How To Wash A Cat Collar

Updated November 29, 2022
How To Wash A Cat Collar

Every feline owner should know how to wash a cat collar because this essential accessory collects skin oils and debris.

Washing the cat collar is necessary to maintain proper hygiene and prevent the development of skin conditions.

How to wash a collar depends on its type and material. Many collars are washing machine-friendly, but it’s always best to wash the collar by hand to avoid damaging it.

The choice of detergent or soap is crucial. Cats are sensitive and often have allergic reactions to harsh chemicals, so you cannot use your regular detergent. It should be fragrance-free and safe for pets.

You should also know how to remove stains from a cat’s collar because some organic matters are very persistent.

How to Wash Nylon Cat Collar

Many cat collars are made from nylon because it’s extremely durable and lightweight. But even the toughest nylon items should be washed by hand to avoid damaging the material.

Use the right detergent. Most fabric detergents are intended for washing cotton, wool, and other natural fabrics and aren’t as effective for synthetic fabrics like nylon. They might not remove stains or leave a distinct smell.

Ideally, use a detergent made for synthetics and delicate fabrics. Ensure that the detergent is pet-friendly. If you cannot find one specifically for pets, use one for babies, without harsh chemicals and aroma.

Don’t use fragrant detergents for your cat’s collar because they might irritate the skin. Plus, some cats can’t stand popular fragrances like pine, citrus, lavender, and sea breeze.

If your cat doesn’t like the collar’s smell, it might be hesitant to wear it. Remember that the feline sense of smell is significantly stronger than ours, so it’s best to choose detergents without scent.

Remove the buckle, bell, and other metallic or plastic elements before washing the collar if possible. If not, carefully wipe them afterward.

Always use cold water for washing nylon cat collars because it’s gentler on the material. Hot water may cause a nylon collar to shrink or fade. Plus, cold water is energy-efficient and better for your hand skin.

Pour some cold water into a basin and add detergent according to the instructions on the label. Then, put the collar in the water and let it soak for 15 minutes.

Gently rub the collar to eliminate odor and stains, then rinse it under cold water. Rinse the collar thoroughly to ensure no detergent is left because it can irritate your cat’s skin or cause an allergic reaction.

Take care when drying the collar. Always air-dry nylon collars because a dryer can cause the material to shrink, especially at high temperatures.

Never use chlorine bleach for your pet’s belongings, particularly for a nylon collar. Note that nylon tends to collect static, so you can apply an antistatic spray on it after the wash.

How to Wash Fabric Cat Collar

How to wash a fabric cat collar ultimately depends on the fabric type. If the collar is from synthetic material, use detergent for synthetic fabrics, and if it’s from a natural material, use an appropriate detergent.

If the collar is very dirty, pour lukewarm water into a basin and add some detergent, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Let the collar soak for some time, then rub it gently with your fingers.

If the collar only needs a refresh, there’s no need to soak it in detergent. You can use regular laundry soap instead. Start by wetting the collar with warm water.

It doesn’t have to be cold unless the fabric is sensitive, which is rare for cat collars since they must be durable, but it shouldn’t be hot to avoid shrinkage and fading.

Rub the soap against the fabric, then rub the fabric with your fingers. Rinse the soap or detergent thoroughly, ensuring the water is clear.

You might need to rinse the collar twice to prevent an allergic reaction or skin irritation in your pet. It’s best to let the collar air dry because the dryer makes synthetics collect static.

Don’t forget to carefully wipe all plastic or metal details such as bells and buckles. If the buckle or other metallic elements are soiled, use a mild shampoo or soap but rinse it thoroughly.

How to Wash a Leather Cat Collar

Washing a leather cat collar may seem trickier than a fabric collar. You cannot put it in a washing machine or soak it in water.

However, cleaning a leather collar is very straightforward. Instead of soaking it in water, use a damp cloth to wipe off debris, mud, and other impurities from the surface.

If the stains are persistent, you can use a small amount of dishwashing liquid or mild soap. Be careful when using any chemical agent because it can damage the leather. You can also use regular white vinegar diluted with water.

After wiping the collar with a damp cloth, wipe it with a dry cloth. Alternatively, you can use a special leather-cleaning spray or gel, like the one you use for leather shoes.

After cleaning, consider applying leather treatment to prolong the lifespan of your cat’s collar. If your cat’s collar looks dry and cracks because of incorrect cleaning, apply leather conditioner.

Can You Clean a Flea Collar?

Usually, there’s no need to clean cat flea collars because their lifespan is limited. Once the medicine ends, the collar becomes useless and needs to be replaced.

However, sometimes, cats might get the flea collar dirty, for instance, by jumping in mud or rolling in soil. In that case, you may wonder whether you can wet a cat flea collar.

The answer depends on the collar’s brand. Many modern flea collars are water-resistant. The medicine is contained in the collar’s matrix and isn’t released into water, so you can safely clean the collar.

However, some cheap collars might not be water-friendly. The best thing to do is check the product packaging instructions.

If you need to clean a cat flea collar, wipe it with a damp cloth instead of soaking it in detergent. Use mild cat shampoo or soap, but don’t use harsh chemicals.

How Often to Wash Cat Collar?

How often to wash a cat’s collar depends on the cat’s lifestyle and the collar’s material. If your cat walks outdoors daily, you should wash the collar every other week because it will get dirty quickly.

Cats walking outdoors collect dirt, debris, and smells of other animals. Frequent collar washing will keep it fresh and prevent diseases caused by a lack of hygiene.

If your cat spends most of its time indoors, the collar won’t get as dirty, and you can wash it once a month or even less frequently.

Leather collars don’t require as frequent washing because they don’t absorb odors and collect debris as much as nylon or fabric ones.

Some owners never wash cat collars, but this is risky. Over time, the collar inevitably collects skin oils, hair, dirt, and bacteria, which can cause skin irritation and foul odor. Even indoor cats must have their collars washed.

How to Get Rid of Stains

Sometimes, the cat collar might be dirty with vomit, pee, grass, and other persistent stains. In that case, you need to pre-treat the collar before washing it because detergent might not be strong enough to deal with the stains.

The best way to get rid of cat pee stains is to use an enzymatic cleaner which you can find in most pet stores. It effectively eliminates odor and also works against vomit or poo stains.

Apply the enzymatic cleaner onto the stain and let it soak for 15 minutes. Then, blot the affected area with tissue and wash the collar as usual.

Alternatively, you can dilute white vinegar with water and let the solution sit on the stain for 20-30 minutes. Then, scrub it with a brush and rinse it in cool water.

Vinegar also works against grass stains, which are common among cats walking outdoors. Never scrub grass stains before applying a cleaning solution, or they might set and become permanent.

Some sources recommend using bleach, which is effective for white fabrics. But bleach is too harsh for pets and can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction.

White vinegar is also effective at dealing with clay and mud stains. The general instructions are no different – apply it to the stain, let it sit, and rinse it. Then, wash the collar like usual.

Can You Wash the Collar in a Washing Machine?

You can wash a cat collar in a washing machine, depending on its material. Many fabrics are safe for washing machines, but nylon and leather are best to wash by hand to avoid damaging the collar.

If you wash the collar in a machine, use a setting for delicate materials at a low temperature. Put the collar in a mesh washer bag to prevent metallic or plastic elements from getting caught.

Alternatively, remove the bell and buckle off the collar to prevent damaging them in the washing machine and the collar getting caught.