There’s one fact that every pet owner knows all too well – messes happen! Sometimes it’s muddy paws jumping up on the sofa, sometimes it’s shaking off a wet coat of fur all over the entryway, and sometimes it’s a mess in the crate. One of the perks of a sturdy aluminum dog crate is that it’s easy to clean; getting your dog his or her comfy space back even after the messiest of adventures…or accidents.
How Do Crates Get Messy?
The crate is a travel space, a relaxation space, and a safe space for your dog. According to the American Kennel Club, traveling in a crate while in the car is one of the safest ways for your pup to get from point A to point B. If you’re flying, Conde Nast Traveler outlines why your dog will likely be crated for safety while traveling by air as well.
The crate isn’t just a travel tool, it’s also your dog’s own personal cozy space. Dogs are natural den animals, and as Woof & Beyond explains, this makes a crate a perfect space for them to retreat to when they need some rest, a feeling of safety, or a break from the hustle and bustle of the household.
Because dogs tend to spend a good bit of time in their crates, they will get messy. Learning how to clean a dog crate is easy no matter what type of mess you’re working with. A few situations that may lead to a messy crate include:
- They’ve been left in the crate too long – Accidents happen, and this rings true even with the best trained dogs. Maybe they got themselves into something that resulted in an unexpected bellyache while you were at work. Perhaps they drank a bit too much before bed and couldn’t wake you up in time to go outside. According to Reader’s Digest, dog parents should try to limit crate periods to a maximum of around 8 hours whenever possible, but some dogs may have different needs. For example, lazier breeds may be comfortable for a little longer in their crate and elderly dogs may require more frequent potty breaks outside of their crate.
- They got a little travel sickness – Whether by road or by air, travel sickness just happens sometimes. Puppies and young dogs can be more prone to travel sickness when compared to older dogs, according to DoggySaurus, however any dog of any age can find themselves feeling a bit “green around the gills” during a particular trip.
- You’ve had a great messy adventure – You’ve packed your pooch up in their crate, you’re loading them in the car, and you’re about to set out for a marvelous day of adventuring! While you’re having the times of your lives, you’re probably not thinking too much about the mess you’re going to be bringing back with you. Soggy fur, muddy paws, and lots of slobbery panting are just the signs of a day well spent. Learning how to clean a dog crate the easy way just ensures you’re ready for your next great adventure.
No matter how the mess was made, a sturdy aluminum dog crate makes it easy to clean up. Breaking down how to clean a dog crate lets you see just how pain-free cleaning up the mess can really be.
How To Clean A Dog Crate The Safe And Easy Way
The first thing you’re going to want to do when breaking down how to clean a dog crate the simplest and most effective way is to remove any belongings from the crate. Even if it doesn’t look like it has been soiled, chances are it could use a good clean. Especially for “bathroom messes”, it’s always better to be safe than sorry in this regard. If you’re using a comfort pad or if you keep any toys in the crate, take them out of the crate and set them aside to be cleaned later.
After all toys and pads have been removed, it might be time to give the crate a good wipe down in preparation for the real cleaning. Any soiling you’re able to pick up, take out, or wipe up will make your deeper cleaning experience easier. For instance, if your dog has an accident in their crate, and the excess soiling is not removed before a good clean, you may simply be rubbing the contamination all over the crate as you’re trying to clean it up.
Once you have an empty crate, it’s time to decide what you’re going to clean your dog crate with. For smaller messes, urine accidents, or dirty crates from a day of adventuring, you may opt for a simple, homemade, pet-safe, and natural solution. One popular choice is a solution of simple white vinegar and water, which works impressively well against tough dirt, grime, and odors. To make the cleaner, simply mix ½ cup of white vinegar into 1 gallon of water, then transfer into an appropriately sized spray bottle. Spray down all surfaces (interior and exterior) of your aluminum crate and allow it to sit for just a few minutes. As you’re waiting, the vinegar and water solution will start getting to work breaking down tough grime, eliminating odors, and gently cleaning the aluminum.
After you’ve allowed the vinegar to sit, it’s time to wipe it up and scrub any surfaces that need a bit of additional elbow grease. Once the crate looks shiny and new, you may decide to rinse it out with plain water one final time, but it’s not a necessary step. The smell of vinegar will dissipate as the solution dries, leaving behind a fresh, clean, and natural scent. According to the American Kennel Club, a diluted vinegar cleaning solution is pet-safe, so even if your dog comes into contact with any still-wet leftover cleaning residue, it will not be bothersome.
Sometimes bigger messes require a more serious approach to cleaning. For heavy soiling, or soiling that contains feces, you might want to step away from the vinegar and pick up a bit of bleach instead. To create a crate cleaning solution with bleach, mix ½ cup of bleach into 1 gallon of water, and then place in an appropriately sized spray bottle before use – just like you would with your vinegar solution.
In your empty crate, spray all surfaces down with the bleach solution, taking care not to get the bleach on your skin or clothing if possible. While diluted, the bleach may still stain any fabric or cause skin irritation. When using a bleach solution to tackle the messiest of messes, wearing rubber cleaning gloves may be preferred.
Once you’ve allowed the bleach to sit for a few minutes, it’s time to scrub, wipe, and rinse the solution out of the crate. Bleach can have a similar smell to urine, so rinsing the crate after cleaning will be useful in eliminating any lingering scents that may be confusing for your dog. For puppies or dogs that aren’t completely housebroken, the residual bleach smell may be enough to confuse them into thinking their crate is the “proper” place to go.
With a sturdy aluminum dog crate, rinsing is easy. You can simply take the crate outside for cleaning and rinsing with the hose, or you may decide to rinse out the crate in a tub or shower using a simple sprayer. For larger sized dog crates, hosing off outside is usually the easiest and least messy solution.
After your crate has been rinsed, you’ll want to allow the crate to dry completely before welcoming your dog back inside. A completely dry crate ensures that no residual bleach is left on surfaces, and that any bleach odor is gone before your dog returns to enjoy their crate once again. Additionally, if you use crate pads or toys in the crate, it ensures that residual bleach solution will not damage any of your dog’s most prized possessions.
Once the crate has been cleaned, it’s time to tackle what was kept inside the crate with them. For your crate pad, or any soft toys, making a natural, simple, and pet-safe cleaner to take care of any stains or odors on soft surfaces is easy. If you’re washing with a machine, add about 1 box of baking soda to your washing machine alongside any beds or toys you wish to wash. If you’re washing by hand, add the baking soda to a tub filled with warm water. Baking soda effectively absorbs any odors and takes out any stains leaving your dog’s best things fresh, clean, and ready to be loved once again.
For tough messes, you may want to run the toys and bed through an additional wash cycle with a pet-safe natural detergent. If you’re washing by hand, you may wish to drain the tub, fill again with warm water, and wash with a pet-safe soap just to make sure any contaminants are completely removed from your dog’s belongings.
The Aluminum Difference
Learning how to clean a dog crate is quick, simple, and straight forward when you’re working with an aluminum crate. Aluminum sides aren’t just tough and protective, providing additional safety during travel, they’re also convenient to keep clean. With your chosen solution, a simple wipe, and maybe a little rinsing, you’re ready to go for more adventures, take more naps, and spend more quality time.