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.
Here’s what I do… works like a charm for me!
How To Clean 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.
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!).
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!
This toy cleaning brush is great for cleaning rubber toys like Kongs and other treat-dispensing dog toys that happen to be long and narrow.
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.
Another bottle brush kit that would work well for cleaning dog toys is the Drinkwell Pet Fountain Cleaning Kit. But honestly, just about any bottle cleaning brush would do the job. I mostly like the one made by Bamboo company because it’s shaped just like a Kong toy — so it makes cleaning Kongs especially easy.
Before You Stuff Treats Inside Kong Toys For Dogs…
- Which Foods Are Okay For Dogs To Eat? (…check here first before you feed your dog something new)
- Reasons To Use Different Treats Inside The Kong Each Time (…variety is the spice of life – even for dogs!)
- Fun With Kongs: How To Switch Things Up A Bit (…with these tips, your dog will never tire of his Kong toy)
- Secrets Of Stuffing A Dog Kong Toy With Gooey Substances (…all the unique things you can use to gel all the items inside the Kong together)
I like to help Dog Parents find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about "outside the box" Dog Tips and Dog Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I’m a lifelong dog owner — currently have 2 mixed breed Golden Aussies that we found abandoned on the side of the road as puppies. I've always trained my own dogs and help friends train theirs, as well. Professionally, I worked at a vet and have several friends who are veterinarians — whom I consult with regularly. (And just because I love animals so much, I also worked at a Zoo for awhile!) I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). My daily motivation is to help first-time dog owners be better prepared from the first day your new puppy enters your home. I like to help dog owners understand what's 'normal' and what you can expect in terms of living with and training your dog — how to get through the ups & downs of potty training, chewing, teaching commands, getting your dog to listen, and everything else that takes place during that hectic first year! When I'm not training, walking, grooming, or making homemade treats for my dogs, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I've written over 500 articles for dog owners on this site!