How To Clean Kong Toys When Your Dog’s Treats Are Stuck Inside

Kong toys are all the rage. (We own 16 of them… 2 dogs!)

Our dogs can have hours of fun trying to get the good stuff out of their Kong toys.

But cleaning them isn’t quite so fun.

kong-toys-before-washing  kong-toys-after-washing

Here’s what I do… works like a charm for me!


Cleaning Kong Toys


When you put things like peanut butter, cream cheese, honey, cottage cheese, meaty dog treats, canned dog food, and a whole host of other things inside a Kong toy, it’s likely to be a little “gunky” inside after your dog is finished with it.

As for cleaning Kongs…

If your dogs are anything like our dogs, they they’ll usually lick the insides perfectly clean — in which case, I just squirt a little dish soap inside the Kong, swish around a bit, then feel around with my finger to make sure there’s nothing stuck inside.

But on those occasions when they don’t empty their Kongs, here’s what I do:


#1.  Maybe I have larger hands (or fingers), I don’t know… but I’m able to use my index finger to scrape out any remaining chunks of peanut butter or dog treats inside the Kong toy.

Red kong toy for dogs.

My finger can just barely reach the bottom of the regular-sized Kong.

When there’s not much to clean out, I simply put a squirt of dish soap on my finger… wipe it around inside… and rinse thoroughly.


#2.  If the insides happen to be particularly messy, then I just do a quick swipe with my finger inside the Kong, then I toss the toy in the dishwasher (top shelf). I have done this hundreds of times.


I will say this… Of the 16 Kong toys we have (and use daily), 4 or 5 of them seem to be “softening” around the lip of the Kong. It’s kind of like the rubber is breaking down a bit around that area. It kind of feels “sticky” — when it’s perfectly clean and dry.

I am attributing this to the repeated heat and detergent from being cleaned in the dishwasher.

I’m not certain that this is the cause, but a friend of mine (who also uses Kongs daily with her dog) only hand washes her Kongs… they’ve never even been in the dishwasher once, and hers don’t appear to be breaking down like some of mine are.



#3. With uniquely shaped Kongs, or those with very tiny ridges & openings, I use a bristly bottle brush for the inside, and sometimes a toothbrush for the grooves along the outside.

Then I generally put those Kong toys into the dishwasher afterward to assure that the tiny cracks and crevices are cleaned.

On a related note, with those Kong bones which only have two large openings on either side… Your finger fits inside each end perfectly (no matter what the size of your fingers are!).

goodie-bone-kong-bone.jpg This makes it easy (although time-consuming) to wipe out each individual ridge. All it takes is one full swipe with your finger — from top to bottom — to clean out each individual groove.

I do this under a running faucet of warm/hot water. Then, I’ll typically place the Kong bone on the top shelf of of the dishwasher to further clean in between those tiny grooves.


UPDATE: They Finally Make A Dog Toy Cleaning Brush!

kong-cleaning-brush.jpg This toy cleaning brush comes in 2 sizes: Large/Extra Large or Small/Medium.

It’s great for cleaning rubber toys like Kongs and other treat-dispensing dog toys. And since I really don’t like putting rubber Kongs in the dishwasher (for reasons mentioned above), I’m trilled to have one of these Kong cleaning brushes.

Note: While it’s not made by the Kong Company (it’s made by a company called Bamboo, they make a lot of top-quality dog products!), it’s shaped such that it fits inside Kong toys perfectly!

As a bonus, the suction cup on the bottom keeps the brush upright to air dry quickly.

A couple of other similar dog toy brushes that would work well too are:


More About Kong Toys For Dogs

Lynnette Walczak

Lynnette Walczak

I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money -- so I frequently write about "outside the box" ideas that most wouldn't think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed several years until switching gears to pursue things I was more passionate about. I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo -- to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun websites).

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  • Brett

    Good article. Kong’s are a pain to clean but definitely worth it as per the enjoyment it gives our pets. I’m a soaker myself, fill up the sink and soaking the kongs makes them a bit easier to clean.