Outdoor dog kennels are great. They give your dog the chance to get some fresh air while also providing a space where your Fido can come back and relax in when he's done playing. It allows us as owners to not worry about our dogs while they’re having free time.

Outdoor kennels for dogs are available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, configurations, and materials, and it’s all determinant on what you think is best for your dog. The biggest problem pet parents have with these outdoor dog crates is figuring out how to clean them.

Cleaning your outdoor dog kennel doesn’t have to be a drag, though. If you have the right tools and all the know-how, you'll be able to clean your pooch's house in a beat. In this article, I'll discuss 11 ways and tips to maintain and clean an outdoor dog kennel.

Ways to Clean and Maintain Outdoor Dog Kennels
Photo: Advantek

Why even have an outdoor dog crate?

There are tons of reasons to get an outdoor dog kennel. As a dog parent, you should not let the idea of cleaning one of those dog crates daunt you: cleaning these doesn’t need to be difficult if you know what you're doing.

Why do pet parents buy them? Usually, the main reason is that outdoor dog kennels provide a place for dogs to play outside that is confined by a set perimeter, but isn’t as expensive as some of those electric dog fences.

Many dog owners with their own house often find themselves working in the yard or doing something else outside. If you're in this position, then there’s no reason to leave your buddy behind. Unlike soft sided dog crates, an outdoor dog kennel gives dogs a chance to be somewhere around you while breathing fresh air and without the risks of them running away or wandering off.

RELATED: 10 Tips for Picking Out the Right Extra Large Dog Crate

Outdoor dog kennels are made with a variety of materials, from steel to plastic to coated wood. Whichever you purchase, I recommend that you make sure that the material is waterproof and durable.

Dog crates made for the outside are not to be messed around with. Most owners will not want to waste their money on a flimsy thing that will fall to pieces the second it starts raining or when a dog bites into it. We have written about some of these kennels in our dog supplies reviews section.

After you’ve selected your future dog kennel for the outdoors, you’re going to need to know how to clean it, care for it and maintain it. Below, I'll discuss some of the ways you can clean and maintain your outdoor pet kennel to make it as long-lasting and durable as possible.

Ways to Clean and Maintain Outdoor Dog Kennels

Eliminating Maintenance Mayhem: Ways to Clean an Outdoor Dog Kennel Easily

First point of reference is always your common sense. Read the directions provided with the kennel. They’re not there by accident.

Directions and manuals come with pretty much everything we buy, so if there are special product recommendations or instructions in there, you’ll need to see them in order to optimize your kennel’s length of durability.

Secondly, ascertain what material(s) the kennel is made from. Check if your new outdoor dog kennel is a combination of materials such as wood, plastic, and metal.

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If the dog kennel has metal parts, know that even if the parts are made of stainless steel, you should still clean these regularly. Remember that the kennel has been outside, so it’s likely that these will get pretty dirty and you’ll need to clean the metal, even if it’s stainless.

Weiman Stainless Steel Spray was reviewed by many home improvement sites as one of the top stainless steel cleaners that they test as their number one choice. It will clean up stubborn dirt and grime without leaving a residue.

The stainless steel might look a little darker after you use it, according to certain reviews. If you want a nontoxic stainless steel cleaner, you can try using olive oil instead. Olive oil does not seem like an obvious cleaning solution, but it is.

Extra virgin olive oil won’t make the steel greasy if you approach this correctly. All you need to do is use that to clean the steel and then wipe off any excess with a rag. If you have a dog that likes to chew on bars, using a nontoxic cleaner is definitely a good idea.

RELATED: How to Choose the Right Dog Kennel Cover

If your kennel is made from wood or has wood parts, even if that wood is coated, it’s still a good idea to clean it. Clean the wood by first wiping away the visible debris off the wood with a dry cloth. Wiping the wood with a dry cloth first will save you time and won’t make any dirt on the wood become ingrained.

Then, combine ¼ cup of any dish-washing soap with a gallon of warm water. Stir it up and use that to clean the wood. The warm water helps to get off the dirt that’s gotten onto the kennel, but the soap is gentle enough that you won’t harm your hands.

Don’t power-wash the dog kennel, as that may cause it to wear down. Power-washing is a very harsh process, so it’s best to use good old fashioned elbow-grease to get the outdoor dog crate clean.

Ways to Clean and Maintain Outdoor Dog KennelsIf you want to provide a finishing touch of wood polish, a nontoxic way to clean it is with ¼ cup of lemon juice and ½ cup of extra-virgin olive oil. Nontoxic polishes and cleaners are suggested for owners with dogs who chew on or lick the wood of the kennel. Removing harmful chemicals keeps them safer (and helps the environment too).

If you have a kennel made of plastic, your job is pretty easy. Plastic is pretty easy to clean, and you can use simple soap and water that I have recommended with the wood-cleaning bit. If the plastic is really dirty, try mixing white vinegar and hot water, also a nontoxic cleaning alternative.

RELATED: The Hidden Costs of Dog Ownership

Part of maintaining outdoor dog kennels is making sure that the parts used most often are kept in good shape. In this case, one of those parts are the hinges. The hinges of the door go through the most wear and tear when compared to the rest of the kennel. You’re always opening them to go in and out.

Some outdoor kennels for dogs don’t have hinges, but for those that do, you need to keep them well-greased because that way you’ll be able to get in and out easily. For non-entrance hinges, if you need to store the kennel, it will collapse quicker (no struggling). Try white lithium grease to keep the hinges of the doors well-oiled.

The last and most basic tip for maintaining an outdoor dog kennel is regular upkeep. While these tips work great, you need to use them and clean more than once a month for the kennel to stay in great condition (once a week, if your dogs use the kennel regularly). By implementing these cleaning techniques regularly, you can keep your outdoor dog kennel in a tip-top shape!