How Often Do You Wash Your Dog Bowls?

Some posts may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.

I was washing Daisy’s food and water bowls this morning and got to thinking about how often you’re really supposed to do it. It’s easy to forget simple things like this…there’s so much for pet parents to keep up with between monthly heartworm meds, vet appointments, nail clipping, etc!

wash dog bowl

Keeping Your Dog Bowls Clean

Although dogs tend to lick their bowls til they appear clean, they sure do get germy and slimy if you don’t wash them regularly. If you Google “How often to wash dog bowls?” you’ll find various recommendations from every day (makes sense but I’ll admit I don’t do it that frequently) to once a week.

Some experts recommend a little bleach, other say to put them in the dishwasher (as close as Daisy & I are, I’m kind of grossed out at the idea of washing her dishes with ours). I just stick them in the sink and soak them in hot, soapy water after breakfast a couple times a week and then scrub and rinse them well later in the day. I keep a separate brush and sponge to use for her bowls.

Depending upon whether your dog eats dry kibble only like Daisy, or also eats wet food, you might want to do it more often. I’ve read that it also depends on what type of material the bowls are made from. Plastic or rubber bowls are more porous and will need to be washed much more frequently to remove bacteria. Stainless steel or glazed ceramic help prevent the bacteria from hiding and growing in the bowl’s surface so they are often what veterinarians recommend.

How often do YOU wash your dog’s bowls and what method do you find easiest and most effective? We’d love to read your tips and advice!

Want to learn more about the basics of dog care? Check out these great resources from the ASPCA!


  1. I wash their bowls every other day. Just regular soap and water work great… not sure I want to use bleach.

  2. Kelly in Oregon says

    Yikes!  I guess I need to get better about this – I was their food and water bowls when they are looking really gross (maybe once a month).  They’re all stainless steel.  I will try to wash them about once a week now.

  3. I wash our many food and water bowls daily.  For me, it’s just part of my daily cleaning routine, and only takes a minute or two anyway.

  4. I made it really easy on myself and purchase four of those metal bowls when they were on sale. We use those for our dogs food. The bowl she uses during the day gets washed at night, after I do our dinner dishes, with a separate sponge I keep under the sink for the purpose. Since she has a few bowls, I just grab a clean one and set it down to use the next day while the other is being washed and dried. Her water bowl is one of those gravity things that looks like a mini water-cooler with a trough at the bottom. I wash that when it’s about empty… About once a week. I know I probably go overboard, but I’m kind of OCD about dirty dishes. Can’t stand to look at them, even the dogs.

  5. OMG i hope that I wash them a few times a week 🙂 Sometimes it gets away from me and I shouldn’t admit that. I put them in the dishwasher with ours, doesn’t bother me!

  6. Carrie Petersen says

    I wash them about twice per week for the dogs who use the same bowls for dry and canned (they each have their own ceramic bowl). The cats have separate bowls and their stainless steel kibble bowls rarely get washed. Their ceramic canned food bowls get rotated and washed once/week. The dogs and cats share the same water bowls and those get washed about twice each week because they get filthy!

  7. Well, probably not enough. I rarely WASH the stainless-steel water bowl. However, I wipe the slime out with a paper towel a couple of days a week. I just upgraded to glass pet bowls (they are VERY sturdy. Seriously, you could kill someone with one) because 1) they are so pretty! and 2) we feed at least half raw now and I want less of a surface for bacteria to stick to. Still, I probably only wash those bowls a couple times a month.

    I kind of use the same theory as for myself….a little bit of bacteria makes the gut stronger 🙂

    • Darlene Drumm says

      DOG OWNERS- HEAD THIS WARNING: I use primarily Stainless steel water bowls- and i clean them once a week religiously. My dog got the INTESTINAL PARASITE GIARDIA WHICH causes diarrhea and can lead to death in some cases. Bowls should be and need to be washed /cleaned with soapy hot water daily or at least ever other day. Isn’t your PET worth this simple task. My 13 year old chihuahua mix certainly is. It only takes a few minutes for more years with your precious pet. I had no idea about this health issue until my dog got sick.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.