The Ultimate Guide to Naturally Clean Dog Toys

Did you know you can naturally clean dog toys?

Most dog owners never think to wash their dogs toys. I mean, your dog puts all different kinds of bacteria in their mouth everyday, why would cleaning their toys matter?

Well, sometimes we can’t help what our dog eats outside our house, but we can control what they chew on indoors.

Dirty dog toys can spread bacteria throughout your home as well as your dog’s mouth.

By regularly cleaning your dog’s toys, you’re helping their dental health as well as keeping your home sanitary. 

clean dog toys naturally how often

How Often You Should Wash Your Dog’s Toys

The maximum amount of time you should go between cleaning your dog’s toys is 2 weeks.

However, if your dog’s favorite toy is looking a little rough, clean it once a week to prevent an overgrowth of bacteria.

I wash Archie’s favorite rope once a week to keep it nice and fresh.

Cleaning toys regularly can help your dogs breath and prevent possible dental disorders later in life. 

Rubber, Plastic, & Nylon

Originally, I believed I could just toss all of my dog’s harder toys into the dishwasher to be cleaned.

I figured the heat would kill any bacteria on the toy and also leave it spotless.

While dishwashers do do this, they can also release harmful chemicals depending on the toy when heated to such extreme temperatures.

Some toys are dishwasher safe, but they will be clearly labeled as such when you buy them.

The better way to wash these toys is to let them sit in a 2:1 ratio of hot water with vinegar for 15 minutes, then scrub with a toothbrush.

To disinfect, let the toys sit in rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide for 5 mins. Both are natural bacteria killers.

Wash off with water and let dry before giving to your dog. 

clean dog toys naturally rope toys

Rope Toys

Archie’s favorite toys are anything with a rope attached to it.

He’s been a tug of war puppy pretty much since day one, when he would whip my husband’s pant leg back and forth as he got ready for work in the morning.

Because of this, we have a lot of ropes in the house. (Not quite enough to raise BDSM suspicions, but close.)

Since ropes are made of an absorbent material, they quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and mildew.

Luckily, rope toys are pretty simple to clean, and take minimal work.

First to disinfect, place the rope in a bowl of hot water and cook it in the microwave for 60 seconds.

Secondly, to clean the rope toy, just simply toss in the washing machine with other rope toys and dog blankets.

Just be careful not to overfill the machine or you’ll be untangling a tightly wound ball of ropes and blankets!

Plush Toys

We don’t have many plush toys in this house because Cali is a professional toy shredder.

Any plush toy that we’ve brought home has never made it to the next day.

In addition, I’m not a fan of squeakers in toys, so if we do get plush toys, they’re the krinkle ones without any stuffing.

However if you don’t have two pitbulls, it’s possible you have a dog that has a favorite plush toy.

This toy is constantly in their mouth whether they’re outside, in the car, or sleeping.

A well-loved toy like this is a bacteria wonderland, and should be cleaned at least once a week.

Wash these toys in the washing machine on a cold cycle to prevent melting any squeakers or krinkles.

If there are no krinkles or squeakers you can toss the toys in the dryer but if there are, simply let them air dry. 🙂

clean dog toys naturally when to throw out toys

When to Toss a Toy

At some point there will be a time when it’s time to toss a toy. There are two main reasons for tossing out a toy:

  • It’s has been chewed to a size small enough to become a choking hazard
  • It has been chewed to the point where it is impossible to clean. 

If you have strong chewers like I do, consider getting “indestructible dog toys” that will last longer and will be less likely to become a choking hazard. 


I hope this article has helped you learn how to clean dog toys and keep them free of bacteria. What toy is your dog’s favorite? Post a picture in the comments!

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