How to Clean Pet Bowls the Right Way

Do you want your pet to be as healthy as possible?

Are you familiar with maintaining hygiene with your pet's bowls?

If you want to know more, read our guide. Here we will explain the best way of cleaning the feed bowls of your dog and cats. Also, you can read more about how to prevent them from getting dirty and unhealthy. This is very important because food leftovers can cause bacteria growth which isn't good for your pet's health.

If the bowls are made from stainless steel, avoid using strong chemicals and antibacterial products because that can cause the material to rust. In the matter of hygiene, the steel is better material than plastic, especially if it has an anti-microbial layer. If you notice the mold growth on the plastic bowls, throw them away and buy new ones.

Vinegar Is The Great Option For Stainless Steel Bowls

As I already mentioned, the stainless steel pet dishes are the most hygienic ones. But for additional caution, before washing them, I would recommend you to soak them in a vinegar and warm water solution to sanitize them. Then you can wash by hand or in the dishwasher.

Use Cloth or Sponge Only For Pet Dishes

In case you're cleaning the bowls by hands, you should consider having a sponge or a cloth that is reserved just for the pets dishes. Hand-washing considers not so high temperature when cleaning, so the sponge will also accumulate certain bacteria. Change the sponge regularly.

Check For The Scratches

When you're washing and scrubbing the pet bowls, you can scratch them. Sometimes these scratches are very big and can support bacteria growth. Since these small spaces aren't easy to wash, I will recommend you to replace the scratched bowl with the new one to keep your pet healthy.

Cleaning In The Dishwasher

Most of the pet dishes can be washed in the dishwasher. If it's plastic you should put it on the top rack so it doesn't melt. Also, you don't need to wash them separately, but you can put them with your dishes. If you want to, you can rinse them with water before putting them in the dishwasher, so you can be sure that they will be cleaned well.

Cleaning With The Hand

Use warm or hot water so you can be sure that you rinsed off the bacteria bio films from the bowls surface. Also, don't use just water, but add few drops of non-toxic dish soap made for hand-washing. Therefore, all the leftovers of food will be surely gone and the bowls will be clean.

Hand washing vs Dish-washing

Since the bacteria can be gone only at very high temperatures, sometimes washing the pet dishes with hands isn't the best option. The dishwasher cleans the bowls at a much higher temperature, then you could wash with your hand. I will recommend dish washing especially for the bowls in which you hold wet food.

The Routine Of Cleaning

I will recommend you to clean your pet's bowls every few days in case of dry food. The one for wet food should be washed daily. The old food stuck to the surface of the bowl is the best for bacteria growth. Since you wouldn't eat from dirty bowls, maintain the hygiene of your pet's dishes also.

Use The Mat

Nevertheless, if you're having a cat or dog, it's more hygienic when you put the mat beneath the pet's food and drinking bowl. You can notice that nowadays many dishes come with matching mats. They catch and spills or food leftovers that you can then easily clean. Also, they can be elevated so the bowls don't touch the floor.

That’s where a waterproof Dog , Cat Bowl Mat comes in…

Prevention Of Food Sticking On The Bowl's Surface

If you want to clean them easier, there is an excellent trick you can do. Before putting food, grease it with olive oil or sunflower oil so the food won't get stuck on the surface. You can also use wraps with streaky ends and just throw them away with food leftover, and wash the pet dishes once a week in a dishwasher or by hand.


The maintenance of hygiene depends on the material from which the bowl is made and the type of food that is in it. So, you can clean the bowl for the dry food every few days, but the one for the wet food has to be cleaned every day.

See the Video to know about How To Clean Your Pets Water Bowls

To make sure you have removed all bacteria, clean the dishes in the dishwasher because it can be rinsed in very high temperature. For stainless steel bowls, it's good to use vinegar to sanitize the surface additionally. The plastic bowls should be replaced more frequently.

Also, if you want to clean the dishes more easily, consider the techniques that prevent the bowls to get very dirty. For example, you can wrap the foil around the bowls and just remove it with the food leftover. But, that can be inconvenient if the foils ends aren't sticky enough.

You can also use coffee filters or rinse the inside of the dog or cat bowl with oil so the food won't stick so much on the surface. Anyhow, remember that you like that your dishes are clean every day, and your pet likes that too. So, keep their dishes clean regularly and they will surely be healthier and happier.

RESOURCE: Pet Feeder Tips

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Mike Stiven

I'm a pet owner, blogger, and writer from the Massachusetts. I've worked at the Alpha Dog Training Center, a dog boarding and training facility, and also shared the knowledge garnered over the years with a good number of pet sites. As a firm believer that great care has to be given to pets, beside sharing my whole experience in this blog I also work as volunteer at pet stores during the weekend.

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