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How To Clean Dog Toys (& When To Toss Them)

I don’t know about you, but my living room floor is always covered in dog toys.

Anyway … the more toys we collect, the more I have to clean. While my pups aren’t big slobberers, the toys do still get dirty. Aside from any dust that may be collecting in the fabric fibers, my dogs hold the toys with their paws. The same paws that were just outside in the grass that they … okay, I think you catch my drift.

Since I want my dogs to put clean toys in their mouth (as I’m sure you do too), here are some quick cleaning tips!

How To Clean Plush Dog Toys

This is going to be way easier than you may have suspected — just toss the dirty toys in your washing machine! Be careful with the detergent, though. If you don’t use a mild, natural laundry detergent you can either go without detergent altogether OR sprinkle the toys with a little baking soda and a few capfuls of white vinegar. Once the cycle is done, pop those babies into the dryer. Make sure your dryer is set on low or air-only. You can also let the toys air dry.

The first time I washed my dog’s squeaky toys, I was a little nervous about the squeakers. I don’t think my dogs would have been happy with me if I broke the squeakers! I was pleasantly surprised, though, when the load was finished the squeakers worked just fine. While I’ve personally never had a problem with the squeakers, if you are concerned, you can always remove them before cleaning.

*Please note: High-quality toys should survive the washing machine just fine, but it’s always a good idea to check the toy’s label to make sure it doesn’t have a warning against the washing machine.

How To Clean Hard Dog Toys

Most hard toys and ropes can be cleaned in the dishwasher. Load your dog’s hard toys on the top rack and let them go for a spin. Just make sure to skip the dish detergent and use natural vinegar instead. The hot water and pressure alone should kill the germs, but the vinegar will give it a little extra power. Don’t worry about your pup’s toys smelling like a salad afterward. Once they dry, the vinegar smell will go away.

When Is It Time To Toss Your Pup’s Toy?

Is the stuffing falling out of your dog’s toy? Are the toy’s eyes or attachments dangling off? This could all be a choking hazard, meaning it’s time to either repair or toss the toy! Here are a few signs it’s time to retire a toy:

  • Heavily chewed and damaged

  • Stuffing popping out

  • Parts dangling off

  • Your dog is literally eating the toy

Happy cleaning!

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