if they’re mud divers or fox poo lovers!  Even if your dog is pretty sedentary, a build-up of oil and grime from their coat can lead to a grubby-looking collar.  In this blog post, we’ll give you some top tips on how to keep your dog’s collar looking as good as new.

Leather is a natural product, and many of us have visions of aged sofas, cracked and unsightly from overuse.   We’ve sourced beautifully soft Italian leathers for our collars that need minimal care and attention to keep them in tip-top condition.  The leather we use, in most cases, has a glossy sheen, making it especially easy to keep clean.  There are a couple of exceptions; our candyfloss leather, for example, has a more matt finish than the rest in our collection.

how to clean a dog collar

Top 5 Tips on How to Clean a Dog Collar

1. Use a gentle dog shampoo or washing-up liquid for leather collars

For a quick clean, you only need three things: warm water, a soft cloth and some dog shampoo or washing-up liquid.  Put a tiny amount of shampoo or washing-up liquid on your slightly damp cloth and gently rub the collar.  Once done, squeeze out the soap from your cloth and rinse it, then wipe the collar again.  Allow your collar to dry naturally out of direct sunlight.  Don’t put a damp collar back on your dog’s neck, which can cause irritation and bacterial growth.

2. Use a soft-bristled brush

If your dog wears a collar made from nylon webbing, you can use a soft-bristled brush – the type you might use to polish a pair of shoes.  As above, use a gentle shampoo, soap, and warm water and give the mucky areas a gentle scrub.  We wouldn’t advise using a brush on leather collars as you may mark the leather.

3. Use a washing machine

Many fabric collars and some nylon collars can be machine-washed, but always check with the collar manufacturer first.  If machine-washing, we’d recommend a low temperature and putting the collar in a pillowcase or laundry bag to prevent the hardware from damaging your machine’s drum.  Never place a leather collar in the washing machine.

4. Wipe out stubborn stains with baking powder

Baking powder isn’t just for cakes!  If your dog’s collar has questionable stains (we’re looking at you, fox poo), a solution made from a couple of teaspoons of baking powder and some water can be a lifesaver.  Apply the solution with a damp cloth for leather collars or a brush for synthetic collars, then wipe any residue off with a clean cloth.  The solution not only helps remove stains but can also remove any nasty smells.

5. Don’t forget to clean collar hardware

When cleaning your collar, paying attention to the buckle is essential, particularly if it has a clip-on style buckle.  Dirt and grime will build up inside over time, so it’s necessary to keep them free from muck.  Keep a spare toothbrush under your sink (but don’t clean your teeth with it!), and give the buckle a little scrub inside and out.  You’ll be amazed at the amount of dirt that comes out.

How Often Should I Clean My Dog’s Collar?

If you live by the sea and your dog is a water baby or mucky countryside walks are your thing, then you’ll probably need to clean your collar more often than if you walk in more urban areas.  Saltwater can play havoc with lots of collars, as the salt is corrosive, so it’s always wise to wipe a collar with fresh water after a dip to remove any salt residue.  We use stainless steel hardware on our collars, so you don’t need to worry about rust, but cleaning them is still a good idea.

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to clean your dog’s collar every month, but please be sure to use your judgement if it looks dirty, then wash it.

Should I wash my dog’s lead?

The simple answer is yes!  It’s not just a collar that gets dirty; think about how many people in your family walk your dog. Has it been thrown on the ground in the park, carried by your dog, shoved in a pocket or tied around your neck?  If you think about it and be honest, when was the last time you cleaned your dog’s lead?

Should I clean a dog lead? Petiquette Collars
Dirt, grime and all kinds of nasties will thrive on an unclean lead, so follow the same steps as for a collar to keep your leash clean now and again.

Should I moisturise a leather dog collar?

As a natural product, leather can dry out over time, forming cracks on the surface.  Oils from your dog’s coat will soak into a leather collar and moisturise the collar naturally, but sometimes a collar can benefit from a bit of extra TLC.

Good quality leather dog collars are quite often firm to the touch when new.  Our collars are no exception; they have a strong leather core wrapped in our colourful Italian leather.  The outer Italian leather is butter soft from the get-go, but the core can need some time to become luscious and ultra-soft.  Investing in some good leather balsam cream or unscented moisturiser can be worthwhile to speed up the process of a leather collar becoming super soft and supple.

Renapur leather balsam is perfect for nourishing leather; a pea-sized amount worked into the leather every so often is all that is needed.  Alternatively, if you have some unscented Vaseline Intensive Care moisturiser in your bathroom cabinet, I’ve found that it works wonders too.renapur leather balsam

Users of drop-on flea treatments, beware!

One EXTREMELY important thing is using a drop-on flea treatment such as Advocate.  These drop-on treatments are solvent based and do not agree with many materials, so always follow the instructions on the flea treatment box and remove your dog’s collar until the liquid is completely dry.

I’ve seen Advocate melt fabric collars onto the dog’s skin to the point where severe burns have been caused, and it will damage leather collars beyond repair.  So, permanently remove their collar for flea treatments for your dog’s safety!