How to Disinfect Toys Properly

    By Lisa Hayden / April 10, 2021
    How to Disinfect Toys Properly

    How to Disinfect Toys Properly

    Cleaning is one of the things we are so meticulous with especially when we have a new member of the family join the house. Babies can put everything they touch into their mouths and they can even start chewing on whatever things they hold.

    It may be disgusting for us but that's all natural for our babies to do. Technically, it's okay for babies to explore but if we don't watch out, our babies' health may be put at risk. Their exploration allows them to learn new things and also allows them to understand things like the taste, the texture and also the smell.

    two children putting toys in their mouths

    Don't let your children's exploring get them sick!

    Cleaning the environment

    First off, we need to clean our surroundings right? We have to prepare a place where your child can go around and play in. With that in mind, secure the area with baby gates: retractable gates, freestanding baby gates or hands-free baby gates. Baby gates can set a play area for your kids and their playmates. It is also a great way of securing them and keeping them away from dangerous objects around the house.

    Start from top to bottom, clean the grills, the nooks and crannies and other hard to reach places. Your baby's tiny hands can practically reach into tiny crevices and can really surprise us as to how curious our babies can be. You might as well partner up with your handheld vacuum cleaner to do the job much faster.

    Once you are done with the dusting and the removing of all the tiny things that your little one can probably swallow, disinfect the flooring before you lay down a play mat or carpet. Some parents mop the floor with a few drops of bleach to disinfect the floor. However, bleach is a very strong chemical that can make our children ill. It is primarily a dangerous chemical when ingested as well. That's why we like using steam mops. It's clean and chemical-free and it does the a great job of disinfecting too without the use of chemicals.

    How to Disinfect Toys Properly

    Your Baby and Germs

    According to experts, babies actually get more immune to germs, the more that they are exposed to them. It's like saying, once you catch chickenpox, your child is immune to it and won't catch it anymore. That's practically the same principle experts say about babies and germs.

    The thing is, it doesn't apply to all germs. There are dangerous bacteria that lurk around the house and the most common bacteria is something that is called E Coli. It is actually the bacteria that give us a horrible case of diarrhea.​

    Everything in your house carries germs. Some help boosts the immune system and a few causes illness. And for that reason, we need to know how to disinfect baby toys the proper way. Most parents rely on the magic of bleach but it is just as potentially dangerous to our kids as well.​

    What lurks around the environment?

    There are things that we should be very careful of when our kids play with their toys. Our babies love putting things into their mouth and this can go on all the way up to four years old. Some children stop putting things in their mouths at around two but it's still common to find toddlers taking in that habit. One of the reasons why we need to disinfect toys are because of the following:

    • Molds. Toys with holes and spaces and tiny cracks are potential mold breeders that can harm our kids. Molds are extremely dangerous. These black molds often target the respiratory system and they love wet and warm places like the inside of your baby's toys. When your child slobbers all over their toys like a chew toy or a teether, warm drool finds its way inside and stays there. This is the perfect place for molds to breed in.
    • Bacteria. Bacteria are found everywhere. They can cause diarrhea, cholera, infections and food poisoning, pneumonia, UTI, and much more. These are only the common illnesses that bacteria can bring.
    • Virus. A virus is more contagious than bacteria. They breed and travel faster from one person to another. Technically, babies can't really infect adults with illnesses but adults can definitely infect babies. If a few droplets of your cough got into our kid's toys, sanitizing baby toys must be done immediately. This should be done when one heals from common colds, flu, viral infections, rubella and such.
    • Bugs. Just because we don't see them doesn't mean they are there. Creepy crawlies are everywhere even in our kid's toys. If you fail to clean your kid's toys up, roaches will end up laying their eggs in nooks inside your kid's toys. Bugs have some defense mechanism. They produce some chemicals to repel predators. These chemicals as well as the bugs themselves can make your child ill.
    • Nasties. There are many nasties that lurk in dirty places. And you know what they are. So, start sterilizing baby toys!

    How to clean baby toys traditionally?

    The most traditional way of cleaning toys—hard toys—starts with washing them. After being washed, we usually put them in a steamer and steam it for 15 minutes to disinfect baby toys. After that, we dry them on a drying rack. But this doesn't apply to everyone. It can be tedious and it can also be done by dishwashers. So homes without dishwashers can do this at home.

    How to disinfect toys via machine washing?

    Always read the washing instructions and do as they say! Clean baby toys first by segregating which toys can be machine washed and which ones couldn't. So here is a list of things that cannot be machine washed:

    • Toys with electrical wiring
    • Toys that are over 18 inches long and or wide
    • Toys with microfiber fill
    • Toys that have paper or plastic stiffeners.
    • Toys with a lot of accessories that can also damage the washing machine.

    REMEMBER: When machine washing toys, we recommend that you try stuffing funky-smelling toys inside a paper bag with baking soda. Shake the bag until the baking soda has covered the toy all over. Then, let it sit for 30 minutes. This will remove the stench and you can go ahead and machine-wash the toy.

    How to clean soft toys or plushies?

    Machine washing is the easiest solution to washing your baby's plushies. They are dust hoarders and they need to be cleaned at least once a month. But, if your child loves to bite and nibble on stuffed toys, then wash them as soon as they are slobbered on. Here is how we clean stuffed toys the ParentsNeed way:

    1. Bring it outside under the sun and start hitting it with a stick. Most of the dust will fly out.
    2. Wipe the surface with a damp cloth to remove more of the dust that clung on.
    3. Give your baby’s soft toy a bath! Off to the washing machine they go!

    How to disinfect toys with ammonia?

    If your little one doesn't often play with the stuffed animal, you can spot check the toy after vacuuming it. If there are spots all over the toy, mix ¼ teaspoon of ammonia with a ¾ tablespoon of dish washing soap and 3 cups of water. Whisk the solution up until it froths up. Grab some of the froth and apply it on the spots. Leave it for 5-10 minutes and wipe with a damp cloth.

    If you are a bit reluctant to use ammonia, you can mix ½ cup of alcohol, ¼ cup of water, and ½ teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. Whisk it up and do the same with the ammonia mix.

    How to Disinfect Toys Properly

    How to clean small plastic toys?

    This is probably the simplest baby toys to clean. You can clean them by tossing them into the dishwasher. We recommend that you take them apart so that the dishwasher can clean it more thoroughly. A dishwasher can already clean and sanitize baby toys. But, toys fade and lose its luster. You can use the cleaning methods in cleaning and sterilizing baby toys. We recommend that silicone toys only be washed because they are pretty resilient.

    Small plastic toys can also be soaked in a small bucket of water with two tablespoonfuls of bleach. Your baby probably has some rubber squeaky toys laying around. They are one of the breeding grounds of molds because our kids love to chew them up and they make squeaky sounds when they do. But, if you cut one open, you will find a horrific image of moldy toys. So, one tip to remember! If in doubt, just trash it out!​

    How to clean wool toys?

    Wool is pretty difficult to toss in the washing machine. They are pretty delicate so it needs the proper attention for cleaning. So, if you want to clean it well, you put the wool plushies inside a pillowcase or a net bag and toss it in the washing machine. You can also spot clean the wool, we've already discussed how to do that above.

    Toys aren't meant to last; your kids eventually get tired of their toys after a week. That's why we recommend you to do a toy rotation. This allows you to clean and sanitize toys one set at a time and store them. It also helps your child regain interest in a new set of toys. It also saves a lot of money since you don't need to give some out and buy some again because your little one got tired of it.

    How to clean soft toys without washing?

    If you clean baby toys every week—especially soft toys—it ensures a cleaner set of toys. Every time you vacuum the floor, you can include your little one's soft toys one at a time. Vacuuming it removes the dust and dirt particles that are contaminating your child's toys.

    Dusting and brushing soft toys frequently prevents dust from sticking to the toys. Get a duster and an old toothbrush. Actually, here is a fun tip to involve your child in doing household chores. Grab your little one's old toothbrush or probably your electric toothbrush that you have already discarded. Teach your kids to brush the furry and fuzzy toys on the porch or in a well-ventilated area. One of the things that they find fun is when we cover their mouths and noses with tied bandanas and go under the sunlight and let the electric toothbrush run on their toys. The dust particles start flying under the sun and you can play a game with your little one while actually having them do their own toy cleaning.

    How to clean baby toys that have batteries?

    One dilemma of parents in cleaning out some toys is because they are electronic. They come with batteries or they are rechargeable. Some toys have removable battery canisters to avoid them from getting wet or damaged. And then you can do the usual cleaning. If the battery doesn't come out, you can also spot clean baby toys find out how to clean toys with vinegar. Let us tell you how:

    How to Disinfect Toys Properly

    Mix one part water and one part vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on a clean cloth and start wiping your baby toys. Just let it dry under the sun or in a warm dry spot and your child is ready to play with their newly sanitized toys again.​

    Vinegar is a natural disinfectant as well. It has acetic acid that is very effective in cleaning out general items. It is actually a miracle cleaner. It is natural and very effective in keeping our things nice and neat. Don't worry about the smell since it goes away when it dries up. You can also use vinegar in cleaning so many things like cloth, metal, wood, tiles and any surfaces.

    How to sanitize toys without bleach?

    Hydrogen peroxide is known to be a very effective way to sanitize baby toys and other household products. So, how to clean baby toys with Hydrogen Peroxide? This method is becoming increasingly popular but you can clean baby toys with one part water and one part Hydrogen Peroxide. You can use it in a spray bottle and start cleaning out the toys—but this spray bottle can only last for 24 hours. You can also soak the toys in the mixture until the bubbles go away. Let it dry under the sun or in a warm and dry place.

    How to keep your toys clean?

    Simple! Keep toys in its special area. This will also teach your children some good habits at home. Let them fix their toys after playtime and keep those toys inside toy storage boxes.

    Never mix toys with other household items. Don't put toys together with dangerous chemicals or other items that can be dangerous for your child. Always let your children play with their toys only in designated areas. Don't let them get out of their playpens but rather let them have fun in their own playing spaces.​

    In Summary...

    Disinfecting toys provides a safer environment for your little one. And with so many ways of disinfecting baby toys that don't require strong chemicals, you are sure that your little tot's toys are clean and free of dangerous chemicals. So, have fun with your child in safely cleaning baby toys and playing with cleaner toys in a clean environment.

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