How to Disinfect a Dog Crate?

How to Disinfect a Dog Crate
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You wouldn’t believe it based solely on a dog’s propensity for splashing around in the mud and rain, but they actually do like to keep a pretty tidy home.

Natural instincts and training even more so make a dog extremely hesitant to perform bodily functions inside the crate they sleep in.

Still, even the best-behaved dogs leave messes of different kinds, and there’s no guarantee that you won't find one of the nasty surprises in the crate one day.

All of these are reason enough to learn how to take care of your dog’s crate properly. As you’ll see from the tips outlined below, maintaining the crate is actually straightforward and made easy by its very design. It’s never a bad idea to read up on the specifics though, and that’s where this handy dog crate cleaning guide comes in!

how to take care of your dog’s crate

Getting the Crate Ready

While there are nuances between cleaning each distinct type of crate, there are a few starter steps which are common to all of them. First, get some rubber gloves – you never know what you might reach for and accidentally touch.

Next, inspect the crate. If you see bits of food or other undesirable waste, get a brush and dustpan, and dispose of everything you find. Don’t forget those hard-to-reach corners.

Cloth and plastic crates also often come with removable bedding. Sometimes this can be machine-washed, saving time, and making for a more hygienic result. Other times the manufacturer doesn’t recommend it, in which case you’ll have to deal with stains individually.

Place a paper towel on any fresh stains to draw out any remaining urine first, and then treat the stain with either a store-bought disinfectant or create a home-made one with the cleaning supplies you have lying around.

Now’s a good time to mention that dog crates should never be cleaned using cleaning solutions that contain ammonia. This unpleasant-smelling substance might be effective at cleaning, but its smell is actually reminiscent of the dog’s own urine.

Since their noses are so sensitive, your dog might end up smelling the ammonia a lot longer than you will, and as it will have a hard time distinguishing it from the real thing, it may get more prone to urinating in its crate.

How to Clean Soft Crates

Arguably the easiest to clean are soft crates. As their sides can effortlessly be folded, they take up little room and can fit inside your sink provided your dog is small. You can make a simple solution involving water and some dish soap and scrub the whole crate with it using a sponge.

Bigger crates will need to be dealt with in your bathtub or backyard and rinsed off using a showerhead or garden hose. Even better are machine-washable crates – you just chuck one into the washing machine, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and then thoroughly air dry it for best results.

metal cage’s bars

How to Clean Metal Cages

Most of the time, a metal cage’s bars won't require much attention, saving you considerable time. The bottom tray is a different matter altogether though. This tends to have all manner of stains and encrusted mishaps all over it, so an aggressive approach is called for.

Remove the tray from the crate for easier access and thoroughly rub it down with a cleaning solution. Said cleaner can even contain bleach in small amounts, just be sure that the tray is completely dry before your dog uses it again.

When the tray is done, you can hose the rest of the cage down with water and apply the same water/dish soap solution used for soft crates to the bars provided they’re still dirty or you detect a smell coming from them.

How to Clean Plastic Crates

Plastic crates are the most challenging to clean as their rigid shape can prevent you from reaching every square inch of their insides. With tricky crates like this, your best bet is to use a spray bottle to distribute the cleaning solution across the entire surface area.

Apply a more generous amount of solution to stained areas and wipe those clean with disposable towels or a washcloth you won't be using for anything else.

Rinsing the crate out is self-explanatory. Since it’s made from plastic, a strong smell may be left over even after you’ve meticulously cleaned the crate. In that case, the best thing to do is create a paste with ordinary baking soda and vinegar. This will contribute to making the dog crate even more bacteria-free while dissolving any but the most hardcore of smells.


You keep your own home in good order, so there’s no excuse not to do the same for your pet’s. Since it’s not rocket science and doesn’t take too long, especially if you maintain the crate’s cleanliness, you can do it once a month in a few minutes’ time and ensure that your pet has a healthy and clean place to live in while keeping your own home safer from harm.