How to Clean and Disinfect Toys?
Let’s face it: your child’s toys are their most precious goods, often by their side 24/7. This means that they play with, spin, lie, chew and who knows what else? Before long, this beautiful, immaculate teddy bear looks like a knotty mess. Besides visible dirt and grime, toys can contain germs, allergens or worse, mould.
Different toys require different cleaning methods, not only to clean them but also to keep them looking and working their best. Below, our Good Housekeeping Cleaning Lab recommends how – and how often – to clean and kill germs on toys to keep your kids safe.
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How often should I clean the toys?
The frequency with which toys should be cleaned depends on how they are liked (aka how much they play with). These are general guidelines for knowing when your child is in good health. It is always important to clean and disinfect the toys more frequently when your child is sick or has the flu and to start all over again once he has recovered.
- Hard plastic and bath toys are the easiest to maintain and should be cleaned and disinfected weekly if used daily.
- Plush toys are often machine washable and can dry dry, so it’s easy to wash them once a week (especially if children sleep with them), every two weeks or as needed. Refresh and clean non-washable plush toys when they need them.
- Electronic toys are only safe for cleaning surfaces and should be cleaned weekly and always whenever a child is sick.
- Baby toys those most likely to be put in a child’s mouth and drop to the floor are the ones that require the most frequent attention. Clean them every one to two days. Others can be done weekly.
Can I disinfect toys with vinegar?
In a word, no. Vinegar is an excellent degreaser and descaler for the household and although it can kill certain strains of germs, it is not powerful enough to reach the levels of disinfection and disinfection required to be recognized and registered by the EPA. It is best to simply wash the toys in hot soapy water to clean them.
If you’re looking for a more natural plant-based alternative to chemical disinfectants, products like seventh generation disinfectant wipes kill germs with thymol, a component of thyme oil. They are registered with the EPA, but keep in mind that they work slower than traditional disinfectant wipes and that the surface must remain visibly moist for 10 minutes to be most effective.
How to clean bath toys and plastic toys
Solid plastic toys like rubber rings, animal figures and building blocks and bricks can easily be cleaned in your dishwasher Upper grid. Here’s how:
- Put large toys securely between the teeth of the holder and place the small toys in a mesh bag to prevent them from jostling with the powerful water jet.
- Select the normal or disinfection and heat drying cycle and be sure to ventilate or towel dry any toys that may come out of the dishwasher while still wet.
You can also disinfect or disinfect all colour-resistant plastic baby and children’s toys with:
- Clorox or Lysol wipes.
- A damp cloth with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution.
- 1/2 cup of bleach and a gallon of water.
Make sure to keep the surface of the toy moist for at least 10 seconds to disinfect with a wipe (or for the time recommended on the product label) and for five minutes to disinfect with the bleach and water and allow to air dry. Always make a fresh bleach solution each time. While these are all safe ways to clean, sanitize and sanitize baby and kids toys, after air drying, you should always give them another warm water rinse and let them dry in the air. ‘air. This will remove any residue from 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 toys may not allow enough air to circulate to completely dry the toys inside. It is safer to avoid using hollow toys with holes – even rubber ducks – in the tub, but if you do, make sure to shake vigorously or extract as much water as possible and allow them to air dry completely after each use. If you see mold inside a toy or if mold comes out when you shake or squeeze it, immediately throw the toy away.
How to Clean Plush Toys in the Washer
Plush animals and uniformly colored cloth books are generally safe to clean in your washing machine. Robust plush toys can be washed and dried during disinfection cycles, if your machines have them, but many plush toys come with care labels, so it’s a good idea to check out how the manufacturer recommends to clean it, especially if the toy is new. Here’s how to clean them in the washer:
- First, put plush toys in a pillowcase to protect them and tie the top.
- Select the gentle cycle, hot water and slow rotation.
- Dry the toy (in the pillowcase) in your dryer on low heat. Or, if your dryer is equipped with support, take the toy out of the pillowcase and place it on the support so that it dries without tipping.
- For a softer approach, use a hairdryer at low temperature and at low speed. When the teddy bear reaches the just wet stage, switch to the medium setting of the hairdryer to pat the fur.
Bear in mind: Never wash plush toys with built-in batteries, noise cancelling devices, or other metal parts, as water could damage them. Make sure that all decorations and buttons are securely attached, that tears and holes are repaired.
How to clean plush toys that can’t be washed
Some toys can only withstand hand washing. Before throwing a toy in the washer, check the colour fastness of all fabrics and upholstery of the toy with a drop of water. If the colour bleeds when you wipe off the drop with a paper towel, do not machine wash. Clean it instead. You will also want to hand wash delicate plush toys that can only clean the surface. Here’s how to hand wash and clean plush toys:
- Dip a cloth in a hot soapy solution and review the entire toy.
- Rinse with a cloth that you have soaked in clear water and wrung well.
- Let the toy air dry or use a hair dryer to speed up the drying and fluff the fur.
- Finally, to remove bacteria, mites and other allergens from plush toys without washing them, run them slowly with a steamer, then vacuum carefully with the upholstery accessory of your vacuum cleaner.
How to clean electronic toys
Like your TV remote control, electronic toys can usually only be cleaned on the surface. First turn off and disconnect the toy or remove the batteries (but replace the battery compartment cover) before cleaning it. Here’s how:
- With a clean cloth dipped in warm, well-wrung soapy water, wipe the toy clean to remove any dirt and grime.
- Make an additional pass on the sticky places, around the buttons and in the crevices, being careful not to let any liquid seep into the electrical components.
- Rinse with a clean, well-wrung cloth and air dry.
- To kill bacteria and viruses on the surface, use a disinfectant wipe, alcohol wipe, or dip a clean cloth in a mixture of four teaspoons of bleach in one liter of water. Wring the cloth well and wipe the toy.
- Make sure the surface stays wet for five minutes or as required on the wipe label and allow it to air dry. If this toy is likely to get into your child’s mouth, rinse it well with a clean, damp cloth and allow it to air dry.