How To Disinfect Dog Toys To Keep Your Dog Safe And Healthy

How to disinfect dog toys

If your dog is anything like mine then they probably have a favorite toy that they constantly chew and carry around. As a dog parent, knowing exactly how to disinfect dog toys and clean them properly is important to keep your pup safe.

Our dogs toys have been through mud, dirt, dragged along the floor, grabbed by multiple human hands, and of course slobbered on. They definitely get to a point where they emit a funky odor…

I’m sure this sounds familiar since you’re reading this. So let’s go through exactly how to clean and disinfect dog toys.

How to Clean Dog Toys

Leaving any toy for a long period of time without a good cleaning can build up germs and can become a household hazard. Not just for your pup but for everyone else in the house.

That is why it’s important to know how to disinfect dog toys to make sure they are clean.

However, you want to avoid improper cleaning with the wrong cleaning products because they can cause more issues than solutions.

According to the American Kennel Club, “bleach, phenols, products with high chemical concentrations and some detergents can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and severe chemical burns.”

Ingredients that make disinfectants effective make them toxic for companion animals: alcohol, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, chemical compounds that contain the word “phenol,” etc.

Therefore, making sure to find the best pet-safe cleaning products is important.

Any dog-safe cleaning product you can use to scrub your dogs toys by hand, or machine wash them.

Toy companies will normally indicate if they are machine washable.

Here are some simple guidelines to follow:

Rubber, Plastic, or Nylon Chew Toys:

It’s definitely tempting to just throw all your dog toys in the dishwasher or laundry machine. Make sure to ONLY use this method if the manufacturer has specifically stated the toy is machine washable.

Machines can destroy toys when not properly suited for them. They can also cause toys to release potentially dangerous chemicals.

Hand washing these types of toys is very easy. Get some warm water in a sink or tub and antibacterial dish soap. Grab an old toothbrush or scrubber and start cleaning!

Once done getting through all the nicks and crannies rinse with clean water and allow the toys to fully dry.

Rope Toys:

This category of toys can be one of the worse for building up bacteria, germs, mold, moisture, and drool. Due to the absorbing nature of some rope fibers we need a different cleaning strategy for these toys.

In order to disinfect the dog toy and kill all the bacteria inside the rope toy we need to use the microwave (this applies to toys that are ONLY rope)!

To fully disinfect make sure you first soak the rope toy in water for a minute or so, then microwave the rope for about 1 minute to kill all the living bacteria inside the toy.

Furthermore, the microwave will only disinfect the toy, it won’t remove all the grime and dirt still on the toy. So, simply toss it in the laundry! Rope toys can be used in both washers and dryers!

Plush Toys (with or without squeakers, crinkles, or stuffing):

Similar to rope toys, plush toys can build up all sorts of bacteria, even more so than rope toys… Plush toys need to be cleaned more than any other type of toy because of this.

However, the good news is the best way to disinfect and clean them is to throw them in the washing machine!

In addition, make sure to select the appropriate wash cycle based on the material of the toy. Stronger, durable, plush toys will hold up against normal wash cycles.

It might be best to stick with warm and cold water to avoid any damage to your plush toys that contain stuffing, squeakers, or crinkle filling.

As an added option, if you think the toy might not be able to withstand the washer, consider using a mesh bag to prevent them from taking too much of a beating.

How To Clean Dog Tennis Balls

The next thing you might be wondering is how to disinfect dog toys like the classic tennis ball. It’s a fairly simple process, you soak them, scrub them, rinse them off, and then dry them.

Here is a process you can use:

Fill a sink, tub, or bucket with warm water. Then let the tennis balls soak in the water for half an hour. If they are really dirty it might be good to add a tiny bit of dishwashing detergent.

Next you will scrub each ball with a soft sponge or brush. You do not want to ruin the ball so no need to go crazy here.

Lastly, you will want to rinse off the balls with cold water and leave them out to dry!

Is It Safe To Bleach Dog Toys?

Normally when we want to disinfect something, it’s natural to think of bleach.

However, this is where many pet owners have a lot of concerns about the dangers towards their pets’ health.

Here is what we know about using bleach for disinfecting dog toys. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) claims that cleaning toys in bleach is fine, so long as it’s DILUTED and the toys are FULLY rinsed after cleaning.

The ASPCA even gives us a diluting bleach calculator for making sure the bleach we use is diluted enough for use on dog toys.

Use Vinegar to Clean and Disinfect Dog Toys

When we first learned how to disinfect dog toys we learned to use vinegar to clean our dogs toys instead of bleach. This is a natural cleaning product so it’s better for the environment, and better for our overall health.

Simply create a solution of half vinegar, half water to clean your dog’s toys!

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! A complete guide on how to disinfect dog toys to keep them clean and safe for our dogs and families!

We hope you found this information helpful. If you did please share our post so we can help more people keep their pets safe from the harm that comes from dirty toys!

Other posts you might find interesting:

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How To Train A Dog To Pick Up Toys And Put Them Away

Alec Littlejohn

Founder and Reviewer at Pawscessories. He is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! He grew up in a family of vets and to this day he helps out around the family clinic and shares his learnings on Pawscessories. Learn more about Alec's story here

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