Tips & Tricks

How to Clean a Dog Lick Mat: A Step-by-Step Guide for Pet Owners

how to wash lick mat

As a pet owner, you know how much joy and entertainment a dog lick mat can bring to your furry friend. These innovative toys are designed to keep your dog mentally stimulated and engaged while enjoying their favourite treats. However, just like any other pet toy, lick mats require regular cleaning to maintain hygiene and prevent bacteria buildup.


In this blog post, we’ll walk you through a detailed guide on how to keep your dog’s lick mat squeaky clean.

Let’s dive in.

1. Make the Soaking Solution

The first step in cleaning your dog’s lick mat is to fill your sink with warm water. Make sure the temperature is comfortable to the touch and not too hot for your hands. Next, add a squirt of dish soap specifically formulated for dishes, not hand soap. Dishwashing liquid is more effective at breaking down grease and food residue that accumulates on the lick mat compared to hand soap. This step is pretty important in ensuring a thorough cleaning and preventing any lingering bacteria.

wash lick mat with dish soap

2. Let it Loosen Up

Once you’ve created your soapy bath, place the lick mat in the sink and let it soak for a good 15-20 minutes. This allows the warm water and dish soap to work their magic, loosening any dried-on food particles or treats that might be clinging to the mat’s surface. By giving the mat ample time to soak, you’ll make the next step of scrubbing much easier and more effective.

dog sitting his owner garden

3. Gentle Scrubbing

After the soak, it’s time to scrub away any leftover food bits! Grab a soft-bristled brush (a silicone or nylon bottle brush works great, too!), or use a non-abrasive sponge. Gently scrub the entire lick mat, paying special attention to those textured areas and crevices – that’s where food particles love to hide! Don’t forget to get into all the nooks and crannies for a super clean lick mat.

Remember, the goal is to remove any lingering bacteria and keep your dog’s lick mat hygienic for their next play session.


4. High-Pressure Rinse (Optional)

If you have a sprayer hose with your sink, you’re in luck! The high-pressure water can blast off any remaining food particles on the mat.

Start with a moderate water pressure setting and hold the lick mat a few inches away from the spray. Move it around to ensure all areas, especially the nooks and crannies, are rinsed clean. However, be mindful of the pressure; too strong can damage the lick mat or force food deeper into the crevices.

wash lick mats 1

5. Regular Rinse is Fine, Too

If you don’t have a high-pressure faucet, don’t worry! A regular rinse under running water for a good amount of time will still remove most food residue. Just like with the scrub, make sure to get into all the textured areas to remove any lingering bits.

border collie dog training with owner

6. Bonus Tip: Dishwash Some Mats (Double-Check First!)

While soaking and scrubbing are the most common cleaning methods, some lick mats are actually dishwasher-safe! However, it’s crucial to always check the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific lick mat before placing it in the dishwasher.

Using the wrong setting or placing a non-dishwasher-safe mat could damage it. If your lick mat is indeed dishwasher-safe, this can be a convenient and time-saving cleaning option.

man front open dishwasher takes out clean dishes after washing

7. Tackle Stubborn Messes

Sometimes, even after a good scrub, stubborn bits of food can cling to the lick mat’s crevices. Don’t worry!

Here are a few ways to tackle stubborn food bits that just won’t budge:

1. Soak it Longer

The first step is to extend the soak time. Give the lick mat a good scrub after its initial soak, then if there are still stubborn spots, simply refill the sink with warm, soapy water and let the mat soak for an additional 15-30 minutes. This extra soak time allows the soapy water to further penetrate the textured areas and loosen up those tough messes, making them easier to remove during the next scrubbing session.

little dogs standing in light studio together

2. Freeze away Stubborn Messes

We all love seeing our pups enjoy their honeycomb lick mats, but that leftover food residue after playtime? Not so much. Well,

Those tiny honeycomb compartments can be quite a challenge, as small crumbs and bits of food tend to get stuck, even after a thorough scrubbing. But don’t worry, I’ve got a cool cleaning trick for you!

After giving the mat a thorough rinse, pop it in the freezer overnight. The leftover food bits will freeze along with any moisture, making them much easier to remove. In the morning, take the mat out and give the back a warm water rinse. This helps melt the ice and encourages the frozen residue to fall off with ease. Let the mat air dry completely before your pup’s next licking adventure – any remaining bits will be dry and easy to brush off. And just like that, you’ve got a clean lick mat and a happy pup ready for more frozen fun!

3. Bring in the Big Guns (But Safe Ones!)

For truly tenacious food residue, consider using a pet-safe cleaning solution specifically designed for lick mats. These specialized cleaners are designed to break down tough messes without harming your dog or the material of the lick mat. Look for cleaners with natural ingredients and avoid harsh chemicals that could irritate your pup’s tongue. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on dilution and usage for any cleaning solution.

beautiful border collie dog training with owner

4. DIY Baking Soda Paste

For a natural cleaning solution, you can try to make a baking soda paste. Mix a little baking soda with water to create a thick paste, then directly apply it to the stubborn food residue. Let it sit for 10-15 mins, then gently scrub with a soft brush before thoroughly rinsing with clean water.

Baking soda is a gentle yet practical cleaning agent, but remember, it’s slightly abrasive, so avoid scrubbing too hard on the lick mat itself.

closeup shot panting border collie standing field

Final Words

Keeping your dog’s lick mat clean might seem like an extra chore, but with this simple routine, you can ensure it’s always hygienic and ready for their next playtime. Remember, a quick soak, scrub, rinse, and dry after each use is all it takes! Plus, when your pup’s not busy licking away, storing the mat flat keeps it in top shape and prevents any warping.

If you have any questions about cleaning and caring for your lick mat, feel free to comment. And if you’re looking for a new, high-quality silicone lick mat, check out Loobani Lick Mats here!


About Zelda D.Nelson

As a lifelong dog lover and proud mom to two energetic rescue pups, I know firsthand how important puzzle toys are for providing dogs with much-needed mental and physical stimulation. After over a decade of experience raising well-adjusted, happy dogs, I joined the Loobani Pet team to help other pet parents discover the joy and benefits of dog puzzles. Through my work at Loobani Pet, I've become an expert on the ins and outs of various interactive dog toys. My goal is to simplify the selection process so you can easily pinpoint the perfect puzzles to match your pup's needs and lifestyle. Whether you need a toy to challenge your brainy breed, keep your power chewer occupied, or simply provide some rainy day fun, I've got you covered.