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How to Wash Dog Bowls

You can wash dog bowls by hand with soap and water or with the help of your dishwasher to keep them fresh and clean for your furry friend. Get tips on how to care for your pet’s bowls so you can spend less time cleaning and more time with them.

Dog watching a woman grab something from the kitchen sink Dog watching a woman grab something from the kitchen sink

​​Is it safe to wash dog bowls with dish soap?

If you’re washing your dog’s food and water bowls by hand, you can use the standard dish soap used for cleaning your own dishes. Be sure to wash all soap residue out of the bowl before adding food and water for your pets.

Can you wash dog bowls in the dishwasher with other dishes?

If your dog’s bowls are made of a dishwasher-safe material, they can be washed in a dishwasher. However, you may choose to separate human dishes from the dishwasher load to avoid cross-contamination.

Certain materials like types of plastic or hand-painted bowls should not be placed in the dishwasher as the high temperatures can damage the item. Always check items for a “dishwasher safe” inscription or icon before loading them into your machine.

Person selecting a wash cycle on a Maytag® dishwasher Person selecting a wash cycle on a Maytag® dishwasher

How to Wash Your Dog’s Food & Water Bowls

You can get your pet’s food and water bowls clean by either using your kitchen sink or your dishwasher. Use the following instructions to learn how to properly clean your dog bowls.

  • Dishwasher detergent

  • Dish soap

Dog bowl icon

Step 1: Empty and soak bowls

Before you begin washing your dog bowls, empty them of any leftover water or kibble. For bowls that haven’t been regularly cleaned and may need extra care, soak the bowls in a solution made of soap and water for about ten minutes, then rinse them with warm water.

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Step 2: Wash the bowls

After your bowls have soaked, you can wash them either by hand or in the dishwasher. Certain materials must be washed by hand as they are not considered dishwasher safe. Always ensure your items are dishwasher-safe before placing them inside the dishwasher.

If you’re washing dog bowls by hand:

  • Rinse with hot water to loosen any remaining food particles.

  • Add dish soap to the bowl and scrub using a scrub brush or sponge dedicated to cleaning pet items.

  • Thoroughly rinse out all soap residue from the bowls with hot water.

If you’re washing dog bowls in the dishwasher:

  • Place the bowls inside the dishwasher on the top rack.

  • Add dishwasher detergent to the detergent dispenser, then close the dishwasher door.

  • Choose a wash cycle that uses high water temperatures. Select Maytag® dishwashers offer a Sani Rinse option that provides a high-temperature rinse to remove 99.999% of food soil bacteria.

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Step 3: Dry the bowls

Dog bowls that are washed using a dishwasher will typically come out of the wash cycle dry and ready to use. If you have washed your dog bowls by hand, you can use a dry, clean rag specifically dedicated to pet items or set them on a drying pad to air dry.

Stainless steel Maytag® front control dishwasher Stainless steel Maytag® front control dishwasher

How often should dog bowls be washed?

How often you clean your dog bowls depends on the type of food your pet eats. If you serve your pet dry kibble, the bowls can usually be washed daily after your dog has eaten the last meal of the day. For dogs that eat wet food, the bowls should be washed after each meal. This will also help you avoid dried, stuck-on food.

What is the most sanitary material for dog water bowls?

Stainless steel bowls are durable, usually dishwasher-safe and easy to maintain. Bowls made of plastic or ceramic are typically more porous, which could make them harder to clean.

Shop Maytag® Dishwashers

Maytag® dishwashers are designed to tackle tough loads, from dirty dog bowls to casserole dishes with baked-on messes. Browse select models with features like the Third Level Rack that provides more space for smaller items like cups and bowls and Dual Power Filtration that combines microfiltration with a 4-blade chopper to filter and dispose of food particles.

Washing and Caring for Other Pet Items

Pet toys, blankets and even dog collars get a good amount of wear and tear, and a busy lifestyle needs appliances that can help simplify cleanup. The Maytag® Pet Pro System washing machine and dryers can help remove hair from your pet’s favorite toys and blankets along with your regular laundry. The washer’s built-in Pet Pro Filter is designed to remove 5x more pet hair1 so you can spend less time lint rolling items before adding them to the washer. The Maytag® Pet Pro Dryer features an XL lint trap that captures and removes additional pet hair. 

Shop the Maytag® Pet Pro System

Explore More Dog Cleaning Tips from Maytag brand

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1. Comparing Normal cycle with Pet Pro Filter and option to cycle using traditional agitator without Pet Pro Filter and option. Results will vary based on fabric and type of pet hair.