How to Wash Dog Toys: A Comprehensive Guide

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Author: Jeanette Hampton

Dogs are so obsessed with their toys and something which they keep their favourite toy with them wherever they go. Cleaning toys is something that pet owners are not particularly concerned about.

Dogs are very playful animals, and they constantly need something to do. All the dog parents keep some toys for their dogs, with which the dogs can pass their time when the owners cannot play with them.

Dogs play with their toys in bed, yard, park, on road, and where dirt and grime can get into contact. Since most dogs play with toys using their mouth, it is important to take care of their hygiene. To keep them playful and healthy, you need to know how to wash dog toys.

Let’s discuss how to wash different types of dog toys and what extra care you should take.

How to Wash Dog Toys According to Their Type?

Definitely, a dog’s immune system is much stronger than a human’s. So they can handle more bacteria than us. But unfortunately, when you realise that your dog can be in serious danger if you let anything enter its mouth, you start thinking about washing their toys.

If your dog has a raw diet and he plays with toys just after having a meal, then not only your dog but also all the people in your home are close to being sick. These diets contain Salmonella and Listeria, which are harmful to humans too. 

how to clean dog toy
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If you want to keep your dog from being contaminated with these bacteria, then wash their toys carefully. Before you start washing toys, you need to know what kind of toy you are cleaning. You should follow the cautions and guidelines attached by the manufacturer to the toys you bought.

If there are no manufacturer cleaning instructions or you have lost them, then check out our handy dog toy cleaning guide below.

How to Clean Stuffed or Rope Dog Toys

Make sure that your stuffed or rope dog toy doesn’t have any plastic pieces or glue attached to it. These types of toys are mostly stuffed with cloth or cotton. Therefore, they are good at absorbing. So it can carry dust mites in them. Many dogs are allergic to dust mites, so it is necessary to keep them clean.

You can wash stuffed and rope toys the same as you wash any other toys, using warm and hot water. Also if you see that the toy is not much dirty and you do not want to go into detail cleaning, I have a quick-wash method for you.

Before you start this quick-wash method, make sure there are no plastic or metal parts attached to it. First, soak the toy in water for about 5 minutes. Then wring out any excess water. After that, put it in the microwave for about 60 seconds. Finally, let it get fully dry.

How to wash stuffed dog toy
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You can also use a washing machine to clean stuffed and rope toys. You can choose any suitable cycle to wash. Normally, Delicate, / Gentle / Hand Wash is the best option to clean a toy. To remove all bacteria, viruses, and dust mites, use hot water (at least 140 °F). 

It is also reported that a 99.999% kill of water-borne microorganisms can be achieved at 149°F/65°C in five minutes of exposure.” stated by the NY department of health.

Toy with glue, plastic pieces, crinkles, or squeakers MUST be washed in cold water so that all those part doesn’t get damaged.

During the wash, use pet-safe detergent, not any normal detergent we use. As dogs are going to put toys in their mouth and it can invite danger if you use normal detergent.

Before the wash, remove all the tangible dirt stuck on a toy. Put warm water in a sink or bucket, then use a sponge or toothbrush with baking soda and vinegar to scrub gently and clean all the dirt. Also and. It will also help to control the bad odour of toys.

How to Clean Rubber, Plastic & Nylon Dog Toys

You might be thinking that you can wash rubber, plastic & nylon toys in the dishwasher. But you are wrong, if the label on the toy is saying that it is dishwasher-free, then only you can put it in the dishwasher. Otherwise, it can warp, crack, break or release harmful chemicals.

If you have lost the label or no specific information is printed on it, you can also visit their website and check whether that particular toy is dishwasher-safe or not. Also, you should check the material used to make it. You should avoid toys that are made from materials like PVC, BPA, phthalates, lead, cadmium, chromium, melamine, arsenic, and bromine.

How to wash plastic dog toy
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Before putting it in the dishwasher, you can clean it to remove excessive dirt and debris using a scrub brush and bottle brush.

You should use pet-safe dishwasher detergent. But also you can cover all the holes and spaces where the detergent can left behind after the wash. After the wash, do a quick water dip of all toys to remove excessive detergent and soap. This process will make sure that nothing harmful will enter your dog’s mouth.

The last step is to let it dry completely. Now, what if you do not have a dishwasher or do not want to wash your dog’s toy in your dishwasher? Let us find another way.

What About Using a Dishwasher?

In case you do not want to use your dishwasher or you fear that it might harm your pet, you can do hand cleaning. But before you start that, the first step will remain the same in both methods. Give a quick wash. Clean it to remove all the excess dirt and debris using a scrub and bottle brush.

Now put warm water in the sink or bucket and scrub the toys with a brush Using pet-safe antibacterial dish soap. Clean it thoroughly and try to use unscented soap.

the next step is to make your washing formula by adding 5% vinegar to 95% warm water. Again, scrub it and let it air dry. Moreover, you can also use vinegar and water solution half-half when you need to do deep cleaning.   

Cleaning Dog Toys Exposed to Viruses or Mites

If you think your dog or his toy may have been in contact with Parvovirus or mites then you should be careful. Parvovirus is also known as “Parvo“.The good thing is dogs can survive parvovirus but no one wants their dog to survive.

how to wash dog toys contacted with virus
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Usually, the vet recommends throwing that toy if it has been in contact with Parvovirus. But if you do not want to do that. The first thing you should do is clean the toy with bleach. “cleaning your pet’s cage or toy with a properly diluted bleach solution, followed by a thorough rinsing and airing out, is not expected to cause harm” Stated ASPCA.

To prevent infection from bacteria and viruses like parvovirus, the ideal proportion is 1:32 dilution.

  • To begin with, take a bottle of the container with a tight cap, so it does break down from bleach.
  • Pour ½ cup of 5.25% bleach into that container.
  • Now fill the container with water until it holds a full gallon. Make sure you keep that solution away from sunlight, children, and pets.
  • Now at least sock the toy for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing and drying.

Caring for Toys Between Cleanings

Until now you may be not taking washing dog toys seriously. I would tell you to spare some time to inspect, toss, or repair toys. It will make your dog happy. Generally, dog toys are made to be chewed, tugged, tossed, buried, and loved. If you think that your dog is a chewing machine, then you can try indestructible dog toys instead.

Do not leave toys outside. Because in summer, due to extreme heat, the toy can lose its strongness and also release harmful chemicals. Where in winter and rainy seasons, it can soak snow and water and it can become easily breakable.

Cleaning Chew Toys

Cleaning chew toys is little effort-taking work. Prior to washing chew toys, you should cover the hole and chewed part with tape. This will make sure that no cleaning product remains inside.

If your dog is chewing one particular toy too much, then the easiest thing you should do is throw that toy away as soon as possible. It might be hard for your dog for some days but it is for his own good.

Dog chewing toy
BarboraPeskova – Shutterstock

Sometimes dogs never leave their favourite toy, in that case, you can make a schedule for cleaning. You can divide toys into two groups. For fifteen days group A and for the other fifteen days use group B toys. In that fifteen days of spare time, you can peacefully wash his toys.

How Often Should I Wash My Dog’s Toys?

Honestly, you do not need to set any schedule to wash your dog’s toys. But if you are doing this, then ideally you should wash toys every two weeks. If your dog is using one particular toy more than any other, clean that one more often.

Are dirty dog toys dangerous?

Dogs are capable of handling many bacterias, viruses, germs, and pathogens. But still, those can be harmful to your dogs. Only cleaning their toys on weekly basis can save your dog from getting infected. Therefore, Dirty toys are considered dangerous.

How many toys should a puppy have?

There is no specific number that this much you should have. But in general, if you have a puppy then you should invest 10 to 15 toys. That will keep your puppy happy, healthy, and playful. If he is not a puppy anymore at least you should have 5 to 10 toys. Make sure you preserve 2-3 toys in case of emergency.

Can kongs go in the dishwasher?

Do not worry, go ahead. Rubber kongs are considered a top-rank dishwasher-safe toy. You can keep it with all other dishes and also use normal detergent. But make sure you read the product label carefully.

Can you wash dog toys with squeakers?

Never ever try to wash squeakers with soft dog toys. Neither in the dishwasher nor in the washing machine. Squeakers are made of soft plastic, heat can melt them and destroy other toys with it. You should wash the squeaker by hand with normal water and dish soap.

Final Thought

Clean toys, happy dogs!

Congratulation! you learnt how to wash dog toys. Now you know there is no rocket science in washing dog toys. You should wash your dog’s toys on weekly basis. It will not only keep you and your dog healthy, but also it will expand the life of the toy and make your place clean.

And lastly, unless toys have not been in contact with any virus, try to clean them rather than just throw it. Whenever you throw their favourite toy, you are breaking your dog’s heart. If you have any experience of washing dog toys or tips about cleaning you can share them with me in a comment below.


  1. Dog toy. (2022, November 6). In Wikipedia.
  2. Canine parvovirus. (n.d.). American Veterinary Medical Association. Retrieved January 18, 2024, from
  3. Tips to Prevent and Manage Canine Parvovirus in the Shelter. (2021, October 14). ASPCApro. Retrieved January 18, 2024, from
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Jeanette Hampton
Jeanette Hampton is a content writer at WWD and an expert on all things pets. She’s been writing pet blogs for over 5 years and knows everything there is to know about dogs. Jeanette enjoys writing about pet-related topics because she enjoys helping people learn more about their furry friends.

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