How to Clean a Dog Crate? Easy Step-By-Step Guide

Last Updated on July, 2024

Having a furry friend is all fun and games until you have to do all the extra cleaning around the house. Dogs shower their owners with love and attention. Unclean and unsanitized home is the least they deserve.

Not cleaning your dog’s crate will make your happy pill unhealthy. Also, doing it incorrectly will do him more harm than good.


Your dogs will develop lethal conditions if you use the wrong supplies. Studies have shown that many cleansers have ingredients that are not pet-safe. These ingredients can cause diseases like cancer, anemia, irritation, and skin allergies. 

Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered. As a dog parent, I will only recommend the best procedures and supplies out there. So, without further ado, let’s get down to business.

How to Clean a Dog Crate in 3 Easy Steps?

Wash the Crate: Remove all items, vacuum for debris, and wash with a mixture of water, gentle dish soap, and Chlorhexidine.

Disinfect: After washing, thoroughly disinfect the crate with a dog-safe disinfectant like Chlorhexidine.

Dry and Deodorize: Let the crate air dry completely and use a pet-safe deodorizer or baking soda to remove odors.

Cleaning Supplies You Need

A dog sits next to a blue bucket with cleaning supplies

When it comes to cleaning supplies, THE LESS IS MORE. You don’t need fancy cleansers with a lot of additives in it. Go for a very gentle dishwashing liquid with a drying agent.

The faster it dries, the less likely it is to rust. Consider washing your dog’s bedding with a mild detergent and rinse with cold water.

You also want to disinfect your dog’s crate after you clean it. What I prefer for that is Chlorhexidine. This disinfectant is vet-recommended.

It is known for reducing seasonal allergies, shedding, and itchiness in dogs. It’s highly recommended for skin and coat health.

Let’s just enlist the supplies you need. The two most important ones are mentioned above; the others are: 

  • Scrub brush or towel
  • Spray bottle
  • Warm or cold water 
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Chlorhexidine

Make a solution of warm water, dishwashing liquid, and Chlorhexidine. Put the solution in a spray bottle and shake well.

You can also make this solution in a big bowl or bucket, especially if you are okay with water dripping down your hand and things getting messy while you clean. Ditch the hard labor and use a spray bottle to make cleaning easier. 

How to Clean a Dog Crate? Step-By-Step 

a dog laying inside the lucky dog crate

You may have the best products to clean your dog crate, but they won’t deliver the best results if you’re not doing it the right way.

Poorly cleaned and unsanitized dog crates will make your doggo unhealthy and unhappy. Cleaning also depends on the different types of crates people use.

Commonly used types are: 

Some steps are common for all types. I’ll break the process into small steps that will be easier for you to follow. 

Get the Crate Ready

Dog crates are loaded with all kinds of toys, pet bedding, blankets, water bowls, and towels. Remove everything before you begin washing dog crates.

You can solve the smelly house dilemma by machine-washing your pet’s bedding, blankets, and soft toys. Also, clean the food or water bowl and plastic toys with soapy water. 

REMEMBER TO SANITIZE everything once you’re done washing them. 

Vacuum Always!

Dogs shed hair the most on their bedding and blankets. Getting rid of all this hair is a real struggle unless you vacuum.

Using a vacuum cleaner will make the rest of the process easier. It will also suck out the microbes, fungal spores along with all dust from the dog crate. 

Once you’re done with the vacuum, take the crate to a well-ventilated room where it can dry quickly because you’ll have to wash it rigorously.

The rest of the process depends on the type of crate you have.

a person vacuuming a dog crate

Cleaning a Metal Dog Crate

Cleaning a metal crate requires more effort than others. They have a removable tray, which should be removed and cleaned separately. Pull out the tray before you start washing.

Scrub the metal wires with a brush or a towel soaked in the cleaning solution. Use a hose to wash off the soapy solution. 

Cleaning a Plastic Crate

Separate the parts of the crate that are detachable. After that, use a generous amount of the cleaning solution you prepared to scrub off all the dirt. Wipe off the gunk. Use a hose to wash all the soap off the crate. 

Cleaning a Soft-Sided Crate

Soft-sided crates are easier to wash. Some of these come with detachable hard parts. If you have one of those crates, remove all the hard parts. Throw the soft-sided part in the washing machine.

If that’s not possible, you can also clean it with a brush soaked in soapy solution and rinse with warm water to remove all the soap.

Once you are done washing the crate, you can move on to the next step of the process. 


This is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the cleaning process. If you do all the washing and forget to sanitize, you practically haven’t cleaned it all.

All the germs will still be there, ready to infect the boo-boos and spread disease and irritation. 

Make sure you use a dog-safe disinfectant. Chlorhexidine, which is also mentioned previously, is a vet-recommended disinfectant.

You can add three to four drops of chlorhexidine in the cleaning solution.

You must disinfect everything inside the crate, including plastic or soft toys, food, and water bowls. 

A person sanitizing a blue plastic crate

Remove the Odor

Spray with a deodorizer to remove the funny smell.

Baking soda is a natural odor eliminator. When you sprinkle baking soda, make sure your dog isn’t anywhere near the crate. You don’t want your fluffy to inhale or lick the acidic soda.

Any other deodorizer you use must be dog-safe. 

Dry it Off

After all the washing, you’ll have to wait until it dries thoroughly. Fungus loves to grow in soft and moist places. That’s the last thing you want growing in your furry friend’s home.

Make sure there is zero moisture before you put your dog’s bedding and blankets inside the crate. Let it air dry for several hours. Do not let your dogs return to the crate before it is completely dry.

Well, that’s about it, and your dog crate is squeaky clean.

Cleaning the Crate Accessories

A man cleaning a dog crate with a vacuum

Before washing the crate, remove all the accessories. The soft ones, like the dog’s bedding and blankets, should be machine-washed. They can also be hand-washed with warm or cold water and mild detergent.

Any toys, food, and water bowls should also be wiped down and cleaned with a disinfectant. Keep the wet accessories in the sun or a well-ventilated room.

Things Not to Use to Clean Your Dog’s Crate

No matter how much I do it, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of using the right products. Be very sure about the list of ingredients and the expiry date of the detergents and cleaning products you use.

Do not try mixing any specialized cleaning products with bleach. It causes chemical reactions. Never buy products on a whim. Always do your research.

Here’s what you should avoid: 


It’s an alkaline product. It causes irritation to the throat, eyes, and skin. It also has a pungent smell that encourages dogs to urinate. It also corrodes metal surfaces. So, you should rinse thoroughly if you use ammonia (only if you love hard labor).


While bleach is integral to grandma’s every cleaning recipe, you should avoid it as much as possible.

With routine cleaning, bleach leaves very potent fumes. It makes your home environment toxic to breathe in. Bleach is also known to cause fading puppy syndrome. 

Fragrant Cleaning Products 

They have toxic chemicals. Besides, they smell divine to you but a pet peeve of your doggo (his sense of smell is 10,000 times more powerful than yours).

Maintaining a Clean Crate

A cleaned dog crate in a room with a red blanket

Keeping the crate clean is like basic etiquette for pet parents. If that’s too much pain for you, don’t consider having a pet in the first place. Don’t fret! It’s not that big a deal. All you need to know are a few hacks, and you always have a clean, tidy home. 

Choose the Right Crate

Maintaining your dog’s hygiene begins with selecting the right crate. Prefer foldable crates with detachable parts (way easier to clean).

Some have crate pads with absorbent materials that can be washed in a washing machine. You can also buy the crate pads separately. Remember to consider your dog’s size and breed while buying his crate. Here’s the guide to select the right crate size.

Wipe Off Accidents Immediately

Don’t wait for the pee to evaporate in your home environment. Take quick action, wipe the gunk off, and throw the soiled bedding in hot water with mild detergent.

Rinse thoroughly with clean water. Use a deodorizer and wait for the bedding to completely dry.

Set a Schedule for Routine Cleaning 

A regular wash day is your doggo’s basic Animal Right. You must routinely wash the crate, dog’s bedding, soft toys, plastic toys, water, and food bowls.

Use disinfectants and pet-safe deodorizers. Hose out all the dirt and keep everything in the sun or a well-ventilated room to dry off completely.

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Frequently Asked Questions

It is recommended to clean your dog crate on a weekly basis if you have one dog. However, a deep clean every two to four weeks is also recommended. If there are any accidents, it is important to clean immediately.

The soft-sided crate designed for smaller breeds is the easiest to clean. Its detachable parts can be easily removed and the soft material can be hand washed with a mild detergent and scrub brush or machine-washed.

The best disinfectant for dog crate cleaning is Chlorhexidine because it has antiseptic properties and is effective in killing germs. Vets often recommend Chlorhexidine for treating dog wounds and ulcers. To disinfect a dog crate, a diluted solution of Chlorhexidine can be blended with cleansers.

Yes, Clorox Wipes are safe to use on surfaces. However, it is important to ensure that the crate is completely dry before allowing your dog to return to it. We also recommend wiping the crate with a paper towel soaked in white vinegar after using the Clorox Wipes. This will help to neutralize the scent and prevent your dog from being encouraged to urinate. Additionally, ingesting Clorox Wipes can cause diarrhea, so it is important to keep them out of reach from your dog.

You can use a pet-safe deodorizer or baking soda to get rid of the smell from the crate. If using baking soda, sprinkle it in the crate and leave it overnight. Vacuum it out the next day before allowing your dog near the crate.


Dogs are cuddly, lovable beings who love to play outdoors. They may love getting dirty while having fun, but they prefer having clean, fresh-smelling bedding, blankets, and crates when napping.

As much as your dog decreases your stress and gives you unconditional love, he deserves a clean, tidy home to snuggle.

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Stefano Giachetti
Stefano Giachetti is always excited to share his knowledge and love of animals with you through our blog, IPetGuides. And he has always loved animals and has been blessed to have many pets throughout his life. Currently has a Pomeranian Dog Breed.

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