By Destin Benoit
Last Updated July 27, 2021

Dogs love to chew their toys. If you can find a dog that doesn’t have a mountain of toys with various bits of damage, we’d be extremely surprised. We want our dogs to be happy and healthy, so it’s important to remember that dog toys can harbor as much bacteria as other surfaces around our homes. To prevent our pets from getting sick, washing their toys should become a crucial part of the weekly house chore list.

Learn How to Clean Dog Toys

To keep your dog’s toys from becoming another wasted purchase that eventually ends up in the garbage, we’ve put together a few tips for cleaning dog toys. By cleaning the dog toys that you already have, you may find that the damage to them isn’t as bad as it looks. Many toys are just covered in dirt, grass, and other substances, and these can be put through a washing machine or hand washed to breathe some new life back into them.

Instead of throwing dog toys away when they start looking a bit tatted, cleaning them of the bacteria and dirt that they are affected with has the potential to save you lots of money in the long run. No more will you throw out toys that barely lasted more than a week before your pup decided to dunk them into the water of a pond and ruin their squeakers.

How to Clean Plush Dog Toys

You have everything that you need at home to be able to care for the various toys that your pet has. Your dishwasher, washing machine, and your sink will all play a part in learning how to get the dirt out of the toys that your dog loves so much.

Let’s start with plush dog toys – the kind that are soft, furry, squishy, and don’t have any plastic elements.

The water pressure and the heat of the water from your washing machine will do a great job of cleaning your dog’s toys without any extra products, but for a clean that is sure to disinfect the toys and potentially rid them of stains, you’ll need to do a little more.

Plush dog toys can handle a little laundry detergent if that’s all you have to hand. Pop the plush toys into the washer, add the necessary chemicals in the form of detergent and set your machine on a short wash cycle. For heavily stained toys that are covered in grime, you may want to use a longer wash cycle and a more powerful cleaning product.

When in doubt, always go back to the basics with a little bit of baking soda and a couple of capfuls of white vinegar instead of using detergent. The combination of baking soda, white vinegar, and the heat from the water in the machine will kill off most (if not all) of the bacteria lingering in your dog’s plush toys.

When a toy needs to be cleaned of any grim that could be considered a hazard, you can use white vinegar. Many pet parents worry about using this condiment because of the strong vinegar smell, but once the toy dries, the scent of vinegar will be greatly diminished. White vinegar is better to use in this situation because it’s used as a universal cleaning product. When combined with baking soda and water, you can make an inexpensive and powerful water solution to clean any of your dog’s toys.

However, if your toy has stuffing hanging out of it, you may prefer to wash damaged plush toys by hand to avoid losing the stuffing. Plush toys may be placed in a dryer or air-dried once they have been washed. A dryer is faster, but you could hang them outside on a warm day.

Check out our guide on the Best Interactive Dog Toys.

How to Clean Rubber Toys

Onto rubber toys, though this can also apply to plastic toys. These types of dog toys often end up in the mouths of our pups, and dogs often don’t handle them with much care.

As well as being subject to getting chewed on by sharp teeth and slobber on by puppy mouths, rubber toy items are easier to break apart and often end up in the bottom of the toy bin once they get in an undesirable state.

In a lot of cases, these toys may find themselves in the garbage because of lost parts, teeth marks, missing tips, and a lot of other types of damage. But, if you have rubber toys that aren’t missing any parts, here’s a great way to clean them up for your pups:

Like plush toys, rubber toys can be washed in your kitchen appliances. Instead of the washing machine, it’s better to use a dishwasher cycle for these ones. The dishwasher enables a rubber toy to be cleaned with soap and heat, and will also take the toy through a swift drying process.

The dish soap that you use in your dishwasher shouldn’t be a hazard to use on the toys that your dog has. Typically, most soaps are safe to wash off dog toys. If you think about it, it’s not so different from washing the plates and cutlery that you eat off of. The machine will be able to kill the germs that are residing on the toys that have been in your dog’s mouth, on the floor, and dragged around your garden.

Washing your dog’s toys doesn’t need to be a difficult process.

Take a look at our article on the Best Indestructible Dog Toys.

How Can You Clean a Squeaker Toy?

Great question! Squeaker toys or squeaky toys are different types of beasts because you don’t really want to damage the squeaker inside the plastic or rubber casing of the toy.

For toys that have squeakers, remember to ensure that the toy is thoroughly dry before handing it back to your pup. Squeakers can retain water from the washing cycle, which will then create a mess that dog owners will have to clean up once their dog gets their paws and mouth back on their toy.

Can you wash dog toys with squeakers?

Yes, but be careful with them. Ideally, the best way to wash a squeaky toy is by hand. It may seem like a great idea to put the toy through your washing appliances and let the automatic dryer of a dishwasher do all the work for you, but, at times, washing by hand is the best solution. In this case, if you wash a squeaker toy by hand, you can control the article in question and wash only its surface. This will help you avoid getting excess water inside the squeaker, which may damage the toy and cause the squeaker to put up its own out-of-order sign. Squeakers can be finicky and very sensitive.

Young female stay at home during world epidemic quarantine, wear protective mask, use antiseptic for laptop, dog toy and hands

The Best Cleaning Products for Dog Toys

We’ve mentioned using the soaps and other items that you already have in your home to wash dishes or laundry, but here are some great cleaning solutions for washing the dirt from your dog’s toys:

  • Baking soda and white vinegar
  • Dog-safe laundry detergent
  • Pet disinfectant spray
  • Dog toy sanitizer spray

The basis of specific dog toy cleaning sprays is that human cleaners are formulated with a lot of chemicals. As a dog owner, you may not want to expose your dog to those chemicals. Pet sprays may not feel as effective, but the point here is that they are safer to use than whatever you wash your clothes with.

Why It’s Important to Clean Dog Toys

Toys can be breeding grounds for germs and bacteria. Food particles can get trapped in them and make way for mold and other nasty things that will grow on plush toys without you realizing it.

Make your toy bin a safer place for your dog to root around in by disinfecting it, as well as the toys. Your dogs will thank you!

FAQs:

Q: How do I clean a rope toy?

A: Like plush toys, rope toys used by your dogs can be put on a machine wash. You can also soak them in hot water and microwave them to kill off the bacteria. If you choose to microwave a toy, keep an eye on it while heating it up so that you don’t over-heat it.

Q: Should I clean natural toys and chews?

A: Natural chew toys like pig ears should not be cleaned like regular toys are. These are a kind of article that is one-use and washing them will destroy them and ruin the machine that you wash them in. Your dog can enjoy chewing on natural chews and toys until they need to be discarded.

You may also like our guide on the Best Chew Toys for Puppies and Best Dog Chews.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

A former Special Forces Canine Handler, Destin Benoit has extensive knowledge and experience with military canine training. He has worked with multiple military dogs in the most stressful places and situations in the world. Currently, Destin is a SOC Canine Handler, aiding in the protection of US diplomats abroad.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your name here
Please enter your comment!