One of the main features of DDG products is that they are made to be tough. My goal is to make items that can withstand all of the adventures that our dogs encounter - and while the materials and construction are designed to be durable and resilient, there are a few normal 'wear and tear' things that can be expected to happen over time. Below are a few tips to help maintain and keep your gear looking fresher longer!
Various well-loved biothane collars.
Biothane is an extremely durable and resilient waterproof material so it requires little in the way of maintenance to keep it looking bright for a long time, but there are a few things you can do to help prolong the life. Regular cleaning with a gentle detergent and an old toothbrush can tackle most spots and dirt with ease - for the tougher stains, I recommend using a dab of rubbing alcohol in addition to the earlier mentioned items. Tarnish that has transferred from the metal hardware onto the biothane may require some additional scrubbing/muscle to remove, especially if intervals between cleaning are long.
While biothane is an incredibly versatile material that can withstand MOST of the dirt and grime it comes across, please note that it is not completely stain proof in all circumstances.
Leather is a natural, porous product that can lose moisture over time - especially with exposure to the elements. To help maintain moisture and prevent drying or cracking, it is highly recommended that leather be regularly oiled. If necessary, start by removing any dirt and grime on the leather by using a damp sponge and a glycerin soap to gently clean the surface followed by wiping with a clean dry cloth. Next, apply a thin coat of your preferred oil (I like to use olive oil!) to the collar. Let sit for a few minutes and then wipe off any remaining oil with a clean dry cloth. It is recommended to test any conditioning product on a small area first. **Note: cleaning and oiling may cause darkening of the leather.
With the exception of the solid brass options, all of the hardware pieces I use to construct my collars are coated or plated. This simply means that they are constructed from a durable base metal (often steel or zinc), coated with a secondary material such as copper for better adhesion, and then topped with the final layer that you see such as gold, rose gold, or nickel (or powder-coated in the case of the black hardware pieces).
Over time with use, it is normal for this coating to wear causing the colour of the hardware to change - this change is aesthetic only and does not affect the durability of the hardware. The rate and degree to which this finish wears can depend on a variety of factors such as how often your dog wears the collar and how rigorous their adventures in it are. Abrasive actions such as scratching, rubbing against other hardware components (martingale chains, leash clasps, ID tags, etc), or contact with hard/abrasive surfaces (rubbing against concrete or asphalt when doing leash dragging work, etc) will cause faster wear. Finish wearing is not a failure of the hardware and is not covered under the lifetime hardware warranty.
A 2.5 year old Rohirrim BT Collar in need of a good cleaning. While Luci has many collars, this is the one she is wearing 95% of the time - the once brass chain has turned silver from years of daily use but all of the original strength and durability remains.
Well-loved collars that show some finish wearing beginning on the buckle, d-ring, and edges of the quick release.
Tarnish is the grey gunk that you may see built up on metals over time - it even collects on your fine jewelry like gold and sterling silver. It is caused by a natural oxidation process and is a completely normal occurrence. The best way to keep tarnish from staining your dog's fur or the leather/biothane on the collars is to regularly polish the hardware - the less tarnish that is built up, the less possibility for transfer.
I recommend using an old toothbrush and a mild detergent to clean the hardware components. Tarnish can have a bit of a greasy, grimy feel - if the tarnish has been building up over a long period of time, it may require some muscle to scrub clean.
The grey seen here on the collar and hardware are natural tarnish - regularly polish hardware to minimize buildup and transfer to leather/biothane and your dog's fur.
Things to Avoid:
- Harsh cleaners, topical flea/tick products, and other various chemicals can cause colour change and finish wear - it is not recommended that these be used on the collars.
- Extreme heat can damage the biothane and the hardware finish so it is not recommended that items be washed in the dishwasher or washing machine on a heated cycle.
- While biothane is waterproof and therefore perfect for dogs that love to swim, it is important to allow the metal hardware components to dry - when not in use, it is best to allow all components to fully air out and dry before items are stored away. Avoid storing wet to prevent premature wearing of hardware components.
I hope these tips help you to get the most out of your DDG items - no collar is truly indestructible (as most of us know well from the experience of life with animals), but my goal is to get as close to that mark as possible. The aesthetics will change as the collar is worn, used, and lived in, but the durability and functionality will remain for years and years to come.
And don't forget! In the rare event that your metal hardware components do experience breakage or failure, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for complimentary repair.
Have any more maintenance, cleaning, or hardware related questions? Pop them into the comments below!
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