Your child’s toys are their most precious belongings and are with them almost throughout the day (sometimes even during the night). They get to play, sleep, eat, bathe and of course, feed them. Even before you recognize it, those pretty toys and teddies turn into a gnarly mess. So how and what is the best way to clean baby toys?
The dirt and mess are not the only things that get into the toy but, it becomes a harbor of unseen germs, allergens. Many parents use sanitizing wipes to clean baby toys but how effective is that?
Cleaning baby toys is not one single process that can be followed. Different toys need to be cleaned in different ways. Below, we recommend the ways and how often to clean and kill germs on baby toys to keep your children safe.
Why Is It Important to Clean Your Baby’s Toys?
Babies love their toys and do everything with them. Regular cleaning of toys is important to keep infection at a bay, especially if the toy is handled by someone who recently fell sick or you had a playdate with other kids.
It is vital to clean baby toys so they don’t get infected with the bacteria that gets accumulated on them over time. Kids play with their toys and drag them everywhere. Many kids fall sick as they keep their baby toys in their mouth which is a hub of germs. So it is essential to clean your baby’s toys regularly.
As many of the parents know, babies explore using their tongues. The more a baby loves a toy, the more chances of it being in the mouth. This can become a concern, since the toys can collect dirt, bacteria and germs. While the market is flooded with products to clean baby toys, some parents prefer non-chemical or natural ways to clean and disinfect baby toys.Many parents prefer to clean their baby’s toys without bleach and keep them free from chemicals.
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Difference Between Cleaning And Disinfecting
We are all concerned about germs and the spread of the virus that might affect our little ones. So it is important to know the difference between cleaning and disinfecting.
Cleaning refers to the removal of germs and dirt from the surface. In context with kids’ toys, it means removing germs and dirt from their toys. However, cleaning will not remove germs. Rather it will only clean the dirt and reduce the number of germs present on the surface.
Disinfecting is a process in which chemicals are used to kill the germs present. To prevent the spread of the virus, it is recommended to disinfect the baby’s toys once a month.
10 Simple And Effective Tips To Clean And Sanitize Baby Toys
You know that your baby toys need to be cleaned. But how do you get started? What do you use and how often should you clean baby toys? Toys need to be cleaned once you identify them as dirty. On the other hand, even if they look clean, it is important to wash them at least once every week and disinfect them once every month.
If your baby is sick and has used a toy while ill, it is better to disinfect it. This kills germs that normal soap and water cannot do. In this way, the chance of the baby or the other members of the family getting infected again can be avoided.
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Babies are delicate and vulnerable when it comes to germs, bacteria, and other infection-causing elements. They are yet to develop that strong immunity to fight against them. Listed below are 10 simple and effective tips to clean and sanitize baby toys.
1. Use wipes for immediate cleanup
There could be situations where you will need to clean baby toys immediately, say when your child drops their toys down or when another child keeps your baby’s doll in their mouth. Though you should sanitize them immediately after going home, the quick way is to use wipes to clean the baby toy.
Cleaning wipes come in handy, whether it is cleaning your baby’s dirty hand or their toys. You can have these wipes in the diaper bags as they are easily accessible to clean any mess.
2. Clean with vinegar
Instead of using harsh chemicals like bleach, you can opt for mild cleaners like vinegar that are both eco-friendly and chemical-free. Use one part of water and one part of vinegar to clean baby toys. This is a safe way to clean baby toys sans chemicals, and also pretty affordable.
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For small toys, rinse them directly into the water mixture and for big or wooden toys, use a cloth dipped in the water mixture or spray the water to clean the baby toy.
3. Use dishwasher to clean baby toys
You can put hard plastic toys without batteries and electrical cords in the dishwasher for a quick clean-up. However, ensure to always check the toy’s label to ensure if they can be put in the dishwasher or not.
4. Boil baby’s toys
All you need is a pot, water, and stove to clean hard plastic toys. Boiling is a simple way to clean and sanitize those toys, especially teethers. Ensure to check the toy’s label if boiling the toy is recommended.
Also, check if the batteries are removed and if there is no electrical cord so that the toy doesn’t melt.
5. Use warm, soapy water
Scrubbing toys in a sink full of warm water and soap could be effective. This is a great way to clean baby toys that cannot be put in the dishwasher or hot boiling water. You can also use this method for cleaning wooden baby toys.
Use a brush or cloth to clean small gaps and use soapy water to clean baby toys. You can use one to one ratio of rubbing alcohol and water to disinfect the toys.
6. Use bathtub to clean baby toys
Kids’ toys are easy to play with and of course, can get dirty easily. Since they are soft in comparison to hard plastic toys, they can be handled and washed easily.
You can add vinegar to warm water and let it soak for about 10 minutes. You can layer scrub the toys using a sponge.
7. Wash bath toys
Kids can have fun while having a bath. In that case, you must not forget about cleaning your baby bath toys. Though they are in and out of the water, it doesn’t mean they are clean. You have to clean them just like any other toy.
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Clean them with warm water with a vinegar mixture and disinfect them using rubbing alcohol mixed with water.
8. Put stuffed animals in the washing machine
Most of the baby’s stuffed toys can be cleaned in the washing machine. Use a gentle baby cleaning detergent and run a gentle cycle in warm water.
Put the toy inside a laundry cover or pillow cover and wash it. Later, you can sun dry the toy and put some dryer over it. Some stuffed animals are fragile. So check for the label once if that could be machine washed.
9. Use a vacuum cleaner
If your baby’s toy needs a quick clean-up but can neither be machine washed nor be boiled in water, the best way is to vacuum the toy.
Attach a brush or hose to the vacuum to clean the dust.
10. Use the freezer
To clean the most delicate baby stuffed toys, put them inside the freezer for a few days. You can spot clean the baby toy first and allow it to dry. Later put the toy inside a plastic cover and place it in the freezer for about 3 days. Squeeze out any extra air in the cover.
Baby toys need to be cleaned often. Especially, toys that go into your baby’s mouth need cleaning every four or five days. Once your baby starts to go crawl you will pretty much realize that they are going to put everything in their mouth.
Hard toys and plastic need to be washed and disinfected once every week. It is advisable to wash toys if they are visibly soiled. Also, it is mandatory to clean baby toys after a child overcomes an illness — especially if he played with the toys while sick.
Diluted bleach is a safe option to clean baby toys. Alternatively, you can also use soft and baby wash solutions to clean baby toys. Though bleach is usually considered the easy and inexpensive way to clean toys, you must remember that each baby toy requires a different cleaning technique.
By cleaning and disinfecting the baby toy regularly, you can prevent the child from falling sick. Also, you may use a portion of the cleaning object in a corner of the toy to see if that cleanser works best to clean the toy.
It is not safe to clean baby toys using Clorox wipes as it contains chlorine to clean and kill germs. This chlorine content is toxic and is not safe to clean baby toys as the baby will put the toys cleaned with these wipes inside their mouth.
Though chlorine is super effective in killing germs it is not recommended for baby products. Alternatively, you can add some disinfectant or baby shampoo along with vinegar and rinse the baby toys in the solution to clean baby toys naturally.