How to Clean Plush Dog Toys

How to Clean Plush Dog Toys

Plush dog toys are beloved companions for our furry friends, providing hours of entertainment and comfort. However, with all the chewing, slobbering, and outdoor adventures, these toys can get dirty and germ-ridden over time.

Regular cleaning of plush dog toys is essential not only to maintain their appearance but, more importantly, to ensure the health and safety of your pet. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to effectively clean your dog's plush toys and keep them fresh and safe for playtime.

The Importance of Cleaning Plush Dog Toys

As pet owners, our dogs' well-being is of utmost importance. This extends beyond the basics of feeding and exercise and encompasses their playthings.

Plush dog toys, those cherished companions of countless tail wags and joyful barks, are not immune to the wear and tear of canine enthusiasm. However, it's not just about maintaining their appearance; it's about safeguarding your pet's health.

Below are a few reasons why cleaning plush dog toys is more than a chore – it's a vital aspect of responsible pet care.

Bacterial Buildup

Dogs are enthusiastic chewers and often carry their toys around in their mouths. This constant contact can transfer saliva and bacteria onto the toys, creating an environment ripe for bacterial growth. These germs can make your pet sick or cause skin irritations.

Allergen Removal

Over time, plush toys accumulate allergens like dust mites and pet dander. For humans with allergies or asthma, this can be a significant concern. Regular cleaning helps reduce allergen buildup, creating a healthier living environment for you and your pet.

Prolonged Lifespan

Cleaning plush dog toys is also an investment in the toys' longevity. A well-maintained toy will last longer, saving you money in the long run.

Odor Control

Pets' toys can develop unpleasant odors from saliva, dirt, and drool. Proper cleaning helps control these odors, keeping your home smelling fresh.

Now, let's get into the step-by-step process of cleaning plush dog toys to ensure they remain safe, sanitary, and enjoyable for your furry companion.

Materials You'll Need:

Before starting the cleaning process, gather the following materials:

  • Plush Dog Toys: Gather all the plush toys that need cleaning.
  • Laundry Bag: Use a laundry bag or pillowcase to protect the toys during washing.
  • Mild Detergent: Choose a gentle, pet-safe detergent.
  • White Vinegar: White vinegar is an effective natural disinfectant.
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda helps neutralize odors.
  • Toothbrush: A soft-bristle toothbrush is useful for scrubbing small areas.
  • Hose or Sink: You'll need access to water for rinsing.
  • Washing Machine (optional): For machine-washable toys.

Cleaning Process

Let’s take a closer look at the following seven steps:

Sorting the Toys

Begin by sorting the plush dog toys. Separate them into two categories: machine-washable and hand-washable. Check the toy's label for any specific cleaning instructions. Some plush toys may have removable parts that need special attention.

Machine-Washable Toys

Place machine-washable toys inside a laundry bag or pillowcase to protect them. Add some pet-safe detergent and run the toys through a gentle cycle in the washing machine. Make sure the water is cold or, at most, lukewarm to prevent any damage to the toys.

Hand-Washable Toys

Hand-washing is the best method for delicate plush toys or those with electronic components. Fill a basin or sink with cold water and add some pet-safe detergent. Submerge the toys and gently agitate the water. Allow them to soak for about 15-20 minutes.

Scrubbing and Rinsing:

After soaking, use a soft-bristle toothbrush to scrub any stubborn spots or crevices on the toys gently. Pay attention to seams and areas your dog frequently bites or licks. Rinse the toys thoroughly with cold water, ensuring all detergent is removed.


Mix one white vinegar solution with one part water to disinfect the toys and eliminate bacteria. Submerge the toys and let them soak for 10-15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly to remove the vinegar smell.

Odor Removal

For plush dog toys with lingering odors, sprinkle baking soda over them and let them sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Then, brush or shake off the baking soda and ensure the toys are completely dry.


Proper drying is essential to prevent mold growth. Squeeze excess water from the toys and pat them with a clean towel. You can let the air dry outside if the weather is suitable. Ensure that the toys are thoroughly dry before returning them to your dog.

Maintenance Tips

While cleaning your plush dog toys is essential, regular maintenance can extend their lifespan and ensure your furry friend's continued enjoyment. These simple tips will help you keep the toys in good shape and minimize the need for frequent cleaning.

  • Regularly inspect plush dog toys for signs of wear and tear. Replace toys with loose parts, holes, or damaged seams to prevent choking hazards.
  • Store toys in a clean, dry area to prevent them from collecting dust and dirt when not in use.
  • Consider purchasing machine-washable plush toys to simplify the cleaning process.
  • Rotate your dog's toys to keep them engaged and reduce the frequency of cleaning.

Your Pets Toys Should Be “Ruff”

Following these steps and integrating plush dog toy cleaning into your pet care routine can ensure a safer, healthier, and more enjoyable playtime for your four-legged friend. Remember that clean toys mean a happy and healthy pet, so remember to show some love to your furry companion.

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