How to Clean a Dog Collar That Smells?

Pet Care


September 21, 2022

Dogs can make great pets for a lot of reasons. But they are far from perfect, as is any pet that you might get. And one of the reasons for that is the smells. One smell, in particular the dirty collar, can be downright gross.

Knowing more about how to clean that dog collar smell, particularly of different materials, and why it happens in the first place can be helpful. This is the guide to help you keep that collar clean and fresh for longer.

Why Do Dogs Smell Their Collars?

You may notice that when you take your dog’s collar off for a bath, they will sniff it and even lick the collar. But why do they do this? What is it about their collar that makes it so intriguing to your furry friend?

The most prominent reason is that they are simply familiar with the scent or have some attachment to the collar. Before you worry about how to clean that dog collar smell, just know that the scent is not bad to everyone. Your dog just wants to smell something that is familiar to it, especially when it is going through a slight change such as having the collar taken off.

There is also the chance that dogs may lick the collar. This can be due to any number of reasons. They might just like the flavor or feel of the collar, enticing them to give it a few licks. It could also be because they are simply bored and the kind of dog that likes to lick from time to time. It can depend on the breed of dog, as well as the temperament that your dog has.

Cleaning Dog Collars with Baking Soda

Not every pet owner is crazy about the idea of using soap or shampoo because there can be chemicals within that make your dog itch or can otherwise cause irritation to their skin. The good news is that there is an alternative right there within most homes.

Baking soda can be a great way to clean your dog’s collar without having to use those shampoos or soaps. All you have to do is add a couple of teaspoons of baking soda into some warm water. Let the baking soda dissolve, then gently pour the mixture over top of your dog’s collar.

Give it roughly 15 minutes or so before you start to clean. Take a bristle brush and gently scrub your dog’s collar. This should be a highly effective way of getting out stains as well as the smell that can come with a dog collar that has been worn for a while. When finished, you can air dry the collar before returning it to your pooch.

How to Clean a Fabric Dog Collar?

Fabric dog collars can be a bit more sensitive than some of the other materials that you might find. Because of this, you want to take a little extra care to ensure that you don’t do damage to the fabric during the cleaning process.

It isn’t advisable to put a fabric dog collar into the washing machine because it could rip from the force. Instead, use a gentle shampoo or the aforementioned baking soda to hand-wash instead. You can either use your fingers or a gentle bristle brush to get into the fabric, bringing out the smell and any other potential irritants that may be lying within.

Do not put the fabric collar in the dryer, either. There is the chance that it could shrink, leaving it fitting improperly and requiring you to buy a new one. This kind of collar requires the most attention and care.

How to Clean a Leather Dog Collar?

Leather is one of the more sensitive materials out there. It can get scratched or even fall apart, especially when thrown into the washing machine. If you have the time, wash any leather collars by hand to be safe.

Use a little bit of dog shampoo, allowing the collar to soak for about 10–15 minutes. This is important because it will prevent skin irritation. From there, gently rub to get rid of any built-on dirt. When you are happy with the level of cleanliness, hang it up so that it can dry. If you need to dry it faster, pat it down with paper towels first to remove any of the excess moisture that may be trapped within.

This is a great way to wash a leather collar because rubbing by hand can get the dirt out, and you can avoid leaving any kind of irritants behind that may make the collar uncomfortable for your pooch to deal with going forward.

How to Clean a Nylon Dog Collar?

Nylon is one of the more common materials used for dog collars. Nylon collars are relatively inexpensive and come in any number of colors. They are also one of the most washing machine-friendly options for dog collars out there.

That said, make sure that you take the necessary steps to keep the collar protected. Wash it on a gentle cycle, and if you have one available, place it into a delicates or garment bag. When in doubt, cleaning any dog collar material by hand is recommended.

You can wash a nylon collar in the sink using a mild dish soap or detergent. Just make sure that after you have completed the wash, you lay it out as flat as possible to ensure that it dries evenly and doesn’t have pockets of moisture.

How to Wash a Dog Leash in the Washing Machine?

It is important to know that not all materials do well in the washing machine. Don’t just assume that you can throw any old dog leash or collar into the washing machine and have it turn out well. Some materials do better than others.

If you simply do not have the time to wash your dog’s collar by hand, then the most effective path is to toss it into the washing machine on a gentle cycle and with cold water. If you have a garment bag available, that can help prevent any damage that can come from being tossed around in the washing machine.

It can also depend on the quality of collar. Some are cheaply made and will fall apart when put through the washing machine. But if you have purchased a more premium collar, there is a good chance that it will be able to hold up through the washing machine cycle.


Depending on what kind of material the collar is made of, you can find any number of methods for keeping it clean. It can also help your pooch to smell its best and to minimize that “dirty dog” smell that can become so pungent.

Don’t let that smell persist for any longer than necessary. Make sure that you have the knowledge and tools necessary to keep your dog and its collar looking and smelling their best.