Dog crates are most commonly made from either rigid plastic or a heavy-gauge wire, although there is also a growing selection of soft-sided fabric crates. The best dog crate cleaner is often just soap and water, but other options may be better if you need to remove odor or disinfect a crate after a dog is sick.
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Before you begin
Before you start cleaning the crate, be sure to remove any bedding, dishes, and toys. Wash bedding in the laundry and clean bowls and toys before returning them to the crate. Clean any poop or spilled food and treats and use paper towels to soak up spilled water or urine. It is usually easiest to clean dog crates outdoors, although this isn't always feasible depending on the weather and the size and portability of the dog crate.
Prepare the best dog crate cleaner for your situation. A combination of one part dish detergent and 10 parts water is generally a good choice in most situations. If you need to disinfect the crate, mix 1/2 cup of bleach with 1 gallon of water, and for odor removal, mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar in 1 gallon of water. Do not use ammonia-based cleaners, as they smell like the dog's own urine and may lead your dog to urinate in the crate.
Keep your dog inside or in a separate room while you clean the crate. This prevents him from getting into any hazardous cleaning supplies.
Plastic crate cleaning
It is possible to clean these crates without disassembling them, but it is often easier to take them apart, especially if you have a larger crate. Fill a spray bottle with the desired cleaning solution and spray the inside of the crate. If some areas are heavily soiled from an accident or just dirty from your dog leaning against the wall, allow the solution to soak and loosen the soiled areas.
Then, wipe the walls of the crate with paper towels or a cloth. You can use a scrub brush for heavily soiled areas, but avoid bristles that are too stiff because these may scratch the crate. Once the sides of the crate are clean, rinse the crate to remove soap, bleach, or vinegar. You can air dry the crate or dry it with a towel before reassembling it.
Cleaning wire crates
Most wire crates have a tray at the bottom to make sure any accidents and dropped food don't fall on the floor. Slide out the tray from underneath the crate. If possible, spray down the crate and the tray with a hose or showerhead to remove any debris.
Then, use a cloth or brush to clean the wires of the crate with the best cleaning solution for your situation. You can use the same solutions you would use for a plastic crate. Spray the tray with the cleaning solution as well to clean the soiled areas and remove odors. Rinse away the remaining cleaning solution and dry the crate with a towel. This is especially important with metal crates to prevent rusting. Once the crate and tray are fully dry, you can put the tray and bedding back inside.
Cleaning soft-sided crates
Most soft-sided crates are made with a durable, water-resistant fabric. A cleaning solution of dish soap and water should work well but be sure to check the package label to determine what cleaning products are safe for the fabric. Avoid bleach, as it can potentially damage the fabric.
If the crate has a mat at the bottom, remove it. In many cases, these mats are machine washable. Then, clean the crate with the soap and water solution and a cloth. Make sure to rinse the soap thoroughly and place the crate outside or in a well-ventilated room to dry. For some soft-sided crates, you can remove the fabric from the frame of the crate and clean it in your washing machine. Check the product label to see if this will work for your crate.
Clean the frame with the soap and water solution and dry it completely, especially if the frame is metal. Once all the components are fully dry, you can reassemble the crate.