Here's How to Know When to Toss Your Dog's Beds, Bowls or Toys

By CarolineGolon on Mar. 20, 2017


Do you know when to toss your dog's beds, bowls, toys or crates? The importance of cleaning your pet's bedding may be obvious, but the necessity of washing other items (such as water bowls) may not be as clear. Here's your definitive guide on how to keep your pet's beds, bowls, crates and toys in tip-top shape.

Beds and Blankets


How often do you wash your own bedding and blankets? Washing your pet’s bed and blankets on a regular basis is just as important. Clean bedding not only minimizes doggy smells, but also helps keep your dog’s skin and coat looking healthy. Dogs (and cats that are allowed outdoors) have a tendency to get into all sorts of icky things when they’re out in the world. Then they drag all the dirt, bacteria, allergens and sometimes pests like fleas back into the house—and often straight into their beds.

Wash your pet’s bedding weekly with a mild, perfume-free detergent using the hottest recommended water temperature. Check the bedding's care label to determine how hot you can go. While hotter water is better for cleaning and disinfecting, very hot water can sometimes shrink a detachable bed cover, making it difficult to slide the insert back in after washing. Also check to see if you can machine wash the foam insert, as well. If you can, go ahead and do so. If not, you can hand wash it in the bathtub with hot water and mild detergent.You may even consider adding some white vinegar to the water to help eliminate odors. Oh, and wash your pet’s items separately from your own to keep hair off your clothes.

If your pet sleeps in your bed, wash your own bedding once a week. The same goes for favorite household blankets that your pet may like to snuggle up in. Alternatively, keep two sets of bedding so you can change everything on a weekly basis with less of a hassle.



Your pet’s crate should also undergo a regular cleaning. How often depends on the way your pet uses the crate. Dr. Jessica Vogelsang recommends pet parents wash down crates once a week if used frequently.

Because crates are usually plastic or wire, they should be relatively easy to wash with a mild detergent and hose outside, or a sponge and towels inside. Use a disinfectant—a solution of one part vinegar to one part water works well—to fight bacteria. Let the disinfectant sit on the crate surfaces for 10 minutes and then rinse thoroughly.

Food and Water Dishes

Pet bowls and food dishes often go overlooked. In fact, a study by National Safety Federation (NSF) revealed that pet bowls are one of the germiest items in American homes. (Yikes!)

Because bacteria can grow quickly in food and water bowls, Dr. Vogelsang recommends washing them daily. Fresh, clean water is key to your pet’s overall health, so clean water bowls are critical to avoid bacteria that can harm your pet. Bacteria-ridden water can upset some pets’ stomachs, Dr. Vogelsang says. Most pet bowls are dishwasher safe, which makes them easy to clean and disinfect. Alternatively, you can wash them thoroughly with hot water and mild dish soap. Make it easy on yourself by having an extra set of food and water dishes ready to rotate.

Ceramic and stainless steel bowls are built to last a long time. Plastic dishes need to be replaced more frequently. “As soon as you see bumps, grooves or scratches in a plastic dish, it’s time to replace it,” Dr. Vogelsang says. Harmful bacteria can hide in those crevices. Chipped bowls and dishes should also be disposed of because sharp, flaking edges can injure your pet.

If your pet has a drinking fountain, give it a thorough cleaning on a regular basis. While the moving water in the fountain helps keep bacteria from settling as quickly as in a bowl, fountains do get dirty and slimy. Wash out all parts of the fountain with hot water and mild dish soap once a week. To remove any lime build up, soak the accompanying fountain dish in warm vinegar then clean with a cloth scouring pad. Rinse well before using.


Pet toys take a beating. In fact, the NSF’s study also placed pet toys in the top 10 germiest spots in our homes. Your pet's toys can be a source of coliform bacteria (including Staph bacteria), yeast and mold. 

Hand wash toys with hot water and mild dish soap. Alternatively, many toys—including rubber and even fabric ones—can be placed in the top shelf of the dishwasher for a deeper clean. Soft toys can benefit from a run through the washing machine on the sanitizing cycle, if available. Like your dog’s food dishes, be sure to wash toys separate from your family’s clothing.

For the safety of your pet, Dr. Vogelsang recommends pet parents be diligent about throwing away damaged toys. If a toy has a ripped seam, or the stuffing or a squeaker starts to come out, it’s time to toss it. The same goes for rubber toys that have been chewed so much they have sharp edges that could injure your pet. Cat toys typically have bells, feathers and other appendages. Make sure to throw away any that are damaged or loose, or have sharp edges.

As with bedding, keep durability in mind when selecting toys. Consider how washable they are and how hard your pet may be on them.

Tip: If you notice that your dog or cat has an affinity for a certain toy, consider buying a back up when that toy is ready for the trash. 


Like any other aspect of your dog or cat’s care, keeping belongings clean is an important part of keeping your pet—and your household—happy and healthy. Remember that dogs are creatures of habit. When you clean or replace their belongings, they may be hesitant. Make it easier for your pet to accept the change by incorporating something old (with a familiar scent) with the new. Place treats on or around a new item and offer praise when your pet start to use it. 



Looking for a crate that looks more like furniture? We have those.

You'll be bowled over by our fashionable feeding bowls and fountains.

Ready for some spring cleaning but don't know where to start? Start here.

There's never a bad time for a new toy. Just sayin'.

While you're spring cleaning, why not treat your dog to a spa day?

Did you know that many common household chemicals are poisonous to your pets? Learn more.



0 Kudos
by iClean Dog Wash
‎07-18-2016 11:29 PM

Excellent blog. This blog has a lot of information regarding my needs. I’ll defenately put it to good use.

Excellent blog. This blog has a lot of information regarding my needs. I’ll defenately put it to good use.

Posted on Jul. 18, 2016
by Shan
‎09-29-2016 01:27 AM

 This article is very good and informative. I was looking for an article like this to answer my queries. Thank you for your information. I will look forward to read more of your blogs

 This article is very good and informative. I was looking for an article like this to answer my queries. Thank you for your information. I will look forward to read more of your blogs

Posted on Sep. 29, 2016
by Pippa
‎03-05-2017 07:53 PM

Great tips on getting the hair off... dryer before washing!

Great tips on getting the hair off... dryer before washing!

Posted on Mar. 5, 2017
About the Author
  • Caroline Golon is a frequent contributor to sites like Vetstreet, Catster, Dogster, Mother Nature Network, ASPCA Parents,, Petfinder and more. She’s also the creator of Crayons & Collars, a site dedicated to busy families with pets and kids. You can find Golon many places online but she resides in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two young daughters. The Golons are dedicated staff members to a fluffy black cat named Pugsley who, obviously, runs the household.
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