How to Wash Dog Toys: Keeping Your Furry Friend's Playthings Clean and Safe

wash dog toys

Our beloved dogs are not just pets; they are cherished members of our families. We pamper them with treats, cozy beds, and, of course, an array of toys that keep them entertained for hours. But have you ever wondered how clean those toys are, especially after your furry friend has slobbered all over them or taken them on outdoor adventures?

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the importance of washing dog toys, methods to ensure their cleanliness, and tips for keeping your pet safe and healthy.

Why Cleaning Dog Toys Matters 

to wash dog toys

Dog toys accumulate dirt, grime, and bacteria over time, posing health risks to your pet. Regular cleaning not only safeguards your dog's health but also prolongs the life of their beloved playthings.

Risks of Dirty Dog Toys
dirty dog toys

Dirty dog toys can pose several risks to your pet's health and well-being. Here are some of the potential risks associated with dirty dog toys:

  1. Bacterial and Viral Infections: Dirty toys can harbor harmful bacteria and viruses. When your dog chews or plays with these toys, they may come into contact with these pathogens, increasing the risk of infections. Common bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli can thrive on dirty toys.

  2. Parasitic Infections: Outdoor toys, especially those left outside, can attract insects like fleas and ticks. These parasites can carry diseases and can easily transfer to your dog when they interact with the toys.

  3. Skin Irritations and Allergies: Accumulated dirt, dust, and allergens on dirty toys can lead to skin irritations and allergies in dogs. These can cause itching, redness, and discomfort for your pet.

  4. Gastrointestinal Issues: Dogs often put their toys in their mouths, and if these toys are dirty or contaminated, it's possible for your dog to ingest harmful substances. This can lead to gastrointestinal problems, including vomiting and diarrhea.

  5. Mold and Mildew Growth: Toys that have been exposed to moisture or not properly dried after cleaning can develop mold and mildew. Dogs may ingest or come into contact with these fungi, which can be toxic and lead to respiratory issues.

  6. Behavioral Changes: Dirty toys might lose their appeal to your dog. If they find their toys unattractive due to dirt and odor, it can result in decreased playtime and exercise, potentially leading to boredom and behavioral issues.

  7. Accidental Ingestion of Small Particles: Over time, dog toys can deteriorate, and small pieces may break off. If your dog ingests these small parts, it can lead to choking hazards or intestinal blockages.

  8. Unpleasant Odors: Dirty toys can emit foul odors that can make your living space less pleasant. It can also make it less enjoyable for you and your family to interact with your dog.

To mitigate these risks, it's essential to clean your dog's toys regularly and thoroughly. This includes washing, disinfecting, and inspecting the toys for signs of wear and tear. Additionally, rotating your dog's toys and providing a variety of clean, safe options can keep them engaged and reduce the chances of them using dirty toys.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your dog's toys not only promote their health and safety but also ensure that playtime remains enjoyable and stimulating for your beloved pet.

Prolonging Toy Durability 

Cleaning your dog's toys can prevent wear and tear, ensuring they last longer and saving you money in the long run.

Cleaning Dog Toys: A Step-by-Step Guide 

cleaning dog toys

Now that we understand why cleaning dog toys is crucial, let's delve into the process of keeping your pet's playthings spotless.

Gather Your Supplies 

Before you start cleaning, gather the necessary supplies:

  • Mild dish soap
  • A scrub brush
  • Hot water
  • Vinegar (optional)
  • Baking soda (optional)

Sorting the Toys 

Separate your dog's toys into different categories: plush toys, rubber toys, and interactive toys. This will help you choose the appropriate cleaning method for each type.

Cleaning Plush Toys

Plush toys can harbor the most dirt and bacteria. To clean them:

  1. Remove any loose dirt or debris by shaking the toy.
  2. Place the toy in a pillowcase and tie a knot.
  3. Wash it in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with mild detergent.
  4. Let it air dry completely before returning it to your dog.

Cleaning Rubber Toys 

Rubber toys are durable but require regular cleaning to prevent the buildup of dirt and bacteria.

  1. Soak the toys in a mixture of hot water and mild dish soap.
  2. Use a scrub brush to clean any crevices or textured areas.
  3. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.
  4. If necessary, soak them in a solution of water and vinegar (1:1) to disinfect.
  5. Rinse again and let them air dry.

Cleaning Interactive Toys

Interactive toys, like puzzle feeders, should be disassembled and cleaned according to the manufacturer's instructions. Ensure all parts are thoroughly dry before reassembling.

Maintaining Regular Cleaning

Make toy cleaning a routine, ideally once a week. This prevents the buildup of bacteria and allergens, ensuring your dog's continued health and enjoyment.

Safety Considerations

While cleaning your dog's toys, it's essential to keep safety in mind.

Avoid Toxic Cleaners

Never use harsh chemicals or cleaning agents that could be harmful if ingested by your dog. Stick to mild, pet-safe cleaning solutions.

Check for Damage 

Regularly inspect your dog's toys for signs of wear and tear. Discard any damaged toys that could pose a choking hazard.

Wash Your Hands

After handling dirty toys, wash your hands thoroughly to avoid transferring bacteria to yourself or your family members.


Keeping your dog's toys clean is a simple yet crucial aspect of responsible pet ownership. Regular cleaning not only protects your furry friend from potential health issues but also ensures that their toys remain in top condition. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your supplies, and give your canine companion's playthings the care they deserve.

FAQs (H2)

1. How often should I clean my dog's toys?

Regular cleaning is recommended, ideally once a week. However, use your discretion and clean them more frequently if they get visibly dirty.

2. Can I use bleach to clean dog toys?

No, bleach can be toxic to dogs. Stick to mild, pet-safe cleaning solutions or natural alternatives like vinegar and baking soda.

3. Are there any toys that cannot be cleaned?

Toys with electronic components should not be submerged in water. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning such toys.

4. Can I machine-wash all plush dog toys?

Check the care label on plush toys to ensure they are machine-washable. If not, spot clean them with a mild detergent.

5. What are some signs that my dog's toy needs to be replaced?

Signs of wear and tear, loose or broken parts, and an unpleasant odor are indicators that it's time to replace your dog's toy.

In conclusion, keeping your dog's toys clean is not just about hygiene; it's an essential part of responsible pet care. By following these simple steps and tips, you can ensure your furry friend enjoys safe and germ-free playtime with their beloved toys.