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

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

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!


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:


#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.


#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.

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.


#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.

With 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.


#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…

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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 600 articles for dog owners on this site! Many of them have upwards of 200K shares.

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