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How to clean dog toys.

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As I sit here writing this, I’m using one hand to type, balancing my laptop on my lap, and holding a toy Finny is happily tugging and pulling at.  

As long as I’m careful, so he doesn’t accidentally chomp my fingers this routine seems to work for both of us.
As I watch him wrestling with his toy, I decide it’s time to wash that one once his attention goes elsewhere.  I have a few toys that I’ve put aside for the next wash load.  

Yes, you can, and should wash your dog’s toys every so often.
Like anything else, toys get dirty and covered in bacteria and other pathogens.  

You wouldn’t put something visibly filthy in your mouth, but your dog doesn’t think twice about it.  

You can protect your pup (and you) from potential illness by regularly washing of their rubber, rope and stuffed toys.
Washing is great, but you need to do it safely.
Washing your pup’s prized possessions is quick and easy.. but a few details are needed to make sure it’s done properly and safely
To keep or not to keep
I’m not sure if you’ve read it or heard of it, but I’m a big fan of the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, Marie Kondo’s fantastic book about the joy of being organized, living with less (clutter) and loving what you choose to continue owning. 
Finny, on the other hand, seems to love all his toys.  

Every so often he’ll rediscover one that’s sat idle in the back of his toy pile for a while and he’ll happily toss it in the air, chase it, and chew it for hours.
I make an effort to do an inspection of his toys every now and again… looking for loose parts, seams needing mending, or anything potentially dangerous or beyond repair that should be tossed.  
Dog toys, for liability reasons usually state on their packaging that you should supervise your dog while playing with their toys. 

I think we’ll all agree that this doesn’t always happen.  

I find toys all over the house, on the deck, in his water bowl. Half the benefit of his toys is that Finny can play with them when I’m busy and keep himself entertained.
Whenever I’m doing a toy round-up, I check over each one, ensuring it’s still in good enough shape to be played with safely, and any that need repair, cleaning, or tossing get put aside.
How to clean dog toys

Cleaning methods vary depending on what type of toy it is, I’ve broken it down to rubber-type toys, stuffed toys, and rope toys.
Cleaning rubber-type toys (no rope attached)
These are probably the easiest to clean.  I simply wash mine in the sink like I would dishes.  I soak them first for 10ish minutes in hot soapy (regular hand wash dish soap) water, and then I scrub them by hand and rinse them clean.  

If you prefer not to use dish soap, vinegar and water is also an effective cleaner.  You’ll want to mix it 50/50. 
I choose not to use bleach personally, but I have heard of others using a weak solution of bleach and water.  Ingesting bleach is toxic to dogs, so I don’t take the chance. 

Whichever you chose, you’ll want to give them a very thorough rinse to make sure you remove any residue. 
Once washed, I place them on a rack to air-dry.  

This is actually the hardest part, and by now Finny has discovered his missing toys and is probably squealing in agony for them!  

You’ll want to squeeze any liquid out of them too, hence making them squeak, further torturing your poor puppy, sorry Finny!!!
Another great option for cleaning rubber-type toys is to wash them in the dishwasher.  

BUT!!!  Don't use dishwasher soap, you don’t want any of that residue on or in your squeaky toys!
Instead, you’ll want to run on the hot cycle with NO detergent. 

Generally, I use the top rack, although I don’t know if it makes any difference.  

The heat (again, choose the hot cycle) should be enough to kill any germs and clean the toy thoroughly. 

You’ll need to let the toys cool off and air dry before giving them back to your doggie.
Cleaning rope-type toys
Rope toys usually don’t get as visibly dirty as the rubber ones, but don’t let that fool you!
The best method I’ve found for cleaning these is to soak these toys in hot water, scrub off any visible dirt, wring them out a much as possible and then microwave them for a minute on high heat. 

The microwaving should kill any bacteria, and I’ve also heard it will kill any dust mites.  
Caution!!  You MUST be sure there are no metal parts on or in the toy.  If in doubt, go with the dishwasher method below.
Don’t use soap! As these are porous, its harder to remove all the soap residue from them then the rubber-type, so you want to avoid any chance of your dog sucking or chewing on soap residue.
Another option is to dishwasher these as well. Again, no soap, and hot cycle. 
Cleaning Stuffed toys
I generally will wash Finny’s stuff in the washing machine.  I buy Honest Brand detergent and feel comfortable using it for his blankets and stuffies.  

I generally add some vinegar to the wash, it’s a cheap and effective way to get rid of the doggy smell.
I choose to use the regular cycle, on warm, and then I dry the toys on low heat afterward.  

Most toys are made well enough to stand up to multiple washings/drys and if they aren’t, well then perhaps they aren’t durable enough to withstand puppy chewing!
And that's it!

Your dog will have clean toys to play with and chew on.. until they drag them outside and start burying them in the yard again!

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