If you are a parent of babies or toddlers, you’ll know just how often toys and pretty much everything but food ends up in their mouths. By cleaning your child’s toys regularly, you will greatly reduce the chance of them getting exposed to nasty germs and viruses. So how often should you be cleaning your child’s toys? It’s recommended to do so at least once a month. In certain circumstances such as if you have had other children over for a playdate, if your child is sick or if they brought toys to the playground, it’s definitely a good idea to clean their toys after each of those events. Now most toys can be cleaned with a bucket of soapy water and a wet cloth, but some (especially wooden and plush) require something else. The best way to keep germs away from toys is to first CLEAN and then DISINFECT! Here is a list of the most common toys and how to best clean them!
Cleaning vs. Disinfecting toys
This really isn’t a “which is better” but more an explanation as to why each is an important step in keeping germs away from your child. Cleaning the toys with warm soapy water will merely remove the germs, whereas disinfecting will actually kill the germs. So I recommend starting with cleaning the toys and then proceeding to disinfect or sanitize!
Plastic toys are some of the easiest to clean, if they don’t come with batteries or are otherwise electronic. Plastic toys can simply go in the dishwasher, with normal dishwasher detergent on a gentle cycle. If your dishwasher has an option for sanitizing cycles this will definitely kill off any germs left on the toy! For other plastics that cannot go in the dishwasher, simply wipe them with a wet soapy cloth and afterwards dry them with a dry piece of cloth. Disinfect the toys by wiping them with a diluted bleach solution safe for the little ones, using one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of water! Leave toys out to dry after.
Most plush toys or your child’s favorite blanket will come with a care sticker on it, telling you how to best clean it. If it’s safe to go in the machine, wash it with the same laundry detergent you use for your child’s clothes like a sensitive detergent without dyes or perfumes.
Wooden toys are a bit harder to clean, since submerging them in water will warp the wood or make them rough. You can clean them by using a lint free cloth and wiping them with a 50/50 solution of distilled white vinegar and water.
You may not think of this, because every other day these toys are submerged in your child’s soapy bath water, BUT bath toys can be one of the dirtiest toys your child has. Because they’re constantly wet and if you forget to squeeze all water out of them they can become moldy and really unsafe for your child! So it’s recommended that you soak the bath toys in a 50/50 mix of hot water and distilled white vinegar mix every week (Same solution as described above, but this time the toys can soak in the solution). They can also go in the dishwasher!
DIY cleaning solutions
A dear friend of mine has shared a bunch of her DIY cleaning solutions with me and I use it all over my house including my daughter’s playroom. My favorite one is mixing Auntie Fanny’s vinegar solution with water. I use this for all my floors and it is perfect for cleaning my daughter’s chalk board as well. Completely non-toxic so it’s great for homes with children and/or pets! I put all of my DIY solutions in these cute Amber Glass Bottles.