How to Clean and Disinfect Toys
Let’s face it: you Children’s toys are their most valuable possessions, often by their side around the clock. That means they are played, thrown around, slept, chewed and who knows what else? It doesn’t take long for this beautiful, flawless teddy bear to look like a gnarled mess. In addition to the visible dirt and dirt, toys can contain germs, allergens or worse mold.
Different toys require different cleaning methods to not only clean them but also to make them look and work well. Our below Good Housekeeping Cleaning Lab recommends how – and how often – to clean and kill germs on toys to ensure the safety of your children.
Waridsara Pitakpon / EyeEmGetty Images
How often should I brush toys?
How often toys have to be cleaned depends on how much they are loved (a.k.a. with how much they are played). These are general guidelines if your child is healthy. It is always important to clean and disinfect toys more often if your child is sick or flu, and to do everything again as soon as they have recovered.
- Hard plastic and bath toys are the easiest to maintain and should be cleaned and disinfected weekly if played daily.
- Plush toys are often machine washable and dryable, making it easy to wash them once a week (especially if children are sleeping with them), every other week, or as needed. Refresh and clean clean, non-washable soft toys when needed.
- Electronic toys are only safe for surface cleaning and should be wiped weekly and whenever a child is sick.
- Baby toys The most commonly placed in a child’s mouth and dropped on the floor are those that need the most frequent attention. Clean them every day or two. Others can be done weekly.
Can I disinfect toys with vinegar?
In a word, no. Vinegar is a great household fat cutter and limescale remover. Although it can kill some bacterial strains, it is not strong enough to achieve the disinfection and disinfection values recognized and registered by the EPA. You are better off washing toys in hot foam water to clean them.
If you’re looking for a more natural, herbal alternative to chemical disinfectants, you can find products like Disinfection wipes of the seventh generation kill germs with thymol, a component of thyme oil. They are EPA registered, but keep in mind that they work slower than conventional disinfectant wipes and the surface must remain visibly moist for 10 minutes to get the most effective effect.
How to clean bath toys and plastic toys
Solid plastic toys such as rubber rings, animal figures as well as building blocks and bricks can be light cleaned in your dishwasher upper rack. Here’s how:
- Place large toys securely between the tines in the rack and put small toys in a mesh bag so that they don’t swirl around with the powerful water spray.
- Select the normal or disinfection cycle and heat it dry. Be sure to air-dry all toys that may come out of the dishwasher thoroughly or with a towel.
You can also disinfect or disinfect all color-fast plastic baby and children’s toys with:
- Clorox or Lysol wipes.
- A cloth dampened with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution.
- 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach and a gallon of water.
Make sure the surface of the toy is damp for at least 10 seconds to disinfect it with a towel (or for the time indicated on the product label) and five minutes to disinfect it with the bleach and water solution and to let it air dry. Make a fresh bleaching solution every time. While these are all safe methods for cleaning, disinfecting and disinfecting baby and children’s toys, you should always rinse them thoroughly with warm water and let them air dry after they have dried in the air. This will remove all residues of the cleaning solution.
Keep in mind: Bath toys with holes in the bottom are particularly problematic. When water is trapped inside, mold grows. Even mesh toy caddies may not allow enough air to circulate to completely dry the toy inside. It is safest not to use hollow toys with holes – including rubber duckies – in the bathtub. However, if you do, shake or squeeze as much water as possible and let it air dry thoroughly after each use. If you ever see mold in a toy or mold comes out when you shake or squeeze it, throw the toy out immediately.
How to clean plush toys in the washing machine
Color-proof, simple cuddly toys and cloth books can usually be cleaned safely in your house Washing machine. Robust plush toys can be washed and dried during the disinfection cycles if your machines have them. However, many plush toys come with care labels. So it’s best to check how the manufacturer recommends cleaning, especially if the toy is new. How to clean them in the washing machine:
- First, place plush toys in a pillow case to protect them, and tie the top with a knot.
- Choose the gentle cycle, warm water and a slow spin.
- Dry the toy (in the pillow case) in your dryer over low heat. If your dryer has a rack, take the toy out of the pillow case and place it on the rack to dry without falling.
- For a gentler approach, use a Hair dryer at low heat and speed. When the teddy has just reached the moist stage, switch to the medium setting of the hair dryer to inflate the fur.
Keep in mind: Never wash soft toys with built-in rechargeable batteries, noise makers or other metal parts, as the water can damage them. Make sure all decorations and buttons are securely attached and all cracks and holes are repaired.
How to clean plush toys that cannot be washed
Some toys can only withstand hand washing. Before you throw a toy into the washing machine, check the color fastness of all fabrics and trimmings of the toy with a drop of water. If the color bleeds when you dab the drop off with a paper towel, do not machine wash it. Instead, clean it on site. You should also hand wash delicate soft toys that are only suitable for surface cleaning. How to wash and recognize clean soft toys by hand:
- Dip a cloth in a warm foam solution and go over the entire toy.
- Rinse with a cloth that you have dipped in clear water and wrung out well.
- Let the toy air dry or use a hair dryer to accelerate drying and lint the fur.
- To remove bacteria, dust mites, and other allergens from stuffed animals without washing them, slowly go through them with a steamer and then vacuum the toy thoroughly with yours Vacuum pad attachment.
How to clean electronic toys
Just like yours TV remote controlElectronic toys can usually only do a surface cleaning. Before you clean the toy, switch it off and disconnect it or remove all batteries (but put the battery cover back on). Here’s how:
- Wipe the toy with a clean cloth soaked in warm, soapy water and wrung out well to remove dirt and grime.
- Make an additional pass over sticky spots, around buttons and in crevices, and make sure that no liquid gets into the electrical components.
- Rinse with a clean damp, well wrung out cloth and air dry.
- To kill bacteria and viruses on the surface, use a disinfectant or alcohol wipe or dip a clean cloth in a mixture of four teaspoons of chlorine bleach per liter of water. Wring the cloth well and wipe the toy.
- Ensure that the surface remains moist for five minutes or the time indicated on the wipe label and let it air dry. If this toy is likely to end up in your child’s mouth, rinse it well with a damp, clean cloth and let it air dry again.