It’s something that’s easy to forget. Cleaning dog toys never seem to really rank high on anyone’s to-do list. But, that doesn’t mean that your dog’s toys aren’t breeding grounds for bacteria and other nasties. Not to mention the grime and general build-up of dirt and debris that your dog’s toys will accumulate through everyday use. As such, we thought we’d give you the full run-down on cleaning dog toys, in a way that makes the process simple and manageable.
Why Do You Need To Wash Dog Toys?
With daily use around the house, picking up grass from walkies or their time in the yard, or simply those dog toys that are constantly in the mouths of our pets, it’s no secret that your pet’s toys are a breeding ground for bacteria. Of course, when your dog is having a play all over the floor, they don’t know that they’re picking up everything and anything.
Not to mention they can quickly become a hazard, if food particles or other debris isn’t removed regularly. Just imagine, your dog is happily chewing away on their pig ears, when it’s playtime! All the grime and germs from the food then sticks to your dog toys. So, the next time they come to play, they have the potential to ingest these rotten leftovers.
Then there’s the choking hazard of poorly-kept dog’s toys. After months of chewing, playing and general mess, cleaning your dog’s toys give pet parents the chance to give the toys a quick inspection. That way, there’s a much lower risk of any loose parts coming off and damaging any teeth, an eye or getting stuck in your dog’s throat.
How Often Should You Wash Dog Toys?
While your pup can’t tell you when their toys need cleaning, it’s always a good idea to wash your dog toys whenever they’ve had a good soiling. So, if you’ve come from the park and noticed that there’s grime all over them, given them a rinse in the washing machine. However, in general, all of your dog’s items should be washed at least every two weeks.
Any owner will tell you that they can’t always keep track of what toys are dirty and just how much their pup plays with their toys. However, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on their favorite toys, in particular. Naturally, we don’t expect dog owners to keep to a strict schedule – but this frequency gives a good basis on which to make the most out of your dog toys. And it keeps your dogs happy, too!
Essential Cleaning Products For Washing Dog Toys
Easily the biggest and the best option for cleaning dog toys, running water is an absolute essential. Whether that’s through the washing machine, or by using the water pressure of the hose outside, water is key to getting rid of the dirt on your pups’ toys.
Next, a good quality laundry detergent will be your best friend in cleaning fabric and rope toys. Just be sure to choose one with as few chemicals as possible. A good alternative is to use dish soap. Able to cut through grime and grease without much effort, dish soap uses chemicals that are safe to use on items that go in our mouths. They also kill bacteria without ruining the appeal of the toy itself. So, naturally, this can provide a lot of help when cleaning your pet’s toys.
White vinegar is a great choice for cleaning toys. It is completely natural and therefore is unlikely to harm your pet, no matter how many times you use it. It’s also extremely likely to be found around the home. If the vinegar smell can be a little overwhelming, give the toy a rinse under some water, which will wash away any remnants of the smell.
Baking powder is another great choice that is often found around the home. Capable of many uses, you can combine baking powder with vinegar for a powerful, natural detergent. It is especially effective on rubber toys that can’t be placed through a dishwasher cycle. Just be sure to give them a thorough clean under running water, once the process is completed.
The good news is you can even combine some of these cleaning products, to care for a dog toy. For example, using vinegar, baking powder and a water solution, you can get rid of the first layer of dirt on your pet’s toys. Then place them in the washing machine or dishwasher to keep your toys looking brand-new!
How To Clean Dog Toys
The biggest thing to remember when cleaning your dog toys is that strong detergents should NOT be used. While the items might be very dirty, some detergent options could poison your pet. As such, use products that are safe for your dogs to carry in their mouth. You should also avoid scented detergent, as these can often ruin some of the appeals of the toys themselves.
Finally, if the dog toys come with washing instructions, always follow these cleaning instructions over anything we may say here. While we always work to the best of our abilities to provide you with a comprehensive article and guide to cleaning dog toys, we don’t know the exact toy you are seeking to clean. Rather than risk destroying your dogs’ favourite squeaker in the dryer, follow the instructions given by the manufacturer, where possible.
Rubber dog toys and chew toys can be cleaned in a dishwasher. Just be sure to keep the dishwasher set to a rinse cycle only, as the heat can damage the toys. Especially soft rubber toys, which may warp under heat. Place the toy in the upper rack of the dishwasher for a quick and easy clean.
Tips For Machine Washing Toys
A washing machine can be a great way to cheat and save some time when washing rope toys. However, before placing the toys into the washing machine, it’s worth shifting some of the loose dirt first. This will ensure your washer won’t become bogged down with muck during each cycle. Therefore, you won’t then have to clean the washer as a result.
One good way to ensure toys with stuffing or squeakers don’t become damaged through this method, is to keep the spinning cycle low. With this method, the toy still gets washed, with any parts coming loose, stuffing pulling a great escape or squeakers losing their squeak. After all, nothing ruins the fun of playing with squeaker toys quite like finding out their squeaker stops making noise!
Again, most toys won’t deal well with the drying process of the machine. So, remove whatever article might need drying, before this cycle starts. Your dryer has the potential to ruin the structure of the toy, so most toys should be air-dried, by being hung on a line outside. Do be aware that dog toys can hold a lot of water – so expect them to drip dry!
Tips For Keeping Toys Clean
One way to keep the fun of squeakers and ensure your dogs’ favorite toy remains clean is to keep each toy in a toy bin. Most dogs will jump from one to the other, when playing, and this is the quickest way for them to spread bacteria between each toy.
As well as this, each toy should be kept indoors, as much as possible. Leaving a toy out in the rain can mean that this toy develops mold, which could be extremely dangerous for your pup.
Once a toy is best it’s best, it’s time to throw it away. We know it can be a little heartbreaking – but it’s for the best!