Listen up pet parents – cleaning your dog’s toys can be a tedious task, but it is necessary to keep them safe and healthy. In this article, you’ll learn how to clean a dog toy and why it is so important to do so regularly.

At Honest Pet Products we’re ultra conscious about the health of both OUR pets and YOUR pets so we wrote this dog toy cleaning guide to share with all pet owners.

The Importance Of Keeping Your Dog’s Toys Clean

Have you ever experienced bad doggy breath? Most often, it is caused by the bacteria and decaying organisms inside your dog’s mouth.

In addition to all the dirty surfaces and objects your dog puts in its mouth daily, bacteria can live on your pet’s toys, making them a breeding ground for disease and mould.

If you don’t clean your dog’s toys they can be at higher risk for mouth and stomach infections and dental issues.

We don’t just mean plush dog toys either (even though they can get really soggy and gross). All dog toys including rubber toys, rope toys, nylon toys and hemp toys should be washed periodically.

Even hemp, which is naturally antimicrobial, needs to be cleaned every now and then.

Here is a great video with some helpful tips by Jessica Fisher:


How To Clean Dog Toys

It is important to thoroughly clean your dog’s toys to get rid of harmful dirt, oils and bacteria.

You are better off using a natural soap or pet approved sanitizer than a chemical filled cleaning agent. Even with a good rinse, harsh chemicals can get left behind on the toy.

In particular, avoid chemicals like bleach, peroxide or Lysol products.

White vinegar is a natural disinfectant and is safe for your pet to ingest. Also, it is gentle enough to avoid breaking down the materials in the dog toy.

Here are the most important steps when cleaning your dog’s toy:

  • Remove dirt
  • Disinfect
  • Rinse
  • Dry
  • Check for structural damage

Finally, all toys have a certain life cycle. Even if your dog loves a certain toy very much but it has loose fibres or the rubber is breaking down, it is better to buy a new toy then let them ingest potentially harmful materials.

How to clean a dog toy natural vinegar soap water

How to clean a rubber dog toy

Most rubber dog toys that you buy from the pet store or online are easier to clean than soft dog toys like plush toys.

Dirty dog toys made from rubber can be scrubbed with soap or put in the dishwasher. Just make sure that the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions confirm that the product is dishwasher safe.

Make sure that there are no pieces of rubber or plastic that can come off as these pieces can become a choking hazard.

How to clean rope dog toys

Rope dog toys are harder to clean than hard dog toys because dirt and bacteria can get deep into the woven materials.

Rope toys are used for tug-of-war and fetch and are usually played with outside. This makes them much more likely to pick up germs.

Your dog’s slobber can become a breeding ground for bacteria if it seeps into a rope toy and is never washed.

When cleaning a rope dog toy, make sure to soak it in warm, soapy water for at least 10 minutes. For a deeper clean you can include white vinegar in the solution as well ask baking soda.

After soaking, rinse the toy and then let the toy air dry naturally.

How to clean stuffed dog toys with squeakers

You should always use cold water when cleaning plush toys and toys with squeakers to avoid damaging the filling and the squeaker inside.

You can put soft toys in the washing machine but make sure to run a cold cycle and to use a pet safe detergent.

Avoid putting nylon chew toys or rope toys in the washing machine that are too solid as they may damage the machine.

A natural laundry detergent should be good enough to kill bacteria and other pathogens.

Just remember, never use extreme heat on these products!

Cute dogs waiting for a treat and some clean dog toys

Cleaning Dog Toys FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked dog toy cleaning questions we get asked:

Can you put dog toys in the washing machine?

It depends on the toy.

Hard dog toys like rubber chew toys or some heavy nylon rope toys can damage your washing machine. Avoid the risk and just wash these products by hand.

Soft toys like plush dog toys, dog toys with squeakers, stuffed dog toys and hemp based dog toys can be run on a gentle cycle in cold water.

Do not put these toys in the dryer afterwards – let them completely dry naturally.

Always make sure to use a dog safe laundry detergent to avoid any chemical residue.

How do you disinfect a dog’s toy?

Soaking a dog’s toys regularly in soapy clean water or a vinegar and water solution is the best way to disinfect a toy.

Regular cleaning is the best way to prevent grime build up.

Most dogs prefer playing with clean dog toys than dirty toys but make sure you rinse off your cleaning solution before giving your dog back its favorite toy. No one likes a strong vinegar smell!

Is vinegar safe for dogs?

Vinegar is a natural liquid and is safe for dogs to ingest. Although some dogs are more sensitive than other, vinegar is preferred to chemical filled cleaning products.

The best vinegars to use are either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar and should be diluted with water before use.

The vinegar smell with evaporate after a good rinse and dry.

Use pet friendly cleaning products when cleaning your dog toy

How To Clean A Dog Toy – Summary

As a dog owner, the health of your pet is one of your greatest worries and is a top reason to regularly wash their toys.

Remember to always avoid cleaning products that contain dangerous chemicals, wash the toy in warm or cold water, hand wash delicate toys and throw out toys that have been severely damaged.

Share this article or write to us with some of your dog toy cleaning tips! We’re always looking for new and improved ways of keeping our pets happy.