Did you know your baby’s toys and play area can be a breeding site for germs? That’s why it’s important to clean them often; especially if they share their toys with a toddler. Germs can easily be transmitted from child to child, so unless you want to end up in a continuous sickness cycle, cleaning their toys on a regular basis is crucial.
So, how should you clean your little one’s toys and how frequently should you be doing it? Here, you’ll discover everything you need to know to clean your baby’s toys safely.
How Often Should You Clean Baby’s Toys?
You don’t need to clean baby’s toys as often as you might think. For toys that they play with on a daily basis, it’s best to wash them once a week. However, for toys that don’t get used as much, you could potentially get away with washing them once a month.
While you obviously want to protect baby from germs, washing their toys too frequently can actually be counterproductive. This is because we need to be exposed to a little bacteria in order to build up the immune system. So, if you’re continuously washing baby’s toys, they aren’t going to be exposed to safe, everyday levels of bacteria.
The only time you really need to clean the toys more frequently than this is if your baby is ill. They will easily share their germs or pick up the same bug if they continually handle the same toys without them being washed. You can also wash them if your little one has had a play date and shared their toys with others.
Why You Should Clean AND Disinfect The Toys
It’s a good idea to both clean and disinfect baby’s toys. This is because the cleaning process helps to remove any dirt along with germs, while the disinfectant process kills off germs that don’t die during a simple clean. However, before disinfecting, it’s important to follow manufacturer guidelines.
How you disinfect them will also depend upon the type of toys you’re cleaning. Some may even be able to be thrown right in the dishwasher. When washed at a high temperature, it will naturally disinfect the toys using regular baby-friendly detergent.
How To Clean Baby’s Toys
So, now you know how often you should clean baby’s toys, the question is how should you clean them? Well, it all depends upon the type of toys you’re wanting to clean. Below, you’ll discover the basics of cleaning the most common types of baby toys.
Fabric – If you’re dealing with fabric-based toys such as stuffed toys, cloth books and blankets, you can either put them into the washing machine, or spot clean them. If you want to give them a more thorough clean, you can place them inside an empty pillowcase before spinning them in for around 15 minutes in a clothes dryer.
It’s worth noting that if the toys have batteries in, these shouldn’t be washed in a washing machine or clothes dryer. If you do, they’re unlikely to work again when they come back out!
Plastic – Plastic toys are one of the easiest to clean. You can either wash them with soapy water or stick them in the dishwasher if they are dishwasher-safe. You’ll need to make sure before you wash them, that they don’t have batteries, buttons or fabric.
If you do place them in the dishwasher, it’s best to stick them in a lingerie bag so that they don’t end up falling off the rack. Make sure you place them on the gentlest wash cycle and then allow them to air dry. If you’re cleaning them by hand, you may find a toothbrush helps you to scrub any tough dirt and grime away.
Wooden – Wooden toys can be a little trickier to clean. If they’re created with natural wood, dunking them in water is going to cause them to warp. So, instead it’s better to wipe them clean with a lint-free cloth. You can either dip the cloth in a 50/50 water and distilled white vinegar solution, or in mild soap and water.
After running them over with the cleaning cloth, take a clean towel and plain water to remove any signs of residue. If the toys are very dirty, you can also use rubbing alcohol to remove the dirt. Simply dip a cotton ball into the rubbing alcohol and gently use it to eliminate the dirt. Then, wipe with a damp cloth to remove residue.
Bath Toys – You may think you don’t need to clean baby’s bath toys. After all, surely the water keeps them clean every time they’re used? Unfortunately, not! Bath toys still need to be cleaned, but the good news is it’s really easy to do.
Simply soak the toys in a 50/50 mixture of distilled white vinegar and water. You should ideally do this once a week. If they’re very dirty, you could also pop them in the dishwasher, following the instructions found under the plastic toys section above.
Metal – Toys such as trains and trucks are often created with metal and they will need to be cleaned with water and bleach. It’s important not to use too much bleach however. So, stick to mixing just a tablespoon of the bleach with a quart of water. Then, once you’ve cleaned them, leave them to air dry.
Rubber And Board Books – Rubber based and board books should be cleaned using the 50/50 mixture you’d use to clean wooden toys. If you are cleaning books, make sure you separate the pages so that they don’t stick together when they dry.
The above are the best ways to clean baby’s toys. If in doubt, it’s always best to follow the instructions on the labels. Always make sure any cleaning solution you use is chemical free and safe for babies.