Can You Wash Plush Dog Toys In The Washing Machine?



Can You Wash Plush Dog Toys In The Washing Machine

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Yes, you can wash plush dog toys in the washing machine. Here are some tips to do it safely:

Plush dog toys are a source of endless joy for our furry friends. They’re chewed, tugged, and snuggled often accumulating dirt, slobber, and who knows what else. So, can you toss these well-loved toys into the washing machine to give them a good clean? The answer is a resounding yes! Washing plush dog toys can help keep them fresh and safe for your canine companion.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the dos and don’ts, the steps to properly wash them, alternative methods, and answer some common questions to ensure your dog’s toys stay clean and cozy.

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


  • Choose the Right Washing Cycle: When it comes to plush dog toys, not all cycles are created equal. Typically, the Delicate, Hand Wash, or Gentle cycle is your best bet. These cycles are less aggressive and reduce the risk of damaging the toys.
  • Use a Mesh Laundry Bag: To protect your plush dog toys and prevent any loose pieces or parts from ending up in your washing machine, use a mesh laundry bag. This containment prevents damage to both the toys and your appliance.
  • Select Dog-Safe Laundry Detergent: It’s crucial to use a dog-safe laundry detergent or other natural cleaning methods. You can also create a simple cleaning solution by mixing one part white vinegar, two parts warm water, and a dash of lemon. Soak the toys in this solution for about 15 to 30 minutes before running them through the washing machine.
  • Thoroughly Dry the Toys: After washing, gently wring out any excess water from the plush toys. Ensure they are completely dry before returning them to your dog’s toy bin. This step is essential to prevent the development of mold or mildew.


  • Avoid Hot Water: Hot water can cause the plush toys to lose their shape or even melt if they contain synthetic materials. Stick to cold or lukewarm water to prevent damage.
  • Skip the Laundry Bag: Never wash plush dog toys without a mesh laundry bag or some form of containment. Loose pieces can damage your washing machine and pose a choking hazard to your dog.
  • Steer Clear of Harsh Detergents: Harsh detergents, bleach, or chemicals can be harmful to your dog if residue remains on the toys after washing. Always use a dog-safe detergent or opt for natural cleaning solutions.
  • Don’t Forget the Drying Step: Rushing the drying process can result in mold or mildew growth. Ensure the toys are thoroughly dry before returning them to your dog.

Steps To Wash Plush Dog Toys In The Washing Machine:

Now that you know the dos and don’ts, let’s outline the steps to wash plush dog toys in the washing machine properly:

Step 1

Gather the Toys: Collect all the plush dog toys that need cleaning. Inspect them for any loose parts, like buttons or eyes, and secure them if possible.

Step 2

Place in a Mesh Laundry Bag: Put the toys into a mesh laundry bag. If you have a variety of toy sizes, consider grouping them by size to ensure even cleaning.

Step 3

Choose the Right Cycle: Select a washing machine cycle suitable for delicate items, such as the Delicate, Hand Wash, or Gentle cycle. Set the water temperature to cold or lukewarm.

Step 4

Add Dog-Safe Detergent: Pour a dog-safe laundry detergent into the washing machine. Alternatively, use the homemade cleaning solution mentioned earlier: one part white vinegar, two parts warm water, and a dash of lemon.

Step 5

Start the Wash Cycle: Begin the washing machine cycle, and let it run until completion. The gentle agitation and cold water will help clean the toys without causing damage.

Step 6

Remove and Rinse: After the cycle finishes, remove the toys from the mesh laundry bag. Rinse them thoroughly under cold water to remove any detergent residue.

Step 7

Gently Wring Out Excess Water: Carefully squeeze the toys to remove excess water. Ensure they are not dripping wet.

Step 8

Air Dry Completely: Lay the plush dog toys out on a clean towel to air dry. Avoid direct sunlight and heat sources, as these can damage the toys. Allow them to dry thoroughly before returning them to your dog.

Alternative Washing Methods For Plush Dog Toys:

If you prefer not to use the washing machine, there are alternative methods to clean plush dog toys:

  • Hand Washing: Fill a basin or sink with cold or lukewarm water and add a dog-safe detergent or the vinegar-water-lemon solution mentioned earlier. Soak the toys for 15 to 30 minutes, then gently scrub them with a soft brush. Rinse thoroughly and air dry.
  • Spot Cleaning: For minor stains or quick touch-ups, spot cleaning is effective. Use a damp cloth with a mild dog-safe detergent or vinegar-water-lemon solution to clean the affected areas. Rinse with cold water and air dry.
  • Freezing: If your plush toys need a quick freshening up, consider placing them in a plastic bag and freezing them for a few hours. The cold will help kill odor-causing bacteria.
  • Steam Cleaning: Steam cleaners can effectively sanitize and freshen plush dog toys. Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific steam cleaner model.


Can I wash plush dog toys with electronic components in the washing machine?

Answer: Plush toys with electronic components, such as sound boxes or batteries, should not be washed in the machine. Instead, spot clean or follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.

Can I use my regular laundry detergent for plush dog toys?

Answer: It’s best to use a dog-safe laundry detergent to avoid any potential harm to your pet. Alternatively, try the vinegar-water-lemon solution mentioned earlier for a natural cleaning option.

How often should I wash my dog’s plush toys?

Answer: The frequency of washing depends on how often your dog plays with them and how dirty they become. A good rule of thumb is to wash them every few weeks or as needed.

My dog has allergies. Can I use a hypoallergenic detergent to wash the toys?

Answer: Yes, using a hypoallergenic detergent is a good choice if your dog has allergies. It can help reduce the risk of skin irritation or allergic reactions.

Can I speed up the drying process by using a dryer?

Answer: Avoid using a dryer, as the heat can damage the toys or melt any synthetic materials. Air drying is the safest method.

Final Words:

Washing plush dog toys in the washing machine is a convenient way to keep your dog’s cherished companions clean and hygienic. By following the dos and don’ts, choosing the right cycle, using a mesh laundry bag, and opting for dog-safe detergents, you can ensure that these toys remain in excellent condition for many play-filled days ahead.

Whether you choose the washing machine method or one of the alternative cleaning options, the result will be a set of clean, fresh, and safe toys for your furry friend to enjoy. After all, a clean toy is a happy toy, and a happy dog means a happy owner!

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