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How to Wash Dog & Cat Collars

July 22, 2023

Dogs are the most common pets in the USA with nearly 50 million homes having one or more pups. Cats aren’t that far behind—they’re in second place, just behind the canines. According to one survey, there are currently more than 58 million pet cats living in the US.

As far as accessories go, there are numerous options, both for dogs and cats. For example, you can buy sweaters, jackets, and even pajamas for your pet.

But they’re not nearly as important as cat and dog collars. Not only do they look cute but they also provide your pet with much-needed identification, which is crucial if they accidentally run out of the house. That way, good samaritans who stumble upon your pet will be able to check the tag and know whose animal it is.

Types of Cat and Dog Collars

cat and dog collars

There are several types of collars for cats and dogs, each of which is designed for a different purpose. We’ll be going over some of the most popular options below.

Flat Collars: The standard collar for dogs and cats, which is designed to lay flat against their neck. Made from nylon, leather, or rubber, they come with a plastic snap closure or buckle and have a ring at the front for a leash and identification tags. Available in various colors and designs.

Martingale Collars: Also known as greyhound collars, these collars are designed so that your pet can’t slip out of their collar while walking on a leash. If they tug, the collar will tighten slightly around their neck, though not to the point of causing discomfort. This makes them great for dogs with narrow heads such as greyhounds.

Head Collars: These collars or halters are a little different in that they go around the pet’s muzzle. This allows the owner to have more control of their head, which allows them to redirect the animal if unwanted behaviors happen. They also discourage pulling.

Flea Collars: Flea collars are designed to kill or repel fleas. Some work by releasing a flea-eradicating chemical throughout the animal’s skin while others emit a repellent gas over their body.

Bell Collars: A type of cat collar that comes with a small bell at the front. They are typically used to alert wildlife that a cat is in the area. That way, the cat is less likely to injure or kill wildlife that may be infected with diseases.

How to Wash Cat and Dog Collars

Most pet collars can be machine washed or hand-washed, depending on what material they’re made of. Collars made from polyester or nylon are typically safe to wash in the machine. We always recommend referring to the care tag found on the collar to determine if it’s safe for the washer.

For leather collars, your best bet is washing them by hand – not in the washing machine.

Putting Your Cat and Dog Collars In the Washing Machine

Close all the straps and clasps; that’ll keep the collars from getting snagged during the wash cycle. The next step is to put them in a mesh laundry bag. That’ll do two things- that’ll prevent them from banging around inside the machine, which can potentially damage the collar, and from snagging on your other items.

machine washing dog collar

Tip: Throw in a few towels if you’re washing the collars by themselves. That’ll help balance the load so they won’t be tossed around as much.

Place the laundry bags inside the washing machine and add a single scoop of ACTIVE detergent. If it’s been a while since you last washed the collars and there’s an odor, you can also add 1/2 a cup of standard vinegar to assist in neutralizing the odors. Baking soda is another great alternative.

Once all collars have been added to the machine, run a delicate cycle on cold water. And avoid using the spin cycle if you can- the spinning action can damage the metal buckles.

Take the collars out of the washer once washing is finished and let them air dry. We do not recommend putting collars in the dryer; the heat can cause the material to shrink. Not to mention it can also cause damage to the collar.

Hand-Washing Your Cat and Dog Dollars with Detergent

Hand-washing is great in that it’s less likely to damage the collar. It’s also quick and easy- you just need a a sink (or large bucket), water, and detergent.

Fill the sink half-way with water that’s warm temperature. Measure a bit of ACTIVE detergent powder and add it in, agitating the water with your hands to help it dissolve.

Lay the collar inside the sink so that the material is completely immersed in the detergent solution. Give it a good rub with your hands to loosen any dirt and let it sit in the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes. That will let the detergent penetrate into the fibers and dissolve the gunk.

Tip: If there are stains, you can scrub them gently with a soft-bristled brush (e.g. old toothbrush).

Turn on the tap and rinse the collar under running water after soaking. Continue for a couple of minutes, until all of the soapy residue is washed off. Allow the collar to air dry afterward. Do not tumble dry.

Washing Instructions for Leather Dog and Cat Collars

Leather collars are a little trickier since they can’t be washed in water (wetting leather will cause it to weaken over time)

What you want to do instead is wipe the surface with a damp cloth. If necessary, you can also add a bit of mild hand soap to the area. Just remember to remove all of the residue using a clean cloth. Once you’re done cleaning the collar, use a dry cloth to buff the leather and dry the surface.

To dry the collar, hang it up and let it air dry. Do not leave it in direct sunlight or near a heat source as it can cause the leather to crack or dry out.

Once the leather collar is dry, it’s best to apply a layer of leather conditioner to the material- that’ll help keep it in tip-top shape.

Tips for Keeping Your Cat and Dog Collars Clean

  • Wipe down the collar with a wet cloth after each walk to prevent dirt from being embedded in the fabric
  • Try to get rid of any mud or dirt before it has a chance to set in
  • You can use a pet-friendly deodorizing spray to keep the collars fresh in-between cleanings
  • Make sure the collar is completely dry before putting it back on your pet, otherwise it can lead to mold or mildew
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