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How to Groom a Maltese: 10 Important and Helpful Tips


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Maltese Short Cut Maltese dog grooming

Tiny, white, and pretty adorable, the Maltese have been a popular breed for centuries, but those silky coats require a fair amount of grooming. If you’re planning on making the Maltese your new companion, you must be wondering what a typical grooming session might be like.

And if you’re planning on doing some of the grooming yourself, you’ve come to the right place! We have 10 tips that should help you groom your Maltese the right way, and you might even find it isn’t quite as difficult as you might have thought.


Just a Quick Note

The Maltese has a very fine and silky coat that grows continuously so it needs to be trimmed on a regular schedule. Although unless you plan on having a show dog, many Maltese owners keep their dog’s coats short, which is easier to maintain.

maltese korean cut
Image Credit: Jolanta Beinarovica, Shutterstock

Gather Your Supplies

Before we launch into the tips, although technically this could be considered the first tip, you will need some supplies.

What supplies you need depends on how much of the grooming you want to do yourself. But before you begin grooming, make sure your supplies are all close at hand.

  • Detangling spray
  • Dog shampoo (dog whitening shampoo is a good option)
  • Electric clippers
  • Grooming scissors
  • Nail trimmers or grinder
  • Pin brush
  • Slicker brush
  • Styptic powder
  • Tear stain cleaner
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste for dogs

divider-dog pawThe 10 Tips to Groom a Maltese

1. Begin With the Detangling Spray

You’ll want to invest in a good detangling spray because you’ll need to spray your dog’s coat before brushing. This is doubly important if you keep your Maltese’s coat long.

Don’t overspray – you’ll just want to lightly mist the coat, which will make it much easier to pull the brush through without getting too snagged on mats and tangles. And when spraying, avoid the face and only concentrate on the body.

Because the Maltese has silky fur, it’s actually closer to our own hair in texture, making it much more likely to become tangled.

smiling man grooming a dog purebreed maltese dog
Image Credit: Monika Wisniewska, Shutterstock

2. Use the Pin Brush First

You might have noticed that we listed two brushes in the supplies section, and there’s a good reason for it, which we’ll discuss in the next step.

Start by gently finger-combing your dog’s coat to break up any tangles. Use the pin brush on any mats you find, then brush it through the length of your dog’s coat. Always brush in the direction of the natural growth from the roots to the ends.

Pin brushes work very well by removing mats and additionally help with straightening the coat.

3. Next Use the Slicker Brush

Once the mats are removed, you can move onto the slicker brush. The slicker brush should glide effortlessly through your dog’s hair without hitting any snags. This step helps to remove any loose hair or tangles you may have missed.

If you encounter any difficult-to-remove mats, spritz them with the detangler and work them out with your fingers. But if the mat remains despite your best efforts, you might need to cut it out with scissors – very carefully!

Mats become heavy and pull on the skin, and they can be painful, so it’s essential to consistently brush your Maltese to avoid mats!

woman brushes a maltese dog with a brush
Image Credit: Ihar Halavachm, Shutterstock

4. Bath Time!

The Maltese only needs a bath about every 3 weeks or when necessary. But you don’t want to bathe them too often because it will dry out and irritate the skin. You can use dog shampoo with an oatmeal base to moisturize and smooth the skin. Or use a whitening shampoo, which will keep their coat blinding white!

Start brushing your dog before the bath, place them in a sink or tub, and thoroughly soak them with water. Next, apply the shampoo and lather it up. Read the directions, particularly if you’re using a whitening shampoo, which might require it to sit on the coat for a few minutes.

Rinse well – you don’t want any residue left to dry out the skin. Be sure to avoid your dog’s ears and eyes.

Once your Maltese is all rinsed, wrap them up in a towel and remove as much moisture as possible. You don’t have to blow dry them, but if you choose to, keep the dryer on the lowest setting and coolest temperature and dry in sections.

5. Use the Grooming Wipes

Grooming wipes are optional but are an excellent way to refresh your dog’s coat in between baths. They are an effortless way to keep that coat white and smelling great – plus, they can help to moisturize their skin.

maltese dog at grooming salon
Image Credit: Rovsky, Shutterstock

6. Use the Tear Stain Cleaner

Tear stain cleaner is good to have when you have a white dog. The Maltese will develop tear stains, which discolor the fur under the eyes. The cleanser is designed to be used around the eyes, and you can also use it under the chin and around the mouth.

7. Trimming the Coat

You can go the easy route and have a groomer trim your Maltese about every 4 weeks. There are many styles to choose from – the teddy bear cut is a popular one with Maltese owners.

Otherwise, you can do the grooming yourself, so watch some videos on how to trim your dog. The longer the coat, the more maintenance they will need.

The hair around their eyes, ears, legs, and paws need trimming as well. If doing it yourself, you might need a helper as you don’t want to accidentally hurt your dog, particularly if you’re new to trimming dogs.

groomer cutting the hair of a maltese dog
Image Credit: Rovsky, Shutterstock

8. Clean the Ears

You’ll need to clean the ears with an ear cleaner – be sure to read the instructions. Put some drops in the ears, massage them gently, and wipe them clean using a cotton cloth or cotton balls. Avoid Q-tips, which push the wax and dirt further into the ear.

The hair inside the ears needs occasional plucking, but this should be left to a groomer, or you can ask your vet to teach you how to do it correctly.

9. The Paws Need Attention Next

Nail trimming is a necessary part of looking after a dog, which should be done about every three weeks. A good rule of thumb is that when you hear their nails clicking on your floors, it’s definitely time for a trim.

Use nail clippers meant for a small dog or a nail grinder. You’ll need to start by trimming a little bit at a time because you don’t want to nick the quick, which is a vein that runs through the middle of the dog’s nails.

This is where the styptic powder is helpful – if you nick the quick, dab some powder on it, and the blood will stop immediately.

You’ll also need to trim some of the excess hair between their pads and toes. You can do this yourself if your dog holds very still, but otherwise, it should be left to a groomer.

woman sitting on the sofa and hugging and kissing her little white maltese dog in the room
Image Credit: KatMoy, Shutterstock

10. Brush the Teeth

Lastly, you’ll need to use a toothbrush and toothpaste for dogs and brush their teeth at least twice a week. It’s essential to use products for dogs, particularly the toothpaste, because human toothpaste can be toxic.

When brushing, use circular motions and concentrate on the back teeth, which can be a problem area for tartar. Additionally, your Maltese should have annual teeth cleaning by your veterinarian.


Grooming Schedule for the Maltese

This schedule depends on how you decide to keep your dog’s coat and how much time you have to spend on grooming. But the following schedule is recommended.


Your dog’s coat should be brushed every day, and don’t forget to use the detangler if they have a long coat. You can also use grooming wipes and eye cleaner daily.

grooming a white maltese dog in a pet salon
Image Credit: Ana Vorkapic Marosevic, Shutterstock

Every 2 Days

If your dog has a medium-length coat, they should be brushed every other day, and don’t forget to use the detangler.

Every 3 Days

Your Maltese likely only needs brushing once every 3 days if they have a short coat. You can use a dry shampoo formulated for dogs at this time if their coat seems a little oily.

woman brushes hair of her white maltese dog
Image Credit: Daniel Krason, Shutterstock

Every 3 Weeks

Roughly every 3 or 4 weeks, you should give your Maltese a bath, but you can bathe them sooner than this if they are dirty. Brush your dog before the bath and remember to use dog shampoo only.

Every 4 Weeks

This is when you need to clean your dog’s ears. You should also check the ears for the density of the hair inside, which might need plucking. Remember to do this only if you’ve been shown how.

puppy of maltese breed cleanses ears
Image Credit: Dushkin, Shutterstock

Every 5 to 6 Weeks

Trim your dog’s nails at this time unless you hear that telltale nail clicking sound when they walk. Otherwise, trim the nails when necessary.



As a Maltese owner, you have a definite advantage with this hypoallergenic dog. If you stay on top of the brushing, you’ll find they really don’t shed all that much, which can be a relief when it comes to cleaning the home and if you happen to have allergies.

The Maltese does need more grooming than other breeds, but many Maltese parents love spending that time with their dogs. Grooming your dog can be a bonding experience, so enjoy your time with this loving and gentle dog.

Featured Image Credit: Rovsky, Shutterstock

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