Food & Treats

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!)

My dog's Kong toys after cleaning them.

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

But cleaning them isn’t quite so fun.

Following is exactly what I do when I’m cleaning Kong dog toys… and it works like a charm for me!

My dog's Kong toys on the counter waiting to be washed.


How To Clean Kong Toys

When you put things like peanut butter, cream cheese, honey, cottage cheese, meaty dog treats, canned dog food, baby 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.

My tips for cleaning Kong dog toys…

If your dogs are anything like mine, they’ll usually lick the insides perfectly clean. In that 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:


The Classic red Kong toy for dogs.#1 – I use my index finger (or sometimes my middle finger because it’s longer) to scrape out any remaining chunks of food particles inside the Kong toy.

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


The perfect brush for cleaning Kong dog toys!#2 – I use a pet toy cleaning brush to get everything that’s stuck to the inside walls of the Kong toy.

This one is great for rubber toys like Kongs and other treat-dispensing dog toys that happen to be long and narrow.

Since I’ve started to hand wash more of our Kong toys (rather than putting the rubber Kongs in the dishwasher — for the reasons mentioned below), I’m thrilled to have one of these to make the task of hand-washing them even easier!

NOTE: Surprisingly, this brush for cleaning Kong toys is not made by the Kong Company (it’s made by a company called Bamboo — they make a lot of top-quality dog products). I just love how it’s shaped so that it fits perfectly inside a Kong toy! As a bonus, the suction cup on the bottom keeps the brush upright — so it will air dry quickly.

This bottle brush set by Drinkwell works well for cleaning Kong dog toys as well.Another bottle brush kit that works well for cleaning dog toys (and other pet items) is the Drinkwell Pet Water Fountain Cleaning Kit.

But honestly, just about any long and narrow, slightly wide bottle cleaning brush will do the job.

I like the one made by Bamboo company because it’s shaped exactly like a Kong toy — so it makes cleaning Kong dog toys especially easy.


This is the Jumping Jack Kong toy for dogs

#3 – With uniquely shaped Kong toys (any that have very tiny ridges & openings), I use a thin and bristly bottle brush.

Sometimes a toothbrush will work to remove the food from all of the little nooks and crannies. But generally speaking, a toothbrush doesn’t work as well as a wire-bristled brush does. You need the firm bristles and sturdy wire base to scoop out food particles that become stuck in those tiny spots.

Kong goodie boneWith Kong bones that only have 2 large openings on either side, your finger fits inside each end perfectly (no matter what the size of your fingers are). This makes it easy 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.


Cleaning Kong dog toys in the dishwasher USED to be my primary method because it's so easy. But since I've noticed some of the rubber starting to deteriorate, I now hand wash them a lot of times instead.#4 – If the inside of a Kong toy happens to be particularly messy or there are tons of little ridges and grooves on the toy, then I just do a quick swipe with my finger inside the Kong and then I toss the Kong toy in the dishwasher (top shelf).

I have done this hundreds of times through the years with my dog’s Kong toys.

However, 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 — even when it’s perfectly clean and dry. I’m attributing this to the repeated heat and detergent from being cleaned in the dishwasher.

While, I’m not certain that’s the cause, 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.


Before You Stuff Treats Inside Kong Toys For Dogs…

Like this post? Save it to read again later… or share with others on Pinterest!

Tips for cleaning Kong dog toys