Cleaning Dog Toys
Dog toys provide fun, stimulation and distraction, and are very effective against boredom, especially when your pet is home alone. But unfortunately, they get very dirty in a very short period of time. This is because for dogs, playing means mouthing or chewing, or both. As a result, your dog’s toys soon get a breeding ground for all kinds of germs, many of which pose a potential health risk not only to your pet but to you and your family members as well. For that reason it is of utmost importance to keep your dog’s toys clean. But it is also highly important to clean them safely.
Hot Soapy Water is Effective Against Most Germs
You don’t need any special products to clean your dog’s toys. On the contrary, an ordinary dish soap and hot water do the job perfectly when it comes to most dog toys that are made from rubber or plastic/vinyl. Simply fill the kitchen sink with hot water, add a little bit of dish soap and submerge your dog’s toys. If they are really dirty, let them soaking for a few minutes for the dirt, food remains, etc. to come loose. Wash every toy individually using a sponge or brush, rinse under running water and let them dry. Be sure to rinse thoroughly and shake or squeeze out excess water.
Simply Throw the Toys into the Dishwasher
Even more convenient and equally effective method to clean your dog’s toys is to simply wash them in the dishwasher. However, you are highly recommended not to use any detergents or rinse products. If not rinsed off thoroughly, they can be toxic for your dog. Instead of detergent, add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar which will kill the germs safely and effectively. Run the entire cycle, shake or squeeze out excess water and leave the toys to dry. Obviously, the dishwasher is appropriate for rubber and plastic/vinyl toys only but you can also use it to sanitize rope toys.
Wash Stuffed and Plush Toys in a Washing Machine
Before you run the washing machine, however, be sure to check whether the toys are suitable for machine washing and at which water temperature to wash them. Use detergent sparsely or don’t use it at all. Again, you may replace the detergent with white vinegar to kill the germs. And don’t worry, the toys won’t smell after vinegar. You may place washed toys in a dryer for a few minutes but you can also put them to air dry immediately.
Stay Away from Harsh Chemicals
Even if you rinse the toys carefully, tiny amounts of potentially very dangerous chemicals may remain on the inner or outer surfaces. The above mentioned methods are both safe and effective, so there is really no need to use any harsh chemicals to clean your pet’s toys. And remember, dog toys occasionally need to be replaced. So if the toy is really dirty or if it has any loose parts, tears or unpleasant smell even after washing it, simply throw it away and buy a new one.