If you have dogs, you have dog toys. There's nothing worse than smelly dog toys! I'll show you how to clean dog toys in a safe, healthy, easy way! 
DIY,  Dogs,  Tips & Tricks

How To Clean Dog Toys

If you have dogs, you have dog toys. There’s nothing worse than smelly dog toys! I’ll show you how to clean dog toys in a safe, healthy, easy way!

If you have dogs, you have dog toys. There's nothing worse than smelly dog toys! I'll show you how to clean dog toys in a safe, healthy, easy way! 

How to Clean Dog Toys

We have two big dogs. They like toys and bones and balls and ropes of every shape and size. We also have a pool. They throw all kinds of toys in our pool during the summer months and while that might not seem like a big deal, then they drag them, soaking wet, out to the yard where they play with them and throw them in the dirt, etc. etc.




Long story short, our dog toys sometimes look pretty rough.

Can I put dog toys in the washer?

Yes! You can put anything in the washer, let’s be honest. Okay, maybe not anything but most things! I used to get sick of seeing the grungy dog toys laying around the yard and the house and I’d just go through and pitch the ones that looked bad or smelled gross. Eventually that gets expensive!

If you have dogs, you have dog toys. There's nothing worse than smelly dog toys! I'll show you how to clean dog toys in a safe, healthy, easy way! 

I recently discovered that there are a number of ways to clean them up and get them looking sparkly again! One of the easiest ways is to throw them in the washing machine!

How to clean dog toys in the washing machine:

  1. Round up all your gross looking dog toys and throw them in the washing machine.
  2. Set it to a small load (or bigger if necessary).
  3. Use hot water if you can. It’ll do the best job and it’ll help kill bacteria!
  4. Use an all natural laundry soap option!! *this is key* see below for more info!
  5. Throw in any paw wiping towels or puppy blankets that also need washing, it won’t hurt the process and you’ll get more done all at once!
  6. After they complete their cycle pull them out and lay them on a towel to dry if necessary.

If you have dogs, you have dog toys. There's nothing worse than smelly dog toys! I'll show you how to clean dog toys in a safe, healthy, easy way! 

Notes on washing dog toys in the laundry:

I use as natural of a cleaning soap as I can! You can use laundry detergent if you want but keep in mind that it’s full of chemicals. These are things that your dog is going to be coming into some seriously close contact with on a daily basis.

I don’t put them in the dryer because it makes a ton of noise and isn’t super energy efficient!




After they’re done washing I defuzz them a little bit if necessary. The tennis balls tend to shed after a wash or two.

If you use Castile soap you can throw some vinegar in on the rinse cycle to help everything come out nice and clean and fresh.

Before and After | How to Clean Dog Toys Results:

Okay, just look at Little Baby. Burton drags his sorry blue butt everywhere….and it shows! Not anymore!

If you have dogs, you have dog toys. There's nothing worse than smelly dog toys! I'll show you how to clean dog toys in a safe, healthy, easy way!  If you have dogs, you have dog toys. There's nothing worse than smelly dog toys! I'll show you how to clean dog toys in a safe, healthy, easy way! 

Recommended cleaning solutions for when I clean dog toys:

I’ve had good luck with a couple different options so I wanted to share them with you in case you aren’t sure what to try!

doTERRA OnGuard Cleaning Concentrate

This stuff is amazing and of course today, while I’m trying to wash toys and take pictures for the blog, I’m out! If you sign up as a wellness consultant you get amazing discounts for the whole year, wholesale pricing, etc. I’m happy to answer questions about that if need be but otherwise you can just order the OnGuard cleaner from the doTERRA site. It’s a great option for laundry, dishes, general home stuff. It does a lot, with a little, and disinfects like nobody’s business. My #1 pick for sure!

Castile Soap

The one I linked is a different brand than the one I used today but it’s a great price and with Prime shipping it arrives super fast. I order whatever is cheap when it comes to Castile soap and Amazon but I try and make sure it’s not got any extra weird ingredients. The whole point is for it to be natural and safe. I make my own foaming hand soap with Castile soap so I usually have some on hand. Thankfully today I did since I needed some when I decided to clean the dog toys!

If you have dogs, you have dog toys. There's nothing worse than smelly dog toys! I'll show you how to clean dog toys in a safe, healthy, easy way! 

Mrs. Meyer’s Laundry Detergent

Mrs. Meyer’s uses plant derived cleaners that are gentle and this stuff is pretty readily available so if you need a recommendation for something more user friendly, I’d go with this stuff. The lemon verbena smells awesome 🙂 a little bit goes a long way too which I love!

Nellie’s Non-Toxic Vegan Laundry Powder

Nellie’s also makes a great natural option. It’s vegan in case that’s a key point for you and it’s non-toxic which matters a lot to me when it comes to my pups and things that they’ll be carrying around in their mouth! There’s a reason it’s so dangerous for kids to get their hands on those laundry pods…yuck!



Other ways to clean dog toys:

I’ve had success cleaning dogs toys in a few other ways as well. I’ll share some tips on keeping those toys looking fresh and new below so you can give them a shot…you know, in case you like doing things the hard way 😉

  • Pre-soak! I’ve had a lot of luck presoaking rope toys especially in the sink with hot water and some cleaning solution. Helps get some of that weird puppy teething smell out of there as well.
  • Disinfecting the hard toys! I use vinegar on occasion or my OnGuard oils and cleaning solution to disinfect hard toys. Just fill up the sink, add your disinfecting agent, do a soak and then let the toys air dry. Much like cleaning little kids toys! You don’t want to let all that bacteria linger on toys, they’re laying all around the house after all!
  • Sunshine! Some of the cleanest toys we have have spent the day floating around the pool before they laid on the deck in the sunshine for a day or two. Sunshine will help kill any funky odors and lingering smells!! We do it with our blankets and our rugs on occasion, that fresh air smell is the best…and it works!
  • In the tub! Send those dog toys to the tub. When it comes to figuring out ways to clean dog toys you’ll get creative if you really don’t want to put them in the washing machine. I’ve put them all in the bathtub in the past and washed them up by hand. They definitely take longer to dry this way though!!

Why should I clean dog toys?

Are you still wondering what the heck all the fuss is about? Think about the surfaces that your dog toys touch? Do you touch them? Probably.

If you have dogs, you have dog toys. There's nothing worse than smelly dog toys! I'll show you how to clean dog toys in a safe, healthy, easy way! 

Do your kids touch them? Definitely. Do they end up in your babies mouth if you aren’t watching them like a hawk? More than likely. How about your furniture, do you like it covered in bacteria?

My dogs are allowed on the couches and sure, they have covers that we wash. But the truth is that these toys spend time on my floors, on my furniture, in my hands, and in my dogs mouth.




I want them to be clean and free of bacteria for the safety and health of the whole family!

Do you have more tips and tricks posts?

We sure do! Here are a few to check out!

Is it safe to clean dog toys?

Yes! I was surprised how well everything held up the first time I washed it. Every time since then I’m just amazed that they come out so clean and smelling great.

None of our toys have come out damaged, even the ones that went in with a little bit of damage didn’t get any worse.




You could try putting them in a delicates bag if you are worried about specific ones getting damaged!! This could also help if you are worried about them bouncing around in your washing machine!

Hi! I'm Meagen. I'm a pet fanatic, dog mom, rabbit mom, duck mom, okay you get it. I'm doing a little bit of everything over here! My world is always better when there's something furry leaving hair on all my black pants!

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