Jack Russell Terrior With Leash in Mouth Peeking Out the Front Door

Should You Wash Your Dog’s Leash and Collar Periodically?

We often worry about making sure our dog gets a bath periodically, but how often do you remember to wash your dog’s leash and collar? Maybe never? If so, you may not be alone!

Due to the durability of dog leashes and collars, dog owners may not realize that they really need to be washed now and then. Because leashes and collars are usually made from leather, strong nylon, or chain link, it may not seem that they can get that dirty. But believe me, they can get filthy and absorb a lot of unwanted germs and dirt. So, yes, you should definitely wash your dog’s leash and collar on a regular basis.

Why It is Important to Wash Your Dog’s Leash and Collar

First of all, think about it! Leashes get dragged all over the place. Not only does your dog rub against his leash, walk on it, and pee on it, he also drags it across the street, sidewalk, park, and anywhere else you and your dog walk. Think about how many times you pick up your dog’s poop (like a good owner should), throw it in the trash, and then continue to hold onto the leash.

The same goes for a dog’s collar or halter. How many times have you seen your dog rub his face on the grass in the park or worse, on some dead animal? Dog fur will naturally get dusty, oily, and dirty over time and this will rub off onto their collars as well.

Additionally, your own hands have grime and oil that will rub off onto the leash and collar as you are handling your dog.

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I was so freaked out about touching anything, that I often came home and wiped my hands and dog leashes with paper towels soaked in alcohol. And then I scubbed my hands. Who knew what was on that bench I had sat on or in the grass where I picked up my dog’s poop to toss in the garbage?

Charlotte and Georgia, black and brown mixed breed dogs in the grass with halter and leash--equipment needed before adoption.
At the park

How Often Should You Wash Your Dog’s Leash?

Under normal circumstances, washing a leash after every walk is probably not necessary. But if you cannot remember the last time you washed your dog’s leash and collar, it is probably time!

I wash my dog’s collars, leashes, and halters at least every time I bathe them every 3-6 weeks. See my post about how often to wash your dog. As a good rule of thumb, try to remember to wash them at least once a month. Of course, if you go on a muddy field trip or to the dog park, their leashes and collars may need a good cleaning. And, you may need to wash your dogs as well!

You can lighlty clean your dogs with a baby wipe if you think they have gotten into something unsavory. This will hold them until you can give them a proper bath.

Cleaning Methods

I often just throw their leashes and collars into the bathroom sink and wash with liquid handsoap. Then I wring them out, dry them with an old towel, and hang them up to dry. I have nylon collars and leashes, so they usually dry quickly within a few hours. You might also consider washing them with your dog’s shampoo, especially if you use special shampoo for allergies. That will help ensure that your dog is not exposed to anything harsh or allergenic.

Chains can probably be washed with the same types of soaps. But leather leashes and collars may not do well with regular soap. You may need to clean them with special leather soap and conditioner or saddle soap. Otherwise, the leather may not hold up as well. Leather also takes a lot longer to dry. For that reason, I prefer to use nylon leashes such as the PetSafe Nylon Leash which you can view at Amazon.

You may need to take an old scrub brush to them if they are particularly grimy. The textured nylon leashes can attract a lot of dirt. I keep an old tooth brush on hand for this purpose.

When to Wash a Leash or Throw it Out

Just because your dog’s leash or collar is really, really dirty, that may not necessarily be a good reason to throw them out. But if you have washed them thoroughly and they still seem to have a lot of embedded dirt, they may be getting near the end of their use. Also, if a leash or collar has any tears, frayed areas, or missing pieces, throw it out.

The worst thing would be to have a leash or collar break on a hike or walk. A lot of dogs will take advantage of this sudden freedom and run off! It is not worth the risk, so replace those old worn out leashes before your next walk. Don’t take chances.

In Summary

We wash or clean many of our own personal products that we handle each day such as our water bottles, phones, and glasses. So, we should clean our dog’s accessories as well. Leashes get handled and used frequently and then hung up and forgotten about. But a lot of dirt and germs could be lurking near our door or in our closet waiting for us to engage with them again!

Get into the habit of washing your dog’s leash and collar after every dog bath or at least once a month. That will help you stay on a regular schedule and you can cross that task off your list!

Keeping Fido clean is more than just giving him a bath. Everything he touches or wears will need to be washed as well at some point. It just comes with the territory!