How to clean your kids' toys
Cleaning your kids' toys regularly is crucial in keeping nasty germs and bugs at bay. We bring you tips on how to clean your kids' toys... keep reading for some great information.
My husband and I live with two little boys and hundreds of toys.
Recently, I was spring-cleaning the boys’ room and noticed how dirty the toys were. Being the clean-freak that I am, I wondered what I had done wrong when I had just cleaned the toys a few weeks earlier.
Why was that teddy bear sprouting dust from its ears? And what was that fuzzy green growth on those building blocks?
Determined to find out how to clean kids’ toys properly, I did some research and then tried out these methods at home. I’m pleased to say the result was a bunch of squeaky-clean toys and one happy mum.
I’m sure I’m not the only mum who needs help with keeping her kids’ toys clean, so I’m sharing what I did with you.
These can be a serious health hazard to your children if not cleaned properly. Often, we keep such toys (think rubber ducks) immersed in water for a long time, providing a perfect breeding ground for mould and bacteria to grow in or on them (or both!).
Needless to say, this is a real danger to kids, especially if they like putting those toys in their mouth during bathtime.
How to clean them: Fill a bowl with equal amounts of vinegar and water and let the toys soak in this solution overnight, ensuring the mixture gets inside the toys.
The following day, squeeze the water out, rinse well and let the toys air-dry. After every use, make sure to rinse the toys with clean water and then squeeze out all the water.
Store all bath toys in something like a net bag instead of in a bowl/bucket when they’re not in use to ensure proper drying.
Your child’s cuddly best friend could actually be home to thousands of dust mites. Would you really want your child breathing in these nasty critters and their poo (yes, soft toys are liberally sprinkled with dust mite droppings too) throughout the night? I think not!
How to clean them: Pop soft toys in the washing machine every 2 weeks, ideally using a hot cycle. Leave them to air dry and they should be mite-free. There’s also an even more effective method: put them in a plastic bag in the freezer overnight! It’s recommended that once you take the toys out of the freezer, you machine-wash them to get rid of the dead mites and their droppings.
Electronic toys and gadgets
My younger boy loves fiddling with his electronic toys while eating. As a result, they are often liberally smeared with generous amounts of his food.
How to clean them: Given that you can’t really throw such toys into the washing machine without short-circuiting the power supply, the best thing to do is give them a thorough cleaning with a antiseptic wet-wipe.
Even if the electronic toys in your house go nowhere near food, it’s still best to give them frequent rub-downs with wet-wipes to keep those nasty germs at bay.
Anything plastic with no batteries
This could include Lego, Duplo, Barbie combs/brushes, dolls, or those little plastic trains and cars that every little boy loves to collect!
How to clean them: Fill a large bucket or even the bathtub with warm water and throw in the toys with a few drops of mild liquid soap. You could even add a few drops of Dettol/Eucalyptus oil if you like.
Clean them well with a soft washcloth, remembering to get in the grooves. Rinse well… and that’s it.
While it’s believed that wood has anti-bacterial properties, it’s still best to clean wooden toys regularly.
How to clean them: The easiest way to do this is to soak a cloth in white vinegar and wipe the toys down from time to time. Vinegar is a great cleaner because it’s all natural and acts as a mild disinfectant.
How to clean them: Dolls with hard plastic bodies like Barbie are pretty easy to clean with a cloth soaked in white vinegar, or a mild soapy solution.
You can even wash the hair of such dolls with water and a few drops of shampoo, combing out the tangles afterwards. If it’s a cloth doll, cleaning it in the washing machine should be no problem, provided the label warns otherwise.
Frequency of cleaning
When it comes to how often you should be cleaning your kids’ toys, once a month should be adequate. However, bath toys should be squeezed dry of water and dried every day or after each use.
Any food spills on toys must be wiped up immediately. If your child has allergies or asthma, you should wash soft toys as frequently as once in 2 weeks.
Do you have you own tried and tested tips for cleaning kids’ toys? Share them with us by leaving a comment.