A dog laying up right looking at the camera.

How to wash and disinfect dog toys.

Last Updated: November 11, 2021

Dogs love their chew toys — but after a while, they get pretty gross. Keep them clean naturally and easily with these helpful tips.

Your furriest family member loves chewing on toys — but dirt, grime, and slobber can make toys a potential source of viruses and bacteria that could get not just your dog — but also you and your family sick.

Before you send Fido’s gross chewies to the Island of Misfit Toys, read up on how to wash them — you’ll save money on new replacements, protect your dog’s and family’s health, and keep your dog happy by preserving their favorite toy.

How to clean dog toys

When you buy a dog toy, take a look at the cleaning and care instructions listed on the tag. To clean that toy, follow the directions.

If the tag is long gone and you have no idea how you’re supposed to clean it, we’ve got you covered with lots of tips for getting all different types of dog toys clean.

Good hygiene is also important for keeping your dog healthy. Here’s how to clean your dog’s teeth and ears.

Illustration of a sink.

How to wash dog toys with squeakers

Never wash soft dog toys with squeakers in the dishwasher or washing machine. The high heat may melt the plastic and warp the toy (and nobody needs to see those sad dog eyes when you pull it out.)

Instead, wash your dog’s plastic squeaker toys by hand with your favorite natural dish soap— just like you do your dishes.

Illustration of a washing machine.

How to wash plush dog toys

Most plush dog toys can be machine-washed, but definitely use a pet-friendly laundry detergent when washing.

To boost the power of your detergent, add non-chlorine bleach or a cup of white vinegar to the water.

Wash on a regular cycle in hot water, then toss them in a medium-heat dryer or hang them to dry outside in the sun.

Read all about the other amazing things you can do for your laundry with oxygen bleach.

Mrs. Meyers cleaning products and Grove Co. cleaning caddy

Become a Grove member

Wondering who Grove is, what types of products we offer, and how to get a free gift set when you sign up? Learn more about flexible monthly shipments, customizing your shipment, and joining millions of happy households — no monthly fees or commitments required.

How to wash rope dog toys

Maybe you think you are your dog’s best friend, but your dog’s rope toy might have beaten you on that one. But, rope toys are made for tugging and chewing, they can harbor bacteria and grow mold — your dog has questionable friends.

To disinfect your dog’s rope toys, soak them in clean, hot water for a few minutes, then toss them in the microwave on high for one minute.

Alternatively, machine-wash in hot water, and machine dry on medium heat.

Illustration of a toothbrush

How to was hard or grooved dog toys

For hard dog toys made from rubber or recycled plastic, hand wash them with a pet-safe detergent.

If the rubber toy has grooves or holes, use an old toothbrush to reach them.

Wash and rinse thoroughly, and allow the toy to dry before tossing it back to the dog.

Grove Tip

How often should you clean dog toys?

Clean your four-legged friend’s playthings at least every couple of weeks.

If your dog plays with her toys frequently, or slobbers particularly heavily (lookin’ at you, mastiffs!) clean them at least weekly.

When should you toss out dog toys?

When dog toys are ripped, sharp, broken, or damaged, small parts can break off and choke your dog, including squeakers that get torn out.

Hard toys may have sharp edges once they crack or break and can injure your dog’s mouth — or stomach, if pieces get swallowed.

How to clean the dog bed

Illustration of a scary mattress with bacteria and ghosts

Dog beds quickly accumulate all manner of fur and filth, especially when it’s your dog’s favorite place to stay.

Between washes, vacuum the bed at least once a week.

When it’s time for a thorough washing, remove the cover, and check the care label to make sure it’s machine washable (it probably is.)

Then follow these steps:

  • Vacuum up excess fur and dirt before you wash it to protect your drains.
  • Use a safe, nontoxic detergent that won’t harm your puppy.
  • Use the hottest wash water possible (140–160 degrees F) to kill germs and bacteria.
  • Hang the cover to dry, or machine dry it on medium. Don’t use fabric softeners or dryer sheets .

Here’s how to deodorize the carpets — may as well do it while the dog bed is in the wash!

Read more from Grove.