6-9 March 2025, The NEC Birmingham

How to clean cat and dog toys

Cat playing with toy

Our pets love their toys, and you only need to watch your cat or dog playing with a toy for a few minutes to realise that most toys usually end up in two places - in their mouth and ultimately on the floor.  That’s why it's essential to keep your pet's toys clean to promote good health and well-being. Regular cleaning can help prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses in your home, and it might extend the life of the toy too. Let’s take a look at some tips to help keep those toys squeaky clean.  

Soft toys

Soft toys for both cats and dogs can be cleaned in the washing machine using a mild detergent. Take a look at the care instructions tag to double check. Be sure to remove any plastic or metal parts before washing. For toys that can't be washed, use a damp cloth to wipe them down. 

Rubber and plastic toys 

Rubber and plastic toys can be washed in warm soapy water. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly and allow them to air dry before giving them back to your pet. 

Chew toys

Chew toys are only relevant for dogs. They can be cleaned by soaking them in a mixture of water and vinegar or water and baking soda for a few hours. Give them a good rinse off and let them dry before your dog chews on them again. 

Feather toys

Feather toys for cats can be cleaned using a damp cloth or by gently shaking them outside to remove any loose dirt or debris.

Puzzle toys 

Puzzle toys for both cats and dogs can be cleaned using a small brush or toothbrush. Be sure to clean all the nooks and crannies to remove any food or dirt buildup. Depending on the state of them, they may need a good soak in warm, soapy water first. 

Hints and tips

When cleaning your pet's toys, be sure to use pet-friendly cleaning products and avoid using harsh chemicals that could be harmful to your pet. It's also important to replace any toys that are showing signs of wear and tear, to prevent any choking hazards.  


Another handy tip for harder toys, like chew toys or puzzles, is to pop them on the top rack of your dishwasher on a hot cycle. The heat will sanitise them, and the hard water pressure will get into the nooks and crannies. If you don’t have a dishwasher, you can pop them in the washing machine instead. 

When it comes to your pet, toys should be a source of joy, not a source of bacteria. Keep them clean and replace any that are looking worse for wear, and your dog will thank you for it.