How to Clean Dog Bowl Effectively? (Sterilize and Disinfect)

We all know why it is important to clean dog bowls, but very few knows how to clean dog bowls effectively.

First, let me tell you that a dog’s bowl or a dog’s dish is the 4th filthy thing in the houses. And I am not saying through any of my personal observation or experience. This has even been proved by Public Health Organization, NSF International.[1]

How to Clean Dog Bowls

Which is why it is crucial to clean dog bowls. Your dog may get sick due to germs, bacteria, molds and other microorganism that might be there in your dog’s bowl.

In this article, I will share 2 ways to clean dog bowls. The first one is the ‘Disinfect Method’ and the other is ‘The Sterilize Method’.

Go On! Read the complete article.

How to Disinfect and Clean Dog Bowls?

Disinfecting your dog’s bowl will remove all the germs that may harm your sweet canine. However, disinfecting does not remove 100% germs or bacteria. So, if you wish to deeply clean dog bowls, you must sterilize it.

In the next section of this article, I have explained how to sterilize a dog bowl. So, don’t stop scrolling and reading. But before that, let’s talk how to clean your dog’s bowl through disinfect method.

How to Disinfect and Clean Dog Bowls

If the surface inside your dog’s bowl is slimy, then it is an indication that your dog’s bowl contains biofilm. To remove it, you will need to follow 3 steps, which are:

  1. Wash your dog’s bowl after every meal with mild detergent or soap and water to remove all the left over from the bowl.
  2. Now, wipe the biofilm using a soft sponge and warm soap water. Clean the dog bowl meticulously. Remember not to use any hard material or scratch the bowl.
  3. The last step is to disinfect the bowl every week by either dipping the bowl in white vinegar or by heating the water and rising its temperature to more than 60 °C and washing the bowl with the same water.

Some people even use the dishwasher with the highest heat setting to wash their dog’s bowl. However, not all dog bowl can be washed in dishwasher. Vinegar is a raw cleanser that has been proved really effective over the time.

How to Sterilize and Clean Dog Bowls?

Did You Know?

A study regarding the survival of Salmonella, proved that even after you deep wash your dog’s water bowl with soap and water in the dishwasher, there are chances that more than 67% of Salmonella still remains in the bowl![1]

How to Sterilize and Clean Dog Bowls

Thus, it becomes very crucial to not just wash and clean the dog bowl every day, but also sterilize it at least once in a week. Sterilizing your dog’s bowl will remove all the microorganisms. And the best part about this is that it is very easy to sanitize and sterilize dog’s bowl and dishes.

To sterilize your dog’s water bowl, you need to carry out an additional 4 steps once you are done with washing and cleaning your dog’s water bowl.

Let’s see what are those 4 steps!

  1. Add half cup of bleach to roughly 4 liters of water.
  2. Transfer this solution to your dog’s water bowl and keep it that way for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Take off the solution from the bowl and clean the bowl with fresh water.
  4. Lastly, let the dog bowl dry.

And that’s it. Your work’s done!

However, if you are using a stainless steel water bowl for your dog, you should not try this technique, as bleach will rust the steel.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dog Bowl?

With the increasing awareness and health issues in dogs, many vets suggest you to wash your dog bowls every day at least. It is best, if you wash your dog bowls as frequently as you wash your own utensils, i.e. after every meal.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dog Bowl

However, if you find washing your dog’s bowl after every meal, you can wash it less frequently based on the type of food, you give your dog.

  • Dry Food: If you serve your dog dry food in the form of a kibble, then you may wash your dog bowl after the last meal of the day.
  • Food with Water: If you are mixing your dog’s food with water, then you must wash the dog bowl at least once in a day.
  • Wet Food: If you feed your dog a wet food such as fresh meat, or some canned food, you must wash and sanitize the bowl after every meal.

If you are using dog mat, it is equally important to wash it as well. Dog mat also should be cleaned at least once in a day.

Yes, I know this a lot of cleaning, but risking your dog’s health is not something that you would choose.

Am I right?


Which is the best way to clean dog bowls?

The best and most simple way to clean dog bowls is using warm water and soap.

Using extremely warm water, makes sure that all the germs and bacteria is removed and with the help of soap, all the food residues can be cleaned. However, you must know that most germs and bacteria does not die at any temperature below 60 °C.

So, make sure the temperature of your wash is more than 60 °C. Some pet parents even opt to clean dog bowls in the dishwasher at the highest temperature setting.

Is it hygienic to put dog bowls in dishwasher?

Definitely a yes for this one!

Washing dog bowls in the dishwasher is considered as a great idea as the temperature of the dishwasher is very high. What hot temperature does is that it kills all the bacteria from your dog bowl very effectively.

Not only that, but you are suggested to keep the temperature at the highest heat setting because some strong bacteria like Salmonella can easily combat cool or lukewarm temperature.

However, before your toss your dog’s water bowl, make sure they are dishwasher safe and read the instructions carefully.

Is it safe to wash dog bowls with human dishes?

A big no for this one!

It is highly advisable not to wash bog bowls with human dishes because the bacteria, parasites, and Leptospira can transfer from dogs bowl to human dishes, if washed together. Thus, it is considered very unsafe and unhygienic to wash dog bowls and human dishes together.

You also need to make sure that you properly sanitize and wash your hands after you come in contact with dog’s bowl or any of your dog’s utensils.

How do you clean stainless steel dog bowls?

Stainless steel dog bowls are very hygienic and considered better for dogs. To wash them you need to follow these 3 steps:

1. You need to only use a soft sponge and mild detergent to wash your dog’s bowl. Never use a scrubber or any such material that can spoil your dog’s bowl.

2. The second step is to sanitize your dog’s bowl by either using hot water and vinegar or cool water and bleach.

3. Let your dog’s bowl be soaked in the solution for some time.

Now wash the bowl with clean water and let it dry.

What is the best material for a dog bowl?

Stainless Steel is the best material for a dog bowl.

This is not just my opinion but an opinion of every pet parent. Pet parents love stainless steel dog bowl because they are very durable and long-lasting. These bowls do not even get broken or cracked, if you drop them by mistake.

Another most important feature is that they are light. Carrying the dog bowl during your holidays isn’t something you need to worry about. To clean dog bowls made from stainless steel is also a matter of seconds.


I know that such frequent cleaning is a pain for most of us. But, then weren’t you ready for all the challenges, when you brought your sweet canine home?

To save your dog from some serious health hazards as well dental hazards, you should clean dog bowls regularly. So, even if you did not all of these till today, it’s totally fine. Don’t be guilty about it.

You can start from today!

I hope you found my guide on how to clean dog bowls helpful. Share your feedback in the comment section below.


  1. N. (2022d, August 22). Clean the Germiest Home Items. NSF. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from
  2. Young, S. D., & Young, S. D. (2017, April 19). How often should you clean your pet’s food bowls? ConsumerAffairs. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from
  3. Cleanipedia. (2021, August 17). How to clean dog bowls and toys. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from

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