How to Safely Clean Dog Toys
Dirt, grime and slobber can quickly build up on your dog’s favourite toys, making them smelly and potentially harmful to your dog. But before you think of sending them to dog toy heaven, you may be able to get them looking as good as new again with a simple DIY clean.
Are dirty dog toys dangerous?
Your dog’s toys have to be pretty resilient to stand up to the constant chewing and playing. However, dog toys can harbour nasty germs, bacteria and other pathogens if they are not regularly cleaned. Regularly cleaning your pups favourite toys will keep harmful germs at bay.
Keep or Bin?
Most dog play toys can be cleaned, however it’s a good idea to bin any toys that are in bad shape and potentially harmful to your pooch.
Toys to consider binning include:
- Toys with pieces missing caused by intense chewing.
- Any stuffed toys that have parts hanging off which could cause choking.
- Toys that your dog may be eating, rather than just playing with.
How to Clean Dog Toys
Most dog toys will have cleaning instructions on the label or packaging. Wherever possible, follow the manufacturers recommendations for cleaning the toys. If the tag has been removed, then search for instructions on the brands website or follow toy cleaning guidelines.
Some dog toys can be cleaned in the dishwasher or microwave, however if that is not an option for you, there is a safe DIY option. Mix one-part distilled white vinegar and one-part water and leave the toys to soak for 30 minutes. If the toys are packed with deep grime and dirt, there are a range of pet-friendly cleaning products on the market.
The cleaning method will be dependant on the type of toy. From plastic and rubber toys to rope and soft toys, here are the best methods for cleaning.
Hard Dog Toys
Plastic, rubber and nylon chew toys are a great way to keep your dog entertained and their teeth clean. But these toys require regular cleaning to minimise germs and bacteria in your home. Some hard toys can be cleaned in the dishwasher, however only clean them in the dishwasher if the manufacturer’s guidelines state that the toy is dishwasher safe. The extreme temperatures of a dishwasher may damage the structure of the toy and potentially release harmful chemicals.
Once the toys are clean, thoroughly rinse them with clean water and leave them to dry.
Top tip: Plastic toys may fill with water when they are cleaned, so check for any water inside the toy before returning it to your dog’s play area.
Rope Dog Toys
Rope dog toys can be a little harder to clean than hard plastic toys, but it’s important to give them a thorough clean to kill bacteria, keeping your pup happy and healthy.
So, the easiest way to clean rope toys is to soak the toy in clean water and then microwave it on a high heat to kill any germs. Be careful when removing it from the microwave as it will be very hot and leave it to completely dry before allowing your dog to play with it again.
You can also sanitise rope toys in the washing machine – throw them in on a hot wash with no detergent and leave to dry.
Soft Dog Toys
The good news is most soft dog toys can be washed in the washing machine. You can use a dog-safe laundry detergent to clean and sanitise the toys or you can opt for a totally natural method of baking soda and white vinegar during the washing cycle.
Top tip: Clean the soft dog toys on a sunny day, so they can air dry naturally outside.
Dog Toy Maintenance
- Don’t leave dog toys outside. When left in the rain, dog toys can become a breeding ground for bacteria and mould. Even when its not raining, the sun can make toys brittle, faded and release dangerous chemicals.
- Inspect your fur babies toys every couple of weeks.
- When a toy is past its best, don’t be afraid to throw it away.
- Don’t forget the toy basket. Once you have cleaned all the toys, give the basket you keep them in a good clean too!