Sparkle & Smile

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Green Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Green Cleaning Tips for Your Pet’s Bowls & Toys

Your pet’s bowls and toys are probably not on your regular cleaning list, but they should be. Pet bowls, both food bowls and water bowls, build up with food leftovers mixed with your pet’s saliva. This creates the perfect environment for bacteria and microbes.  Vets and other experts actually recommend washing your pet’s food and water bowls daily. Pet toys have saliva that mixes with hair and dirt from floors and make the toys extremely dirty and smelly.  Experts recommend these toys be cleaned weekly.  Let’s look at some tips on how to clean these items:

Safe Cleaning Solutions for Food & Water Bowls

  • Natural Solutions: Never use traditional cleaners to clean either pet bowls or toys.  Our pets are extremely sensitive to the ingredients in cleaning products so avoid them at all costs.  Instead use items like baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide to clean pet bowls and toys.
  • Dishwasher Safe: If your pet’s bowls are dishwasher safe, that is a great option for disinfecting them. Use the hot water rinse cycle and hot air-drying cycle to make sure the bowls are rinsed well and disinfected.
  • Wash By Hand: If washing your pet bowls by hand, use distilled white vinegar as your “soap” and clean with a scrubby sponge by going over the bottom and sides of the bowl.  Rinse the bowls with very hot water and let them air dry.

Safe Cleaning Solutions for Pet Toys

  • Natural Solutions: Hard toys can be soaked in distilled white vinegar to kill bacteria. You can use a stiff toothbrush to clean crevices.  Let the toy soak in the vinegar for 10 to 15 minutes, scrub the surfaces, and then rinse with hot water and let them air dry.
  • Washing Machine: Stuffed pet toys can be placed in the washing machine. Use a mesh laundry bag and place the stuffed toys inside it.  Set the machine on the gentlest cycle so as not to damage the toys.  Instead of using traditional laundry detergent, use a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide in the soap dispenser.  The baking soda will help lift out the smells and the hydrogen peroxide will work to disinfect the toy.
  • If your pet’s toys are smelling a little funky and you just don’t have the time to put them in the washer, spray them with some distilled white vinegar and place them in a hot dryer. The acid in the vinegar and the heat in the dryer will work to kill the bacteria and get rid of the smells.

Regular cleaning of your pet’s bowls and toys is just as important as cleaning our own dishes. After all, they’re part of the family!

For more cleaning tips and tricks from our DIY green cleaning expert Leslie Reichert, visit


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