Although we all can appreciate how much our dogs love their squeaky toys, there is a point when they either need to be washed or replaced. In the effort to be sustainable (and to protect your pup’s favorite toys), washing grimy and stinky toys can be a good idea. Yet, the question remains: will toys with squeakers still squeak after getting wet?
First off, before washing any toy it’s best to examine them and decide whether they’re still safe and serving their original purpose. Did your pup play one too many games of tug-of-war with a rope toy? Or shake a Plush Toy until it fell apart at the seams? In order to avoid a big mess or, worse, a choking hazard, it’s best to have your dog say their goodbyes to a very well-used toy. (Or should we say, the remains of a toy.)
For those special but slobber-laden squeaker toys worth saving, here are a few tips on how to best wash them:
Washing Toys With Squeakers
If the toy is intact and in working order, take a look at its tag for washing instructions first. (That is, if the tag hasn’t been ripped off by puppy teeth.) The manufacturer’s instructions are always the best place to start. In the absence of instructions, follow the directions below. While there is no guarantee, many plush dog toys with plastic squeakers inside should make it out just fine after a hand wash or run though the washing machine.
Can Dog Toys Go In the Washing Machine?
In some instances, yes. While rubber or plastic balls and other hard toys are better off hand-washed, use your judgment of what washing cycle will work best for plush or rope toys. For instance, sturdier toys with squeakers can likely withstand a normal wash cycle. Just remember: squeakers or other interior fillings could be damaged by hot water. Use the cold or warm water functions instead.
Softer and older plush toys can be placed on gentle or delicate cycles. By using scent-free all natural laundry detergent, nasty microbes on dirty toys will still be killed and toys will come out sanitized. Or, if the toy has a lot of parts, consider even placing it inside a mesh bag beforehand.
Can Dog Toys Go In the Dryer?
Another affirmative! Once the wash cycle is finished, squeeze the toy gently in order to wring excess water out of it. When drying, make sure to use either the low heat cycle or, preferably, hang it in the sun to dry. Again, high heat could damage or even melt a plastic squeaker or other filling. Once the toy is dry, test out the squeaker. If there’s still any water inside, it may not function. In that case, try another low heat cycle or line dry!
In the cases of most high quality toys, drying should be no problem at all. Even the squeaker should survive its trip in the washer and dryer.
Can Rubber Dog Toys Be Washed?
Like plush squeaker toys, sticky and smelly rubber dog toys that smell can and should be washed. While it may be tempting to throw a rubber or plastic ball in with a dishwashing cycle, the heat could maim and melt the toy. If the toy isn’t all natural, this level of heat could also release chemicals, thus making it unsafe for your pup to play with. Thus, as always, it’s important to check the care instructions for the toy first.
Unless explicitly stated to be dishwasher safe, hand wash rubber toys in a warm tub or sink instead. Always use an all-natural and scent free antibacterial soap. (Remember, your dog is putting this toy back in their mouth!) In the case of drool or other debris stuck in crevices, try using a toothbrush or other type of scrubber to get the rubber toy completely clean.
Can You Bleach Dog Toys?
NO! While some companies claim that bleach is safe for use as long as it’s washed off thoroughly, even when consumed in tiny amounts, bleach can be toxic. Thus, considering that your dog could care less about the appearance of a previously white and fluffy toy, skip the bleach. Instead, they would prefer that toy returned to them with a natural smell and taste.
In the case of a seriously dirty toy that reeks of mold or mildew, try using an all-natural detergent in the washing machine or all-natural dishwasher soap for hand washing. Or, consider mixing together one part white vinegar and one part warm water and letting the toy soak before scrubbing. If after one or two washes the toy still smells icky, it’s best to discard it. While this can be difficult to do to a toy your dog has loved for months or even years, it’s the safest decision. No matter the type, toys can always be replaced!
What Toys Are Safe For Washing?
When in doubt, stick with all-natural toys crafted with resilience and safety in mind. BARK carries numerous categories of unique toys, including these Plush Toys that contain squeakers, crinkly insides or other fun surprises.
The best part? All of the toys are made in the U.S. and are safe to clean. Plus, when in doubt, you can always reach out to the company for advice about when and how to wash toys, as well as when to replace them.
Don’t Forget About BARKBOX!
Even if you wash your dogs toys on the regular, it stands to reason that they’re going to degrade over time. That being the case, they’ll probably need to be replaced at some point.
That’s where BarkBox comes in. With BarkBox, you’ll get a carefully curated selection of toys, treats, and chews delivered to your door each month. That’s plenty to keep your pup stocked in toys they love—at least until the next delivery!