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Best & Safest Way To Clean Dog Toys

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Properly cleaning dog toys is important to prevent the growth of molds and the spread of bacteria that can cause illnesses.
  • Washing dog toys should be done at least once a week and immediately if they become very dirty.
  • Plush dog toys can be washed in the washer with pet-safe, nontoxic detergent, and tough stains can be scrubbed with a vinegar and baking soda paste.
  • Hard chew toys made of plastic or rubber should not be machine washed, but can be soaked in pet-safe antibacterial detergent and scrubbed.
  • Squeaky toys should not be washed in the washer unless specified in the instructions, but can be handwashed with mild and unscented detergent and soaked in vinegar and baking soda solution if needed.
A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Gold medalist veterinary student from UVAS Lahore writes captivating articles and is passionate about animal care.
Published on
Tuesday 2 April 2024
Last updated on
Monday 30 October 2023
Best/Safe Way To Clean Dog Toys
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Dogs spend their day gnawing, pawing, and licking their toys. Well, just imagine how much dirt, food, and saliva can get stuck in that. Moreover, to prevent your canines from being contaminated, you need to learn how to wash dog toys properly. 

What Is the Best Way to Clean Dog Toys? 

When dog toys aren’t properly cleaned, they can grow molds, which can also cause fungi allergies. Or, it can be home to many pathogenic bacteria that may cause deadly illnesses. Having said that, many owners ought to find the best way to wash dog toys. 

Canines can’t clean up after themselves. Hence, as pet owners, cleaning dog toys is and should always be our top priority. In addition, many types of dog toys also have various functions. So, one cleaning technique may not work in general for all types of toys. 

Well, washing dog toys must be done at least a week since that’s the general rule. However, if it gets too dirty, then it should be washed immediately. With that in mind, the easiest way to clean dirty dog toys is to wash them with unscented soap, particularly Castille soap and water. 

On the other hand, some toys require immense scrubbing since stains can stick like crazy on them. Also, dogs can ingest stains when they lick them off their toys, especially rubber ones. As a result, the only way to get those off is to scrub the toy with baking soda paste. Then, leave it for 5 to 10 minutes and rinse with warm water. Plus, baking soda has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, so using that is the best way how to sanitize dog toys.

Meanwhile, bleach isn’t the best detergent to wash dog toys since it’s too strong and harmful. Thus, the ideal alternative to it is using vinegar. Just soak those dirty toys, for example, plushies in a 5% vinegar and 95% warm water solution and scrub or machine wash thoroughly. Afterward, rinse, and air dry, and you’re good to go. 

Why Should You Clean Your Dog’s Toys? 

Dirty dog toys are health hazards. Bacteria and viruses can stick to those toys and cause your dog to be sick. Also, fecal matter or even fly eggs can contaminate them, hence making your furry companion susceptible to intestinal or even skin parasites. 

In addition, most veterinarians agree that unclean dog toys cause more harm than we think. Also, by not disinfecting dog toys, we put those toys at risk for potential reinfestation of pathogenic germs. For instance, Giardia or E.coli bacteria can stick to those toys and even infect humans. 

Plus, you should wash dog toys because molds grow on sloppy surfaces. Although, we find mold anywhere, little did we know these organisms are deadly to dogs? They cause multiple health risks such as Discospondylitis, lethargy, urinary tract infections, and even death. 

Disinfecting dog toys is a serious matter, thus pet owners need to comply without any questions. Well, in the worst scenarios, a dirty dog toy can be home to the deadly canine parvovirus. Unlike other viruses that die upon air contact, this one is rather aggressive. 

Moreover, parvovirus can survive for 6 months up to 1 year outside a host. It can also live on many surfaces such as clothing, ground, shared toys, and even human skin. Simply put, your dog isn’t safe at all. 

How to Wash Plush Dog Toys

Plush dog toys are furry and fluffy. Yet, whenever dogs chew on them, they absorb saliva which when accumulated, causes a bad odor. Moreover, what’s worse is that they may attract flies to lay eggs on them or also cause dirt to build up and gather more germs. 

With those things in mind, many owners wonder how to wash plush dog toys. Take note that in finding the best way to wash dog toys, you need to consider important factors. First off, you need to do ample amounts of research as to the kind of cleaning materials you will use. Next, think about the contents of the toy. Well, if it’s a squeaky toy, then machine washing it is off the charts. 

Meanwhile, here are some ways most vets recommend on how to wash dog toys, especially plushies. 

  • You can put plush dog toys in the washer, yet, upon doing so, ensure that they don’t have tears. 
  • Use only pet-safe, nontoxic cleaning detergents. As much as possible, use fragrant-free ones since canines are sensitive to scents. 
  • In terms of tough stains, you may scrub the toy.
  • Afterward, sanitize with pet-safe or natural disinfectants such as hydrogen peroxide, lemon, or baking soda solution. 
  • Lastly, rinse thoroughly and tumble dry

How to Wash Hard Chew Toys

Washing hard chew toys requires a somewhat different process compared to cleaning plush toys. Hard chew toys such as those made from plastic or rubber aren’t machine washable unless specified by the company. Moreover, take note that heat from the washer can melt those toys, rendering them useless. 

Additionally, to clean hard dog toys, you need to have extra patience. That’s because those toys are extra slimy and that ordinary soap and water may not clean the gunk off. However, when done properly, it’s only fast and easy. Better yet, just follow the simple steps below.

  • Avoid tossing hard rubber toys in the washer unless stated specifically in the instruction manual. 
  • To disinfect dog toys, use only pet-safe antibacterial cleaning detergents
  • For hard-to-remove stains or gunks, soak the toys first with 5% white vinegar and a warm water solution for 10 minutes. 
  • Or, you can soak them in warm water and soap for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, scrub with a sponge or toothbrush.
  • Same with rope toys, to remove dried-up gunk, presoak them with soap and water. Then, toss them in the microwave for 1 minute to kill germs. 
  • Next, rinse thoroughly and air dry

How to Wash Squeaky Toys

There are lots of variations when it comes to squeaky toys. Some are plush while others come in gooey rubber material. However, a certain guideline remains the same though, and that’s to never wash a dog toy, whether squeaky or not unless stated in the instructions. 

Take note, squeakers are enclosed with plastic exteriors. Moreover, simply putting them inside the washer, may melt those plastics and damage your dog’s squeaky toy for life. Well, squeaky toys are pretty much easy to clean, and here is how you can do it. 

  • It’s safe to wash dog toys with detergent provided that you use a mild and unscented one. 
  • Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach, chlorine, and Lysol. 
  • If the squeaker is removable, then remove it. If not, just handwash your dog’s favorite squeaky toy. 
  • Hard squeaker toys may need to be soaked in vinegar and baking soda solution to loosen the grime and gunk. 
  • Water can clog the plush squeaker, so ensure to give it a few light squeezes to remove the liquid inside. 
  • Afterward, rinse thoroughly and hang it to let it air dry. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Dog’s Toys 

Dog toys are among the objects that can harbor many germs and infect your dog. Aside from that, what’s worse is that it can infect pet owners too. Well, if you’re asking a reasonable number of times as to how often to wash dog toys, then you’re in the right place. 

Many opinions vary in terms of the number of times pet toys should be washed. Some say it’s at least once a month, while others comment that it should be done weekly. Yet, that criteria may still vary depending on how dirty a dog toy is. For instance, a gunky and oily rubber chew toy is disgusting to smell and look at. Hence, the good rule of thumb is to wash them immediately.

Also, if you’re dealing with active dogs that frequently use their chew toys outdoors, then the ideal washing should be daily. Yet, take note that whether it’s an outdoor or indoor toy, the amount of bacteria and viruses that can stick to it is pretty much the same. Thus, to keep your dogs safe, sanitize chew toys regularly

Cleaning dog toys also depend on their quality. For example, if they’re too chewed or worn out, then it’s better to dispose of them. Further, that will prevent canines from having blockages due to ingesting torn rubber pieces. 

Other Tips for Cleaning Dog Toys 

The best way to wash dog toys is to do it as soon as it gets in a dirty stage. Well, don’t wait for it to get dirtier, just wash it immediately to prevent pathogenic germs from sticking to it. Also, if you want more ways how to wash dog toys, then here are some other helpful tips that can help you out. 

Rotate Dog Toys

Toys are important factors in a dog’s life. Moreover, if pet owners only own one set of toys, then most likely dogs won’t have anything to play with once it’s getting cleaned. To solve that dilemma, having a toy rotation system is ideal. Further, in that way owners can clean a single batch at the same time dogs play with their other set of toys. 

Use Natural Sanitizers

As much as possible, use only natural cleaning ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide or baking soda. Well, the main reason behind that is to avoid chemical poisoning or irritations to happen. Dogs chew their toys, hence the best way how to disinfect dog toys is to use non-toxic materials. 

Be Excited When Returning The Toys

Dogs imprint on toys the similar way they form emotional attachments to humans. Moreover, dogs do that by rubbing their scents all over a certain toy. With that in mind, those scents will be gone once they hit soap and water. Therefore, one way to keep your dog motivated in wanting his cleaned toy again is for the pet owners to be excited as well. 

Clean the Toy Bins as Well

Garbage bins contain twice as many bacteria and viruses. Come to think of it, even worn-out chew toys that contain germs are thrown in them. Hence, the main advantage of cleaning that out is reducing the number of pathogens present in your house. 

Can You Wash Dog Toys in a Washer? 

The best way to wash dog toys still depends on their variety. Well, plush toys are easy to clean since most of them are manufactured to be machine washable. Just toss them in the washer, then, add unscented pet-friendly detergents. Moreover, if you’re on a tight budget, natural cleaners such as borax, baking soda, lemon or alcohol will do the trick. 

In addition, if you want to wash plush squeaky toys in the washer, then that may or may not be possible. The reason for that is simple. The squeaker can melt upon heat contact inside the washer. Hence, that can damage toys, and the washer itself, or even release potentially unwanted chemical reactions in the air. However, if the instructions said that machine washing is possible, then you have nothing to worry about. 

Further, in terms of hard dog chew toys, machine washing isn’t possible. Well, grime and gunk won’t be removed by just constant spinning inside the washer. Instead, they need to be soaked and scrubbed thoroughly with a brush or sponge. 

Learning how to wash dog toys is a must. Moreover, in doing so, there are a few factors to take note of. The first and most important of all is variety. Keep in mind that not all toys are machine washable since some, especially rubber and squeaky toys require handwashing. Lastly, to be precise in terms of using cleaning products, it’s better to do your research or have vet consultations. 

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