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How to safely clean your baby toy

Baby toys can pick up lots of germs! Protect your little ones by using these tips on how to clean baby toys naturally, and with bleach.
Cleaning baby toys is an essential part of being a parent. From day one, our babies are like little explorers desperately seeking out new sensory experiences – and this can mean that their toys can get dirty! However, the best way to clean baby toys is not always obvious, let alone how to clean baby toys safely, and you don’t need to be a germaphobe to wonder what the best solution is!

Choosing the correct method to clean baby toys often depends on the toy itself. Here we show the difference between cleaning and sanitizing, describe how to clean baby toys naturally, and describe how to clean baby toys with bleach.
Baby toys should be cleaned on a day-to-day basis. Using soap and water or a standard disinfectant or baby wipe, carefully wipe off any grease or grime, and the majority of germs will be removed as you clean.

To sanitize your baby’s toys you will need a sanitizing solution, such as diluted bleach in water. Always wear gloves. It’s particularly important to sanitize your child’s toys if they are ill, are playing with friends, or have a tendency to put their toys in their mouth.
For a natural sanitizing solution, combine distilled white vinegar and water in equal parts and spray onto your baby’s toy, leaving for 15 minutes before wiping off.

There are so many different types of baby toys! Here is a quick guide to the best way to clean different types of baby toys. Remember that any electronic or battery-operated toy should be cleaned according to the instructions in the manual.

Stuffed animals: If the care label indicates that the toy can be washed, then fabric toys can be washed in a washing machine on a delicate cycle and then dried on a low heat or left to air-dry. The toy’s care label will indicate if the toy is machine washable, but if you are unsure then it’s worth spot cleaning the toy with water and a gentle shampoo or laundry detergent, leaving to air-dry as before.

Small plastic toys: In the dishwasher: Plastic toys that don't have batteries can be easily washed in the dishwasher with dish detergent and hot water. This cleans and sanitizes them. By hand: If you don't have a dishwasher, you can wash plastic toys in the sink with a clean sponge or rag, soap and warm water. Be sure to scrub off any dried food, grease and grime. After washing, sanitize the toys by dipping them in the diluted bleach solution, and let them air-dry in a dish rack. For toys with batteries, clean the outside with soap and water, then wipe with the bleach solution and let air-dry.

Large plastic toys: Non-battery-operated large plastic toys will need to be washed by hand with a clean sponge and warm water and washing up liquid. Rinse thoroughly and leave to air-dry.

Wooden toys: Disinfectant or baby wipes will easily clean most wooden toys. To sanitize the toy, spray a mild solution of white vinegar and water and dry off quickly and thoroughly to avoid excess moisture which could stain the toy.

Bath toys: Bath toys can quickly grow mold, so be careful to squeeze out any residual water after every bath time. For a more thorough clean, soak in a solution of diluted bleach and water for 5 minutes, rinse in cold water and drain thoroughly.

Barbie’s and other dolls: The different materials used in dolls means you will have to use a few different cleaning methods. Plastic limbs can be cleaned with washing up liquid, whereas soft, fabric bodies can be cleaned with water and a gentle shampoo and left to air-dry. The hair on dolls can quickly become sticky and tangled, but by washing it as you would human hair (a small blob of baby shampoo with warm water) will work to bring the former flowing locks back to life.

Fabric toys and equipment: Wash in the laundry with laundry soap and hot water.

Bleach is an effective method of killing germs, and if used properly is safe for you to use on different surfaces or materials – just follow the instructions on the label (especially if using a product that needs to be diluted) and test it on a small area first.
Because kids are always getting sick, and because they are always playing with toys (and each other), cleaning toys is crucial to keeping colds away, especially during the colder indoor months.