how to clean dog bowls & toys
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How to clean dog bowls and toys

Just like the plates and cutlery we use, dog bowls & toys need regular cleaning & sanitisation to keep your pooch in the best of health. Find out how here!

Along with ensuring your dog has regular exercise and a healthy diet, it’s your duty to keep your pet’s bowl and toys nice and clean. Dog bowls can attract all kinds of dirt and germs, and should be washed regularly, especially if they’re kept in your kitchen where food is prepared. A high level of hygiene is also required when it comes to your dog’s toys as dirt and germs ingested on these can easily cause stomach upsets and worse. So what do you need to know about cleaning dog toys or bowls? Read on to find our top tips below.

How to Clean a Ceramic or Plastic Dog Bowl

The majority of dog bowls are made from materials designed to be hard wearing, so they’re not that difficult to clean:

  1. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations to see if the ceramic or plastic dog bowl is dishwasher-proof – wash accordingly if it is.
  2. Otherwise, hand wash with a scrubbing sponge and a mild detergent, like Persil Washing Up liquid.
  3. Leave to soak in hot soapy water or a weak solution of vinegar and hot water to remove any crusted on food.
  4. If you want to be sure the bowl is extra clean soak it in a diluted solution of Domestos bleach and cold water (follow the instructions of the label and always test any product in a small area first).
  5. Rinse with cool, clean water and dry.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Dog Bowls

Stainless steel dog bowls are generally more hygienic than those made of other materials, but they can rust if they aren’t looked after properly and this is something you want to minimize for the sake of your dog’s health. You should:

  1. Avoid scratching the surface of the bowl with a scrubber – use a sponge or soft cloth and washing-up liquid to remove any food stains.
  2. Soak the bowl in a vinegar and warm water solution, or a bleach and cold water and cold water solution to sanitize.
  3. Rinse with clean water and dry.

NB: Consider rinsing your dog’s bowl each time you fill it with food or water, and give it a deep clean once a week.

How to Clean Dog Toys

These days, you’ll find most dog toys can be washed in the washing machine or the top rack of a dishwasher, depending on the materials they are made from.

You should always check the manufacturer’s instructions before washing them and then use the highest recommended temperature to remove any lingering dirt or bacteria that could affect your dog’s health.

Alternatively, as above, let your dog’s toys soak in bucket of warm water and white vinegar, or hot soapy water; scrub clean; rinse in cool water; and let air dry.

For more information on the ingredients in products mentioned in this tip, visit What’s in Unilever Products here.

Key Steps:

  • Check to see if your dog bowls are dishwasher safe, or whether they are only appropriate for hand washing.
  • Follow the rule of rinsing bowls daily, and washing weekly!
  • Clean toys according to the instructions on the label.

Top Tip


Dogs aren’t exactly known for their table manners – reduce the amount of mess they make in the kitchen by ensuring their bowls are sturdy, and by placing easy-to-wipe plastic mats underneath.