Slobber, dirt and grime…OH MY. All of it builds up on your dog’s favorite toys – ick! Before you toss them, you may be able to make them squeaky clean again.

When to Clean or Toss:

Let’s be honest, at some point you will have to take stock of your dog’s toys and get rid of the ones that are in bad shape. For example, toys with pieces missing or that have been chewed heavily are best discarded for safety. Any toys with loose pieces like eyes hanging half off, or the stuffin’ is really coming out and 15 sews later it is time for a farewell, should also be discarded.

But, what about those tried and true that still have some valid and safe life in them. You know the ones that have been loved and adored and you definitely got your money’s worth out of it? The ones your fur baby runs to everyday, all day:

Cleaning Hard vs. Soft Toys:

The cleaning methods you use for hard versus soft dog toys will vary depending on the materials the toy is made from. Typically, hard rubber toys are some of the most durable toys out there and they are also very easy to clean – just soak them in warm soapy water then scrub by hand and rinse clean.

Some of these hard plastic and durable rubber can even be cleaned in the dishwasher, recommended top shelf, but they will get extra sanitized which is good!

Soft toys/braided, stuffed ones (that have officially survived) etc., are often a little harder to clean. It is important that you do so though, because they can easily become a breeding ground for bacteria or other pathogens. For rope toys, your best bet is to soak the toy in clean water and then microwave it for one minute on high heat as long as there are no melt-able material or ANY metallic fabrics on the tag or anything, that could spark and damage your microwave.

These can also often be put in the top shelf of the dishwasher with gentle cleaning detergent.

Video Courtesy of
Pup’s Place

Cleaning Products to Use:

If you decide you want to use cleaning products or the job demands it for the toy and you think good ol’ soap and hot water is not enough, there are some safe options:

  • The safest DIY option may be a vinegar and water solution – just mix one part distilled white vinegar with one part water and soak the toys for 30 minutes. After soaking, scrub the toys and rinse them clean
  • You may be able to use a weak bleach-and-water solution as an alternative, but be sure to thoroughly rinse the toys before giving them back to your dog and really it is not best on fabric material toys, the hard rubber toys, yes!
  • While there are many safe cleaning options out there, our household often goes to PUUR Home Natural All Purpose Cleaner, this really allows for cleanliness and safety for the whole furmily. (Always, read the label and consult with your Vet about potential allergens with any cleaning solutions you may use in your household around your fur baby.)

So when throwing away the toys is still not necessary and your fur baby literally loves their toy(s), give it a clean first and see how it all goes….you may just save the day and be a super hero!

Happy New Year, possibly with some OLD favorite toys!

Many purrs and barks,

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