In a two dog household where anything stuffed, bouncy or squeaky gets gnawed on and drooled upon, we quickly realized that we might need to take more action than just playing fetch. Although you might not think about cleaning your pets toys, depending on how quickly they go through them, it can be an added bonus that results in a cleaner toy bin. If your dog is the type who is on a mission to gut anything with a squeaker or stuffing, then there's a good chance your toys don't actually last long enough to necessitate a washing. Although our own pets have a few toys that have suffered a quick and painless death, they do still have several favorites that have been around the house for years.
When our friends children visit our home, we always get a quick reminder to give our toys a wash. Although babies and dogs alike are quite resilient, there's something about a toybox filled with crusty drool-laden toys that says it's time for a quick freshening up.
For cloth toys, they are best washed on cold in your washing machine, after being placed in a delicate garment bag. Make sure to reduce the amount of soap you use, assuming the washer won't be 100% full of toys. If so, it could be time to give a once over and do some purging! When in doubt on how much soap to use, less is better.
Once done, remove from the wash and squeeze remaining water out. If you have the ability to line dry, pin them all up like prizes to be won at a carnival and give them an hour or so in the sun to dry out. Placing them in the dryer is just fine, make sure it's on low heat and if you're worried about them, place them inside a pillow case. You may also hand wash them in the sink, but we've never really had any dog toys that necessitated such delicate care (or we cared that much about instead of just buying a new one).
If you have plastic toys use a solution of 50% white vinegar to 50% water and allow them to soak (we use tape to cover any holes so we don't spend time shaking water out later on) for 30 minutes. Remove and use a nail brush to scrub the dirt off, rinse with fresh water and allow to dry.
Tennis balls can go in the wash, however they do require a bit of funk to make them safe for pets. New tennis balls aren't the best for your four legged friends, so make sure to throw them out back in the yard or take them to the park to give them their first coat of dirt and dust!
Do you clean your dog toys? Have a different method? Let us know below!
(Image: Sarah Rae Trover)