Can You Wash Pet Toys In The Washing Machine?



Can You Wash Pet Toys In The Washing Machine

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Yes, many pet toys can be washed in the washing machine.

Pets bring joy, companionship, and an abundance of love into our lives. Whether you have a playful pup, a curious cat, or a feathery friend, their toys often become an integral part of your household. Over time, these cherished playthings can become quite the breeding ground for germs, dirt, and unpleasant odors. So, the question arises: Can you wash pet toys in the washing machine? The good news is that for many pet toys, the answer is a resounding yes.

In this informative guide, we’ll explore the dos and don’ts, provide step-by-step instructions, offer alternative cleaning methods, and answer some frequently asked questions to help you keep your furry friend’s toys clean and safe.

Dos and Don’ts of Wash Pet Toys In The Washing Machine


  • Choose the Right Cycle: When tossing pet toys into the washing machine, selecting the appropriate cycle is paramount. Generally, opt for the Delicate, Hand Wash, or Gentle cycle. These settings provide a thorough cleaning without the vigorous agitation that might damage delicate toys.
  • Use a Mesh Laundry Bag: Stuffed animals are beloved by pets but are especially prone to wear and tear during machine washing. To protect them and prevent any small pieces from escaping, place these toys in a mesh laundry bag before tossing them in with your regular laundry.
  • Select a Pet-Safe Detergent: Just as you would use a special detergent for baby clothes, it’s wise to choose a dog-safe laundry detergent. These detergents are formulated to be gentle on your pet’s skin and free from harmful chemicals.
  • Check for Glue and Plastic Parts: Before you press the start button, scrutinize the toys for any glue, plastic pieces, crinkles, or squeakers. If you find any, avoid washing them in hot water, as these elements may melt or become damaged.
  • Low Heat Drying: After the washing cycle, opt for a low heat setting when drying pet toys. High heat can cause certain materials to warp, shrink, or lose their shape.


  • Avoid Toys with Batteries: If your pet’s toy is powered by batteries, never attempt to wash it in the machine. The moisture can damage the electronics, rendering the toy unusable and potentially hazardous.
  • Skip the Harsh Detergents: Steer clear of harsh detergents, bleach, or any cleaning agents that could be toxic to your pet. Stick to pet-safe or natural alternatives.
  • Overload the Machine: While it’s tempting to clean all your pet’s toys in one go, avoid overloading the washing machine. This can lead to inefficient cleaning and potential damage to the toys.
  • Forget About Toy Inspection: Before every wash, take a few moments to inspect the toys for any loose threads, tears, or broken parts. Damaged toys can pose a choking hazard to your pet.
  • Machine Wash Soft Plush Toys Excessively: While the washing machine is a great tool for occasional cleaning, remember that excessive machine washing can cause plush toys to lose their softness and shape.

Steps To Washing Pet Toys in the Washing Machine:

Step 1

Gather Your Toys: Collect all your pet’s toys that need cleaning. Make sure to remove any batteries or electronic components from battery-operated toys.

Step 2

Inspect the Toys: Examine each toy carefully for loose parts, tears, or damage. Repair or discard any toys that are beyond repair.

Step 3

Pre-treat Stains: If you notice any stubborn stains, pre-treat them with a stain remover or a mixture of water and vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes before proceeding.

Step 4

Use a Mesh Bag: Place soft, stuffed toys inside a mesh laundry bag to protect them during the wash cycle. You can wash other non-stuffed toys directly in the machine.

Step 5

Select the Right Cycle: Choose the Delicate, Hand Wash, or Gentle cycle on your washing machine. Set the water temperature to cold or lukewarm.

Step 6

Add Pet-Safe Detergent: Pour the recommended amount of pet-safe laundry detergent into the detergent compartment. Avoid overloading the machine.

Step 7

Start the Cycle: Start the washing machine and allow it to complete the chosen cycle. This will ensure a thorough and gentle cleaning of your pet’s toys.

Step 8

Low Heat Drying: After the washing cycle is complete, transfer the toys to the dryer. Select a low heat setting to prevent any potential damage to the toys.

Step 9

Inspect and Play: Once the toys are dry, inspect them for cleanliness and any lingering odors. Your pet’s toys should now be fresh and ready for play.

Alternative Washing Methods For Pet Toys:

While machine washing is a convenient option for many pet toys, some toys may require alternative cleaning methods. Here are a few:

  • Hand Washing: Delicate or intricate toys that can’t withstand machine washing can be gently hand-washed using a mild detergent and lukewarm water. Rinse thoroughly and air dry.
  • Spot Cleaning: For smaller toys or toys with specific stains, spot cleaning with a damp cloth and a pet-safe cleaner can be effective.
  • Freezing: Placing hard, non-porous toys in the freezer for a few hours can help kill bacteria and remove odors. This method is especially useful for toys that are difficult to wash.
  • Steam Cleaning: Some pet toys, especially those made of hard rubber or plastic, can be sanitized using a handheld steam cleaner. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use.
  • Sunlight: Sunlight is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer. Leave toys outside in direct sunlight for a few hours to help eliminate germs and odors.


Can I wash catnip-infused toys in the washing machine?

Answer: Yes, you can wash catnip-infused toys in the washing machine using the gentle cycle. Ensure they are securely placed in a mesh bag to prevent the catnip from spreading inside the machine.

Are there any specific detergents I should avoid when washing pet toys?

Answer: Avoid detergents that contain harsh chemicals, bleach, or artificial fragrances. Opt for pet-safe or natural detergents to ensure your pet’s safety.

How often should I wash my pet’s toys?

Answer: The frequency of washing depends on your pet’s play habits and the type of toys they have. Generally, it’s a good idea to clean toys every few weeks or when they start to look or smell dirty.

Can I wash rope toys in the washing machine?

Answer: Rope toys can be machine-washed, but they may become frayed over time. Use a mesh bag to contain any loose fibers and wash them on a gentle cycle.

What should I do if my pet’s toys still have a lingering odor after washing?

Answer: If odors persist, try sprinkling baking soda on the toys and letting them sit for a few hours before shaking off the excess. This can help neutralize odors.

Final Words:

Keeping your pet’s toys clean is essential for their health and enjoyment. Many pet toys can indeed be washed in the washing machine, provided you follow the dos and don’ts outlined in this guide.

Choosing the right cycle, using a mesh bag, and selecting pet-safe detergent will help ensure your furry friend’s toys come out fresh and safe for playtime. And if machine washing isn’t suitable for a particular toy, there are alternative cleaning methods that can help maintain their cleanliness and durability.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your pet’s toys stay in great condition, promoting a happy and healthy environment for both you and your beloved companion.

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