HomeNewsHow to Wash Dog Toys Safely: Keeping Your Furry Friend Clean and Healthy

How to Wash Dog Toys Safely: Keeping Your Furry Friend Clean and Healthy


As a responsible pet owner, you want to ensure that every aspect of your dog's life is safe and healthy. One often overlooked aspect is the cleanliness of your dog's toys. Just like any other item your furry friend uses, dog toys can harbor dirt, bacteria, and even mold if not cleaned regularly. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of washing your dog's toys safely, keeping them fresh and your pet healthy.


In this post, we will delve into effective methods for washing your dog's toys, categorizing them based on washable and non-washable types. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your furry friend's playthings remain fresh, safe, and contribute positively to their health and happiness.


Why You Should Clean and Disinfect Dog Toys


Every dog has one cherished toy, their faithful companion that accompanies them on countless adventures. Whether it's exploring the house, romping in the yard, strolling on walks, or mingling at the dog park, that beloved toy is always by their side.


But have you ever stopped to consider the hidden dangers lurking within those well-loved playthings? Over time, dirt, oils, and bacteria stealthily seep into the pores and hair follicles of your dog's face, particularly around their chin area, causing irritating consequences. Picture small red bumps dotting their sensitive skin, sometimes even developing into unsightly pustules. It's a less-than-ideal situation, to say the least.


By diligently sanitizing your dog's toys and cleaning their bowls, you can swiftly reduce the occurrence of what is commonly known as 'puppy acne.' With proper maintenance of these items, this troublesome condition is unlikely to resurface, allowing your four-legged friend to revel in a clear and comfortable complexion.


But here's the thing: it's not just about your dog's well-being. Have you ever paused to consider the extent of contact we have with our furry companions' toys and the surfaces they come into contact with? And let's not forget the bacteria hitching a ride on your dog's saliva and in their mouth. It's a microbial paradise!


Without regular cleaning and disinfection, these bacterial intruders can spread like wildfire, infiltrating your home and potentially putting your family's health at risk. By taking the time to clean and disinfect your dog's toys, you're not only safeguarding their well-being but also creating a hygienic environment for yourself and your loved ones.


How Often You Should Clean Your Dog's Toys


Do you know that dog toys rank among the top 10 germiest items found in homes, according to a study conducted by the NSF International (National Sanitation Foundation)? With this alarming revelation, it becomes evident that regular cleaning is vital for keeping your dog's toys free from harmful bacteria. But how often should you embark on this sanitizing mission? Let's dive in and explore the recommended cleaning frequency for your furry friend's beloved playthings.


At a minimum, it is advisable to give your dog's toys a thorough cleaning once a month. This monthly cleaning routine helps eliminate accumulated dirt, grime, and potential pathogens that can compromise your pet's health. However, in an ideal world, stepping up your game to a weekly cleaning schedule is even better. By increasing the frequency, you ensure a consistently hygienic play environment for your furry companion.


Now, let's address those toys that endure intense play sessions, drenched in slobber, dirt, and an array of mysterious substances. For these hard-worn toys, it's prudent to clean them on a daily basis. This is particularly crucial if the toys have ventured beyond the confines of your home and backyard, exploring various environments that might introduce additional contaminants.


When it comes to cleaning your dog's toys, the approach varies based on the type of toy in question. Always refer to the packaging for any specific instructions provided by the manufacturer regarding cleaning do's and don'ts. This ensures that you employ the appropriate cleaning methods without inadvertently damaging the toy or compromising its integrity.


By adopting a regular cleaning routine and following the manufacturer's recommendations, you can maintain a safe and sanitary playtime for your beloved canine companion. So, let's embrace the responsibility of toy hygiene and prioritize the well-being of our furry friends.


Identifying Washable and Non-Washable Toys


Before you start cleaning your dog's toys, it's important to determine whether they are washable or non-washable. Many dog toys are designed to be easily cleaned, while others may have components that can be damaged by water. Check the label or packaging for any instructions regarding cleaning. If unsure, reach out to the manufacturer for guidance.


Washable toys can usually be safely submerged in water and cleaned using mild detergents. Non-washable toys, on the other hand, require alternative methods such as spot cleaning or sanitizing sprays. These toys typically include plush toys with electronic components or those made of delicate materials. Always exercise caution and follow the specific instructions provided for each type of toy.


Cleaning Methods for Washable Dog Toys


For washable dog toys, you have several effective cleaning methods to choose from:




Fill a sink or basin with warm water and add a small amount of dog-friendly detergent. Submerge the toys and gently scrub them with a soft brush or sponge. Pay attention to any crevices or hard-to-reach areas where dirt or saliva may have accumulated. Rinse the toys thoroughly with clean water and let them air dry completely before returning them to your pet.




Some washable toys, especially those made of hard rubber or plastic, can be placed in the dishwasher. Ensure the toys are dishwasher-safe by checking the label or manufacturer's instructions. Load the toys in the top rack of the dishwasher and run a gentle cycle using a mild detergent. Once the cycle is complete, allow the toys to air dry before giving them back to your furry friend.


Washing Machine


Certain fabric toys, such as rope toys or soft plush toys, can be safely cleaned in the washing machine. Check the toy's label for any specific washing instructions. Place the toys in a pillowcase or laundry bag to protect them, and wash them on a gentle cycle with a small amount of dog-friendly detergent. After washing, air dry the toys completely before giving them to your dog.


Cleaning Methods for Non-Washable Dog Toys


Non-washable dog toys require different cleaning approaches to maintain their cleanliness:


Spot cleaning


For toys that can't be fully submerged or exposed to water, spot cleaning is an effective method. Dampen a cloth or sponge with a mixture of warm water and mild detergent, and gently scrub the surface of the toy. Focus on the areas that are most frequently in contact with your dog's mouth. Afterward, use a clean, damp cloth to remove any soap residue. Finally, allow the toy to air dry completely before your pet resumes playing with it.


Sanitizing sprays


Some non-washable toys, particularly those with electronic components or delicate materials, can be sanitized using pet-friendly disinfectant sprays. Spray the toy thoroughly and ensure that all surfaces are covered. Follow the instructions on the disinfectant spray bottle regarding contact time, and allow the toy to air dry completely before returning it to your furry friend.




For toys that are made of sturdy materials but cannot withstand traditional washing or exposure to chemicals, freezing is a viable option. This method is particularly useful for plush toys that cannot be submerged in water. Place the toy in a sealable plastic bag and put it in the freezer for a few hours. The freezing temperatures will help kill bacteria and eliminate any odors. Once the freezing process is complete, remove the toy from the bag and allow it to return to room temperature. Give it a quick inspection to ensure it's dry and ready for play.


When Should You Get Rid of Toys


Dogs possess a wide range of play styles, varying from gentle nibbling to full-blown chewing frenzies. As a pet owner, it's important to recognize when it's time to bid farewell to your dog's toys. Here are some key factors to consider:


Excessive Chew Damage - If your dog is a hardcore chewer and has taken a liking to destroying toys, it's crucial to monitor the level of damage. When a toy becomes heavily chewed, the risk of choking or intestinal blockage increases significantly. Keep a close eye on toys that have endured intense chewing sessions and promptly retire those that show signs of disintegration, such as losing stuffing or displaying visible breakdowns in the material.


Safety Hazards - Pay attention to toys that may pose safety hazards to your pet. If a toy has small or detachable parts that could be swallowed, it's time to say goodbye. Additionally, if a toy develops sharp edges or rough surfaces that could potentially injure your dog's mouth or gums, it's best to remove it from their collection.


Worn or Damaged Material - Regularly inspect your dog's toys for signs of wear and tear. If the material starts to break down, chunk, or flake off, it can be a potential choking or ingestion risk. Toys that have lost their structural integrity or have extensive damage should be discarded to prevent any harm to your pet.


Hygiene Concerns - Toys can accumulate dirt, bacteria, and saliva over time. If a toy becomes difficult to clean thoroughly or shows signs of mold or mildew, it's best to err on the side of caution and part ways with it. Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene is essential for your dog's health and well-being.


Loss of Interest: Just like humans, dogs can lose interest in certain toys over time. If your dog consistently shows disinterest or ignores a particular toy during playtime, it may be time to rotate it out and introduce new toys to keep their excitement and engagement levels high.


When a dog toy becomes heavily chewed, the risk of choking or intestinal blockage increases significantly. For your pet's safety, always discard toys that are losing stuffing or have a visible breakdown in the material that may chunk or flake off.


Tips for Toy Maintenance


Taking care of your dog's toys goes beyond just cleaning them. Proper maintenance ensures their longevity, safety, and continued enjoyment. By following these tips for toy maintenance, you can keep your furry friend's playthings in pristine condition:


Regular Inspections


Set aside time to regularly inspect your dog's toys for any signs of wear and tear. Check for loose parts, torn fabric, or damaged seams. Dispose of any toys that pose potential hazards to your dog, such as small or sharp pieces that could be ingested or cause injury.


Rotate Toys


To prevent excessive wear and maintain interest, rotate your dog's toys regularly. Keep a few sets of toys and switch them out every few weeks. This not only prevents boredom but also allows for proper cleaning and drying between uses.


Size Appropriateness


Ensure that the toys you provide are suitable for your dog's size and breed. Toys that are too small pose a choking hazard, while oversized toys may be too heavy or difficult for your dog to play with comfortably.


Store Toys Properly


After playtime, encourage your dog to return their toys to a designated storage area. This not only helps with organization but also keeps toys from being scattered and potentially lost or damaged.


Avoid Sharing Toys


If your dog interacts with other dogs, it's best to avoid sharing toys between them. This helps prevent the transmission of germs, reduces the likelihood of conflicts arising over possessiveness, and allows for easier cleaning and maintenance of individual toys.


Outdoor Toy Care


If your dog enjoys outdoor play, make sure to clean and dry their toys after each use. Outdoor toys can accumulate dirt, mud, and even parasites. Regular cleaning prevents the buildup of bacteria and maintains the toy's integrity.


By incorporating these tips into your toy maintenance routine, you can ensure that your dog's playthings remain in excellent condition, providing endless entertainment and a safe play experience. Happy playtime for your furry companion awaits!




Keeping your dog's toys clean is an essential part of maintaining their overall health and well-being. Regular cleaning not only eliminates bacteria, dirt, and allergens but also ensures your dog enjoys a safe and hygienic playtime. By understanding the difference between washable and non-washable toys and employing the appropriate cleaning methods, you can keep your furry friend's toys fresh and enjoyable for a long time to come. Remember, a clean toy equals a happy, healthy dog.


By investing time and effort in toy maintenance, you provide your dog with a safe and engaging playtime experience. Regular inspections, rotating toys, and using appropriate cleaning methods contribute to their overall well-being and happiness. Additionally, ensuring that toys are appropriately sized, storing them properly, and avoiding toy sharing with other dogs further enhances their playtime safety.

Previous article
Next article