dog looking at his sanitize toys


When cleaning your dog’s toys, it is essential to ensure they have been disinfected and sanitized on top of being washed. This is essential to your wash routine to ensure our dog’s well-being.

I always start by cleaning hard debris and build up by brushing it off, which is followed by soaking them in a vinegar-infused soak with an added dash of lemon for 15-20 minutes or soaking them in diluted bleach (one tablespoon per gallon of water) for 5 minutes. Following the regular wash routine after.

Sanitization is different from disinfecting. Disinfection cleans all germs on a surface level, but sanitization ensures they have been reduced to safe levels. However, both processes aim to achieve the same goals.

NOTE: Different types of toys require different cleaning methods.

  • Adding lemon to your presoak of vinegar and baking soda helps further eliminate germs and bacteria. One part vinegar, two parts water, and a dash of lemon juice.
  • Vinegar is a powerful natural sanitizing agent and is perfect for pet’s sensitive to chemical products.
  • Adding Lysol to your wash when washing using washing machines.
  • Use 20 drops each of lemon essential oils or Teatree essential oils.
  • Drying your toys in sunlight, as UV rays further help disinfect them.
  • Wipe down the toys and place them in a presoak bleach solution before washing.

Using dishwashers and microwaves

a dishwasher filled with lots of colorful toys

CAUTION: Always read the instructions on the toy label before proceeding.

I regularly use microwaves to disinfect plush toys with no metal or plastic attachments. I place the damp toys on a microwave-safe dish and then microwave them on high power for 90 seconds. For rubber and silicone toys, the time slot is 60 seconds on high power, depending on the size, but be cautious as you don’t want them to overheat.

Some dishwashers come with built-in sanitizing cycles, so it is highly advisable to put them to use. Use the setting while washing your dog’s toys in the dishwasher. If not, you can always disinfect your load with pet-friendly options and hot water.

Benefits of Disinfecting Dog toys

Dog holding rope dog toy in his mouth

Improved Dog Health:

  • Reduces the risk of illness: Bacteria and viruses can harbor on dog toys, especially if they’re left outside or get wet. Disinfecting helps ensure your dog isn’t ingesting potentially harmful germs while playing. This is especially important for puppies, senior dogs, or dogs with compromised immune systems.
  • Reduces skin allergies: Some dogs develop allergies to dust mites, mold, or bacteria that can accumulate on toys. Regular disinfection can help alleviate these allergies, promoting itch-free, comfortable skin.
  • Freshens breath: Saliva buildup and organic matter can lead to bad doggy breath. Disinfecting helps eliminate these odor-causing agents, leading to fresher breath for your furry friend.

Enhanced Hygiene & Safety:

  • Reduced risk of zoonotic disease transmission: Certain bacteria and parasites that can infect dogs can also be transmitted to humans. Disinfecting dog toys minimizes the risk of you coming into contact with these harmful organisms.
  • Reduced odors: Toys harboring grime and bacteria can become quite smelly. Regular disinfection combats these odors, keeping your home environment more pleasant.
  • Prevents pest breeding: Dirt and debris buildup can attract insects and other pests. Disinfecting helps prevent them from taking refuge in your dog’s toys.

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