How to clean toys?

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How to clean baby toys

Baby toys may look fun and harmless, but without regular cleaning they can fast become a breeding ground for germs. And as every parent knows, many of these much-loved toys will often spend a lot of time in their little ones’ mouths – which means keeping them germ-free is essential. Many parents also want to clean their baby toys without bleach, which is why all the methods below are 100% chlorine bleach free.

So just how do we clean baby toys in a way that ensures they don’t just look clean, but are properly sanitized? And how do we clean those tricky baby toys that can’t be washed in the washing machine or dishwasher? Read on to find out.

Sanitizing baby toys

The way you disinfect your baby’s toys will depend on the type of toy and what it’s made from. For example, you’ll need to clean some baby toys simply by hand, but others will be able to go into the washing machine or dishwasher. And for those toys that can’t be machine washed, you’ll need to use an appropriate spray or cleaning solution to ensure they’re sanitized. Find the appropriate instructions for how to sanitize your baby’s toys below.

How to clean fabric and stuffed baby toys

You can usually sanitize stuffed baby toys by popping them in the washing machine with detergent and our Lysol® Laundry Sanitizer Free & Clear. Depending on the type of toy, you can either hang dry it, place it in the dryer or, if you’re worried about ruining the stuffing, put it in the dryer with a few new tennis balls which should stop the inner stuffing from clumping.

How to clean plastic toys

You can clean some small plastic toys that don’t have batteries in your dishwasher. With a little detergent and hot water, your toys will be cleaned. Just always make sure that the toy doesn’t have any batteries or delicate parts that may be damaged easily. Remember that rubber should never go in the dishwasher as it may not withstand the heat.

How to clean baby toys that can’t be washed in the washing machine or dishwasher

To sanitize hard, non-porous baby toys that have batteries or can’t be washed in the washing machine, simply wipe down with a cloth using a solution of soap and warm water. Dry, and then wipe down with a Lysol® Disinfecting Wipe. Finally, wipe the toy down using just water and a clean cloth before drying properly before handing back to the baby. For larger toys, use Lysol® All-Purpose Cleaner Lemon Breeze and then rinse with water after use. Whichever product you use, always remember to follow the label instructions.

Please note: Please always use Lysol products as directed on the label.

Ensuring baby’s toys are sanitized is bound to be a high priority, but it needn’t be a source of worry. With these simple instructions, you’ll have full peace of mind that your child is playing in a virtually germ-free zone.

How to Clean and Disinfect Baby Toys

Is Mr. Ducky looking a bit worse for wear? Now is a great time to clean him and his fellow toy friends. Here are some practical tips.

As every mom knows, babies and toddlers often put toys in their mouths – and they’re not particularly concerned that those toys may have been rolling around on the floor and are now covered in germs.

While many of these germs are harmless or even helpful, there are also those that spread sickness – like colds, flu, and norovirus.

That’s why it’s a good idea to frequently clean and disinfect your little one’s much-loved toys.

When to Clean and Disinfect Baby Toys

Dr. Karen Sokal-Gutierrez, a professor and children’s health expert at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, recommends cleaning baby toys regularly, perhaps once a month. Even spot cleaning helps combat unwanted cooties. But remember that certain situations call for an extra cleaning, or even disinfecting, such as:

  • Your child or their playmates have been sick.
  • You’ve had a playdate where other children are putting toys in their mouths.
  • A child has gotten food, milk, vomit or mucous on a toy.
  • A toy falls on the ground.

Cleaning vs. Disinfecting: What’s the Difference?

Before you begin, it’s important to understand the differences among cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains how these practices work together to help stop germs from spreading:

  • Cleaning physically removes germs by using soap (or perhaps detergent) and water to wash away surface dirt and grime.
  • Disinfecting kills most germs on objects like baby toys, or stops germs from reproducing.

Remember that cleaning should always come before disinfection. Start by cleaning baby toys to remove any visible dirt and grime, then rinse with water and apply disinfectant (see directions below).

Not all toys are alike. How you go about cleaning and disinfecting your baby’s toys will depend on the size and material of each cherished plaything.

Follow toy manufacturer guidelines when cleaning or disinfecting. Check to see if the toy is dishwasher safe. If so, place it on the top rack of your dishwasher and wash using regular dishwasher detergent, which typically includes a disinfectant. Set your dishwasher on the normal cycle. Use the heated cycle to dry toys, which will help prevent mold and bacteria. If your dishwasher includes an option for a sanitizing cycle, you can use it to help zap germs, especially during cold and flu season.

Larger plastic toys, as well as those with batteries, can be cleaned with soap and warm water, wiped with a diluted bleach solution using a clean sponge or cloth, and left to air dry. It’s best to take the batteries out before cleaning the toy to prevent corrosion and damage.

Combat Cooties Using a Germ-Busting Bleach Solution

Diluted bleach is a safe and inexpensive way to disinfect baby toys.

  1. Clean non-absorbent toys with soapy water, rinse with clear water, and wipe dry with disposable paper towels.
  2. Disinfect with a chlorine bleach solution of one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of water.
  3. Lay out toys to air dry.

Keeping everything clean isn’t easy – and sometimes feels impossible. But considering how much well-loved toys are handled by your child, taking a little time to clean and disinfect them is a great strategy for helping to keep your baby healthy and happy.

For a printable poster with tips for cleaning toys, click here.

From time to time, every treasured cuddly companion and favourite plaything needs a good clean. Here’s all the advice you need to tackle the contents of the toy box.

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We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.

Soft toys

Once you’ve persuaded your child to entrust teddy to your care, read the care label to find out if it can be machine-washed.

If the toy has been well-loved, check whether it needs any repairs first. You don’t want an ear going astray in the wash, and a few quick stitches now can prevent upset later. Pop the toy into an old pillowcase or a net laundry bag like a Delicates Washing Bag to protect it. Wash it on a delicates cycle at the lowest temperature possible. This won’t get rid of germs, so add a laundry disinfectant to the wash like Dettol Anti-Bacterial Laundry Cleanser for a more hygienic clean.

Alternatively, hand wash in lukewarm water with a little washing detergent added, rinse, and soak in a solution of laundry cleanser for 15 minutes. Squeeze out as much moisture as you can without wringing, then press between two clean towels.

If the toy can’t be tumble dried, either hang it on the washing line using Soft Grip Clothes Pegs or leave to dry completely in the airing cupboard. It’s crucial to make sure you leave it until it’s really dry all the way through!

Shelly49Getty Images

Teething toys

Plastic teething toys can give temporary relief to sore gums. But as they come into frequent contact with little hands and mouths – and are often discarded on the floor between bouts of frenzied chewing – they need to be cleaned often. Wash them using warm water and washing up liquid, rinse, then soak them in a solution of Milton Sterilising Fluid for 15 minutes.

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Bath toys

Bath toys can be a magnet for mould. Wash them regularly in a solution of warm water and washing-up liquid, using a bottle brush to get into all the nooks and crannies. Rinse, then allow to dry naturally. After bathtime, squeeze until all the water is out and leave to dry thoroughly.

Grime can build up quickly inside squirty bath toys. If you see black flakes coming out with the water when you squeeze them, it’s time to replace them: even with thorough cleaning, you can’t be sure of removing every trace of mould.

Lego and Duplo

You may have heard the cleaning myth about running Lego bricks through the washing machine, but the toy manufacturer advises against this approach. Instead, wash Lego – and its chunkier little sibling, Duplo – by hand in warm water no hotter than 40°C, to which washing-up liquid has been added. Leave the bricks to soak for 10 minutes and scrub any grimy pieces using a toothbrush or pick dirt out of crevices using a toothpick. Rinse with clean water and allow to dry naturally.

Lego pieces with stickers or electric parts should not be submerged in water, obviously. Just wipe these with a damp microfibre cloth instead. This is a good way to tackle wooden toys, or any plastic toy that can’t be submerged in water.

If you’re tempted to buy second hand Lego, beware. Scientists at the University of Plymouth have warned that Lego bricks dating back to the 1970s and 1980s may contain hazardous chemicals that could be harmful to health.

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Storing toys

There comes a point in the life of every toy when it is played with less. If you can’t bear to part with your children’s old favourites, you might be considering rehousing them in the loft. Clean fabric toys first to discourage moths and dust mites and choose an airtight plastic container to store them in once completely dry.

Make sure you label each box so you can find everything again. One option is to photograph the contents, then print the image and tape it to the inside of a clear plastic box with the image facing out. For toys you intend to pass on to someone else at some stage or dig out again if you have another child, it’s handy to group toys together that your child enjoyed at a certain age, and label the box with this information.

Toy cleaning essentials

Milton Sterilising Fluid Milton £2.60 20 Soft Grip Clothes Pegs Lakeland £4.99 Dettol Laundry Cleanser Dettol £4.50 Wilko Delicates Washing Bag Wilko £2.00

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How To Clean Baby Toys


Babies are associated with innocence, which means when people look at them, they generally think of them as being clean. However, babies spend a lot of time on the floor, especially once they start crawling. And as they develop their little minds and bodies, they also develop the nasty habit of sticking things in their mouths.
Naturally, you want to help your little ones avoid as many germs as possible. After all, that’s part of the job when you’re a parent. While you’ll never be able to shield your children from all the germs out there, you can learn how to clean baby toys in order to try to prevent your infants and toddlers from picking up a bug.

A Baby Toy-Cleaning Primer

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), there are three different cleaning levels you should be aware of when thinking about how to clean baby toys.

1. Cleaning:

Physically removing all dirt and contamination, oftentimes using soap and water. The friction of cleaning removes most germs and exposes any remaining germs to the effects of a sanitizer or disinfectant used later.

2. Sanitizing:

Reducing germs on inanimate surfaces to levels considered safe by public health codes or regulations. Sanitizing may be appropriate for food service tables, high chairs, toys and pacifiers.

3. Disinfecting:

Destroying or inactivating most germs on any inanimate object, but not bacterial spores. Disinfecting may be appropriate for diaper tables, door and cabinet handles, toilets and other bathroom surfaces.
From these definitions, you can see that not all toys require sanitizing or disinfecting. Armed with this knowledge, here are suggestions for how to clean baby toys based on the recommendations of the NYAEC.

Cleaning Toys Made of Plastic

Plastic toys that make contact with baby’s mouth should be cleaned after each use. The easiest way to clean plastic toys is in the dishwasher. However, this only works for toys that don’t have moveable parts or batteries.
When cleaning plastic baby toys by hand, you’ll need dishwashing liquid, hot water and a microfiber cloth. These instructions may also work for cleaning wooden toys.

  1. Combine a few drops of dishwashing liquid with hot water.
  2. Dampen the microfiber cloth with your cleaning solution. Use this to scrub the toy completely.
  3. Rinse the toy well with hot water. You want to be certain you’ve removed all the soap residue.
  4. Wipe the toy dry with a fresh microfiber cloth.

How to Sanitize Baby Toys Made of Plastic

The NYAEC also recommends sanitizing plastic toys that your baby has mouthed at the end of each day. For this, you’ll want to choose a sanitizer that is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
You’ll often find a products EPA registration number in fine print towards the very bottom of the back label. This number means that the product is registered by the EPA to kill the germs claimed on the label.
The EPA also suggests making sure the sanitizer has been approved for food contact surfaces and has a zero rating on the Hazardous Materials Identification System (HMIS). Additionally, it recommends looking for the words “Caution” or “Warning” as opposed to “Danger” on the label and selecting a product that has a short dwell time. (Dwell time is the amount of time a sanitizer needs to be left wet on the toys surface in order to work its magic.)
Once you’ve selected your sanitizer, follow the instructions to the letter.

Cleaning Plush Baby Toys

When it comes to baby’s stuffed animals and softer toys, the NAEYC recommends cleaning on a weekly basis or when you can visibly tell the toy is dirty. You may also want to consider washing plush toys if baby has had a cold or diarrhea.
Good news! You can do this in the washing machine.

  1. Check the care instructions on the toys tag.
  2. Wash the toy according to the directions, using a mild detergent. If there are no instructions, wash in hot water.
  3. Tumble dry on an appropriate setting.

Remember that knowing how to clean baby toys is only one step in trying to prevent germs from spreading in your home. Illnesses are bound to happen, but keeping up with a daily cleaning routine and knowing how to avoid spreading germs when the family is sick may very well bolster your efforts in keeping everyone happy and healthy.

Keep some peace of mind as your little one plays by taking time to sanitize her toys. Avoid harsh chemicals by using the soaps you already use for baby’s bath, laundry, and dishes or common household products and methods that can combat germs.

Sanitizing Soft Toys

Check to see if the toy has cleaning directions on the tag and follow those when possible. Avoid strong disinfectants like bleach as they can discolor the toys and may not completely rinse out of stuffing.

Washing Machine Method

Many soft toys can be cleaned in your household washer and dryer as long as they don’t have batteries, inner structural pieces, or electronic components. Spot treat with a baby wipe or get a deeper clean in your washer.

  1. Place toys in a pillowcase and tie the top in a knot.
  2. Wash the case of toys on a gentle cycle in cold water with the detergent you use for baby’s clothes.
  3. Dry the case of toys on low heat.
  4. Vintage and handmade toys should be hung to dry, but not in direct sunlight.

Freezing Method

If you’re hoping to avoid tons of extra work and all cleansers, try throwing teddy and other plush toys in the freezer.

  1. Put soft toys in a zip-top bag and squeeze out excess air.
  2. Close the bag and place in the freezer.
  3. Freeze for at least three hours, but preferably overnight.

Cleaning Electronic Toys

Always remove the batteries or unplug a toy before cleaning. Soap is not recommended on toys with batteries because it can leave a residue that attracts dirt.

  • Disinfecting wipes: Look for a mild wipe that has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Baking soda paste: Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with one drop of water to form a paste.

Plush Toys With Batteries

You’ll need to clean the plush parts and the battery compartment separately.

  1. Use the vacuum hose and brush attachment to give the soft parts a quick cleaning and spot treat stains with a baby wipe.
  2. Wipe the outside of the battery compartment and other plastic components with the wipe or a baking soda paste.
  3. Wipe those surfaces with a damp cloth dipped in plain water.
  4. Dry hard surfaces with a clean cloth and allow plush to air dry.

Wooden Toy Sanitizing

Wooden toys like blocks and cars can warp if soaked in water, so you’ll need to spot clean these.

  1. Dip a microfiber cloth in a 50/50 soap to water cleaning solution and wring until almost dry. Use the soap you already use on baby or his dishes.
  2. Wipe the toy with the cloth.
  3. Wipe the toy again with a second microfiber cloth dipped in plain water.
  4. Allow to air dry.

Board Book Cleaning

Opt for a baby wipe or barely damp cloth to clean board books.

  1. Dip a cloth into a 50/50 white vinegar to water or soap to water cleaning solution and wring until nearly dry.
  2. Wipe each cover, then each page gently with the cloth.
  3. Wipe all pages with a damp cloth dipped in plain water.
  4. Open the book so the pages are separated and stand upright so they dry.

Sanitizing Plastic/Rubber Toys

Rubber and plastic toys are often the easiest to clean. If the toy has lots of crevices, use a small bristled scrubber to remove the gunk before cleaning.

Dishwasher Method

Place toys in the silverware tray of the dishwasher or collect them in a colander that fits on the top dishwasher rack. Run on the most gentle cycle with cold or warm water and allow them to air dry.

Spot Cleaning or Single Toy Cleaning

Use a toothbrush and your choice of cleaning solution to sanitize the entire toy. Then rinse it off with water and let it air dry.

  • Mix white vinegar or soap to water in a 50/50.
  • Make a paste with one tablespoon of baking soda and one drop of water for plastic toys or one drop of mild dish soap for rubber toys.

Soaking Method

Use this method for large batches of toys or those in need of the deepest clean. Soak toys for 15 minutes to an hour in your chosen solution. Allow toys time to air dry, then rinse with regular water and allow them to air dry again.

  • Add a few drops of dish soap a sink full of warm water
  • Add half a cup of vinegar to a sink full of warm water
  • Add one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of warm water

Cleaning Toys With Hair

Toys like pony’s or other dolls with hair require two-step cleaning methods.

  1. Wipe the body down with a damp cloth dipped in a soap or vinegar cleaning solution.
  2. Put a few drops of dish soap on the hair and gently scrub. Then rinse the hair and lay flat to dry.

When to Clean Baby Toys

A completely sterile home environment isn’t necessary, however there are certain times when toy cleaning is a must.

  • After play dates
  • After baby’s been sick
  • When playing with an old toy that hasn’t been touched in a while
  • About every week after a toy has been regularly played with

Keep It Clean

Baby toys spend a lot of time on the floor and inside mouths, so they can easily collect a lot of germs. Keep your baby’s favorite playthings clean and fun by adding toy cleaning to your regular household schedule.

How to clean toys properly so your kids stop getting sick

Other helpful articles:

  • Toy retailer smashes idea of boys’ toys, girls’ toys
  • 8 hacks for cleaning toddler disasters
  • Mum’s fun ‘jobs jar’ will have your kids begging to help

Cleaning toys regularly will ensure all the nasties stay away. Image: iStock

Rubber or plastic toys without batteries

Some hard plastic toys can go in the top rack of the dishwasher on a gentle cycle, but as hand washing isn’t such a chore, I think it’s safest to use the sink. If you’d like to try the dishwasher, hard plastic toys like LEGO do well, put them into a mesh wash bag before lying on the top rack. Just don’t put your dirty dishes in with them …

Use hot water, your regular washing up liquid, and a sponge and immerse the toys in the sink. You can leave them to soak for an hour or so to loosen ground-in dirt. Have an old toothbrush on hand for scrubbing into tiny cracks and crevices. Rinse in a solution of 1 cup vinegar to 10 cups water to naturally disinfect the toys.

Once clean, leave in the dish rack to air dry.

While mostly made of rubber or plastic, bath toys get their own category because they tend to bring lovely things like mould, mildew, soap scum and slime into the mix. Generally, to really get a bath toy clean, you will need to mix up a disinfecting solution (1 part tea tree oil, 5 parts vinegar, 20 parts water) and soak the toys for at least an hour. Rinse away the disinfectant completely and give the toys a scrub with an old toothbrush.

Once that initial cleaning phase has been completed you can then wash as per normal ‘rubber or plastic toys without batteries’ ‘instructions. It’s a good idea to leave bath toys out in the sunshine to dry, especially if you’ve used the disinfecting solution to wash them.

Rubber or plastic toys with batteries

Anything with batteries cannot be immersed in water, so it’s a sponge bath only. Remove the batteries when possible and dip a cloth into your hot water and detergent. Wring the cloth out thoroughly and then wipe firmly over the toy, avoiding the area around the battery compartment. Finish with a wipe down with vinegar diluted in water (see above). Use a tea towel to dry the toy as much as you can before leaving to air dry completely before using again.

You can use this same method for cleaning electronic toys, avoiding all wiring and ensuring that the toy is unplugged before you tackle it.

Even bath toys need to be cleaned properly. Image: iStock

Toys with fur or hair

Toys like Barbies, Bratz, My Little Pony and Monster High (as well as your standard, run of the mill, what-did-we-do-before-branding dolls) can all benefit from a nice hair wash.

Firstly, wash the plastic parts of the doll as per recommendations above. Barbies especially have a habit of getting permanent marker in their eyes … you can generally remove permanent marker from plastic doll faces using a Magic Eraser or cotton buds dipped in nail polish remover.

Once the plastic bits are clean, give your doll a hair wash using standard shampoo and conditioner. The ‘no tears’ kind is probably unnecessary for Barbie, but these formulations are usually milder and might be a good option. You will only need a drop or two. Wet the hair, massage in the shampoo, rinse and then condition. Comb the hair out while the conditioner is still in the hair and then rinse clean.

Lay the doll flat to dry and fan the hair flat too. It goes without saying that a blow-dry is neither necessary nor recommended.

You can use the same method to wash toys with fur (but not plush toys, see above) like Sylvanian Families.

Toys made of wood

Use a slightly damp (almost dry but not quite) cloth that has been dipped in a solution of equal parts vinegar and water to wash wooden toys. Make sure the toy does not get especially wet at any time or you risk the wood failing to dry completely and becoming warped.

Dress ups

Most kids’ dress ups will need to be hand-washed as you will risk spoiling the delicate fabrics, beads, and ribbons in the machine. A fairy outfit becomes a tangled mess in no time. Wash using a mild detergent such as a wool wash. Rather than using a brush or even a sponge, wrap the material in over itself to ‘scrub’ clean dirty areas.

Once clean, rinse and rinse again. Do not wring out, but rather drip dry on the line in the shade. Smooth out tulle, satin, and lace while the garment dries on the line to save having to iron.

“How do I clean my kids’ toys?” might be one of the questions I’m asked most often. Time and again, my friends (who used to ask me if their butts looked good in their tightest clubbing outfit) are now asking me how to clean toys. Oh, friends, how the times have changed. Friends aside, a TON of community members are parents and ask me this very question. So, for all of you who will now be forever referring to this post, here’s how it is done safely, quickly and effectively. Remember that frequency is up to mom and dad. There are recommendations, however, some parents are less stringent than others. It is entirely your call, much like your parenting style.

How to Clean Plush Toys

Most plush toys come with a care label, and that should be reviewed to determine the appropriate cleaning procedure. Many will say to hand wash only, and that’s fine. However, if you are dead set on putting them in the wash, you certainly can. If it doesn’t need a wash but has just become dusty, you can quickly vacuum the fur of the toy. This is a great trick. You simply place old pantyhose over a vacuum brush attachment and vacuum the dust off the toy. If the toy does require a deeper clean there are a couple of snags you may hit along the way. Crinkle toys might not crinkle anymore, and faux fur or stuffed animal ‘hair’ may frizz up or mat never to be returned to normal.

What plush toys should not go in the washing machine?

You are welcome to risk whatever you wish, it’s the wrath of your child you need to consider. Heed these fair warnings and you should be OK. Do not machine wash if:

  1. The toy contains a music box
  2. The toy is old and/or fragile
  3. The toy has glued on items like sequins, ribbon etc. However, glued-on eyes can probably handle a wash
  4. The toy has delicate items on that can’t be removed (little outfits or accessories)
  5. The toy is stuffed with anything but polyester batting, like tiny foam balls or beans.

The Washing Machine

Keep in mind that a top-load washing machine, due to the agitator, may displace the batting of the animals. But with a high-efficiency washer, you’re in good shape. Regular detergent is fine, and I’d use something safe for baby i.e. dye and scent-free. Consider adding in a scoop of oxygen bleach powder to the wash if they are stained or smelly. Then, take an old pillowcase and throw the plush toys into the pillowcase. Close it up with a white pipe-cleaner, twist tie or piece of fine wire (or perhaps use a pillow cover with a zipper instead) and place in the wash. I’d recommend using a delicate or gentle wash cycle with cool or warm (not hot) water. If the water gets too hot, it can melt glued-on items (leading to a very sad child). When the wash cycle is done, pull out the toys and brush the fur with a fine-tooth comb to re-fluff it.

You have a couple of drying options too. You can place the pillowcase in the dryer on the fluff-cycle (never leave unattended) or, remove the stuffed animals and hang them to dry or dry them in the sun. Treat the toys like clothing and wash like colors together. You may want to consider washing them with towels instead of clothing just in case a toy’s colors run in the wash. Your plush toys should be in tip-top shape!

Hand Washing

For toys that claim to be hand wash only or that fall under one of the 5 points mentioned above, simply hand wash with a mild detergent (try to use scent-free if you can). Do so by immersing a clean cloth in a mixture of dish soap and water or baby shampoo and water. Massage the mixture gently over the toy, working in a circular motion. Then, rinse the cloth well and begin to remove the soapy residue with the cloth. Let it air dry either by hanging up indoors or laying out in the sun.

How to Clean Plastic, Rubber or Silicone Toys Without Batteries

Softer plastic and rubber toys

You are best to wash them in the sink as opposed to a dishwasher since these materials are more susceptible to melting or deteriorating in hot water. To clean them, simply add a squirt of dish soap to a sink, bucket or basin and add in warm water. Then, clean the toy by wiping it with a soft cloth or an old toothbrush. Rinse well in cool water. Now, to disinfect the toys, spray the toys with a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water and let them stand for a minute. Rinse again and lay flat to dry. Clean and sanitized! I don’t believe in using chlorine bleach so this is a perfectly safe alternative. If you don’t care about the toys all that much, feel free to place them in a delicates bag, lay the bag on the top rack of the dishwasher and run through a water-only sanitizing cycle in your dishwasher (and don’t have dirty dishes in there either). It’s your call, but if the toys melt don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Hard plastic toys

Toys like rattles, Lego, Duplo, etc. can be thrown into a delicates bag and placed in the dishwasher as mentioned above.

Silicone toys

These can go into the dishwasher (top rack, as above) or can be boiled in a pot for cleaning and sanitizing.

How to Clean Plastic, Rubber or Silicone Toys with Batteries

Whether it is battery-operated or plug-in, power toys simply cannot be immersed in water. Begin by removing the batteries and/or unplugging the toy. Then, dip a cloth in soapy water and wash the exterior of the toy. Be careful not to get any moisture near the battery box or wiring. As well, make sure that no moisture gets into the gaps between moving parts. To sanitize the toy, mix 50/50 rubbing alcohol and water in a bowl and saturate your cloth in the mixture and wring it out well. Wipe it over the ‘safe’ parts of the toy. Rubbing alcohol dries quickly, but if needed, you can wipe it off to remove the excess moisture.

How to Clean Dolls with Hair (Barbie, Ken, My Little Pony etc.)

I had multiple ‘hair toys’ when I was growing up. And to this day, I love my hair so perhaps I have my Barbies and Ponies to thank. However, I didn’t know these cleaning tips back then and they could have really helped.


For doll hair (aka thin plastic strands), here’s what you can do. Shampoo the doll’s hair using a couple of drops of dish soap or baby soap and massage into the hair, if the hair is woven into the scalp. However, if the hair is glued on, don’t bother, it will likely fall out. Then, rinse well with cool water and lay flat to dry, ideally comb to avoid tangling. If you notice the hair is seriously knotted or matted, soak the strands in a small bowl of conditioner and water overnight and then rinse out. Comb gently to remove the knots and lay flat to dry. This may sound silly, but never blow dry the hair.


You can clean these hard plastic bodies with a couple of easy tricks. To remove marks and stains, create a tiny amount of paste with oil and baking soda. With a cotton swab, apply to the stains in a circular motion, then rinse the area with a dampened cloth. Make sure you don’t remove any paint (facial features, nail polish) when doing this! For tougher stains, use a tad of nail polish remover on a cotton swab, then rinse the area well.

To disinfect these toys, create a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water in a clean spray bottle and simply mist the toy from head to toe. After a minute, wipe with a dry cloth and voila, clean and disinfected.

How to Clean Wood Toys

According to my research, wood has anti-bacterial properties. However, as a parent, I have trouble taking that at face value. So instead, soak a cloth in white vinegar and wipe the toys down occasionally. Vinegar will clean and acts as a mild disinfectant, so I consider this a great cleaning method for wooden toys. They don’t need to be cleaned very often, but if they do need a good cleanse, this is all you need to do. The vinegar smell will dissipate within minutes.

Why is Toy Cleaning Important?

There are tons of reasons, but for me, the biggest one would be to keep kids as healthy as possible. Kids are always getting sick and because they are always playing with toys (and each other), cleaning toys is crucial to keeping germs at bay, especially during the colder indoor months.

Some Quick Tips

  • Clean fallen toys with a baby wipe if you are out and can’t properly clean the toy.
  • For parents who want to be chemical-free, use a steam cleaner to steam clean toys, playpens, baby carriers and high chairs for easy and effective cleaning and sanitizing, wipe clean with a cloth.
  • Clean baby and toddler toys once or twice weekly, since they often go in a child’s mouth and are potentially shared with other children. Children’s toys can be cleaned monthly and plush toys can be cleaned a couple times per year.

A comprehensive guide to cleaning baby and kids’ toys, using safe and non-toxic methods! | From Clean My Space.

When you live with small children at home, we pay close attention to disinfecting pacifiers, thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing dishes and cutlery, washing hands before administering medication, disinfecting the bottle … but how many of you have actually cleaned your children’s toys? In reality, our children spend a lot of time with their favorite toys by carrying them everywhere and even putting them in their mouths after they have fallen to the ground.

Helpling, the leading platform for booking cleaning services in Singapore, has some useful advice that will keep the toys of your children cleaned and disinfected, so that they can have fun while you rest easy.

1. Stuffed animals / Fabric Toys

To disinfect stuffed toys, place them in a plastic bag and freeze for 24 hours to kill the mites.

Most of fabric toys can be cleaned using washing machine if the material is cotton or polyester blends. For toys that are heavily stained, sprinkle baking soda over stained spots then put them into the washing machine. Then, add in 3 caps of white vinegar together with detergent into the washing machine.

2. Plastic Toys

Plastic toys or blocks can be sterilized easily. Here are a few ways of cleaning them:

  • Prepare a bucket filled with water and place all the plastic toys together with a couple spoonfuls of baby bottle cleaning agent in it. Let them soak for 3 hours.
  • Another method is to combine equal cups of water to equal cups of distilled white vinegar into a spray bottle. This comes in handy when you are out and your child has dropped his favorite toy to the ground. Spray on the dirty spots and leave it for 15 minutes before wiping off the remaining vinegar.
  • If the plastic toys are durable against heat, the dishwasher is a good way to clean them. Place the toys in the top rack, and set the washer to dry setting.

3. Teething toys

For teething toys, place them into a pot of boiling water for approximately 10 minutes and let them cool off afterwards. For those that can’t be boiled, you can clean them with liquid dish washing soap and very hot water.

We hope you have found these tips useful! For more cleaning tips, visit us here.

Small plastic toys: Non-battery-operated toys and teethers can usually be washed in the dishwasher on the top rack – they might even have a ‘dishwasher-safe’ icon. To clean by hand, scrub these small plastic toys in warm water with washing up liquid. Rinse the toy thoroughly in warm water and leave to 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 sanitise 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 mould, 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 five minutes, rinse in cold water and drain thoroughly. Find more information in our guide to cleaning bath toys.

Barbies 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 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.

The Best Way to Clean Baby Toys

Getty ImagesBabies explore their environment by touching and tasting-so you can bet that every single toy in her room has been chewed or drooled on at least once. And because things constantly end up in their mouths, babies can easily pick up germs and illness. Here are the best ways to clean baby toys and keep baby toys safe:

Submerge those neon-colored playthings in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes, says Jamie Novak, a cleaning and organizing guru and author of Keep This Toss That. “Carefully remove them from the water and allow them to cool off,” she instructs. You can also run them through the dishwasher if they are made completely of plastic (no fabric, batteries or things with buttons that might not be water tight). Load toys in the silverware holder, a colander, or a lingerie bag to keep them from falling off the racks, use the gentlest cycle, and allow to air-dry, she explains. “If you need a little help with the cleaning, a toothbrush works to scrub small places,” adds Heather Walker, founder of Functional Spaces Organizing. “And toothpicks are great for getting into tight crevices, too.”

Toys made from natural wood will warp and become rough if dunked in water; instead, wipe them with a clean, lint-free cloth dipped in either a 50/50 mixture of distilled white vinegar and water or mild soapy water (think dish soap, hand soap, or a baby variety). Follow soapy cleansers with a towel dampened with plain water to remove residue (water and vinegar evaporate cleanly). “Tackle very dirty spots or stains with rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and then wipe with a damp cloth after,” suggests Novak.

Stuffed animals, cloth books, tummy time blankets, and other knitted toys can be spot cleaned with a baby wipe or put in your washing machine, recommends Novak. “For a deeper clean, pop fabric toys in a pillow case or lingerie bag and spin in the clothes dryer on medium heat for 15 minutes,” she says. But don’t launder plush toys that have a battery pack or make any kind of noise. (The water and vigorous spinning of the machine will render them silent!)

Board Books and Rubber Toys
These can also be cleaned with a cloth moistened with that same 50/50 mixture mentioned above. Stand up books and separate the pages while they dry.

Bath Toys
No, these objects aren’t getting ‘clean’ each time your tot sits in the bubbles, so they do need attention more often than you think. “Soak bath toys in a 50/50 mixture of hot water and distilled white vinegar every week,” says Novak. If they need more thorough cleaning, run them in the dishwasher (see ‘Plastic’, above).

Trucks, trains, and other metal playthings often have rubber wheels, so skip the dishwasher here because the heat may break down the material. Instead, sanitize them in a mixture of bleach and water. “Use a tablespoon of bleach diluted in a quart of water and allow the toys to air-dry,” says Walker.

How often should you clean toys?
Don’t go crazy scrubbing your baby’s toys and other play equipment too frequently, but be sure to give them a good once-over when you notice they’re particularly gummed up with food or saliva. “‘Everyday toys,’ which means those you carry in the diaper bag or your baby’s favorites, should be cleaned weekly,” says Novak.

You should also clean her toys thoroughly in the following instances:
• When your baby is recovering from an illness like diarrhea or a cold
• After a play date since other children have put your baby’s toys in their mouths
• If the toy hasn’t been played with in awhile (it’s still probably harboring bacteria!)

How to Clean Toys

Molly Maid does not offer this service; however, here are some do-it-yourself cleaning tips you can use to help keep toys germ-free and ready for playtime.

We know how busy you are if you have a toddler, baby or both in the house. And as if bottles, diapers and meals aren’t keeping you busy enough… how about those toys that have completely taken over your house? You know, the ones your kids drag across the floor, leave outside and then put in their mouths? Well, they need some attention, too. Why? Because bacteria and mites love those toys just as much as your toddler does. And cleaning kids’ toys monthly is a good goal. Here’s how to clean those toys with as little time as possible.

How to Clean Toys in the Washing Machine

The good news is that many plush toys are just a whirl in the washing machine away from being good as new. Just be sure to check the labels for special instructions first. No one wants the wrong water temperature or dryer setting rendering their beloved “Kitty,” “Monkey,” or “Cuttlefish” unrecognizable. For smaller toys made of hard plastic, place them inside a mesh bag or pillowcase to keep them from clunking around.

How to Clean Toys in the Dishwasher

Cleaning toys in the dishwasher is another option. The dishwasher detergent and the hot water will do the cleaning and disinfecting work for you. If you don’t have a dishwasher, wash them by hand in your sink with hot water and your normal dish detergent. Larger toys, toys with electronic components, and wooden toys will need to be dusted and disinfected individually.

How to Clean Toys with Bleach

If you are washing toys and toys only, consider adding a half-cup of bleach to your dishwasher or washing machine. If you are soaking your toys in the sink, we recommend adding a half-cup of bleach per gallon of water. Let the toys soak for about five minutes, rinse and then air dry.

Some germ-fighting parents keep a separate plastic bin that’s strictly for collecting and disinfecting toys that have been contaminated. Once a toy has hit the dirty ground or been slobbered on, it goes directly into the bin where it is out of reach from children. Parents can then add water and bleach directly to the bin for easy cleaning.

How to Clean Toys with Vinegar

For a simpler, more natural cleaning solution, consider adding equal parts water and white vinegar to a spray bottle. Spritz the dirty toys with the vinegar solution and let them sit for about 15 minutes. Be sure to wipe away any remaining vinegar-water solution to minimize the lingering vinegar smell. The vinegar spot cleaning method works great for hard toys but is not ideal for plush toys or stuffed animals.

How to Clean Outdoor Toys

Have any outdoor toys? Little gyms, sandboxes, or play houses and such? Birds, bugs, pets and visiting animals make E. coli a concern, and make it necessary to sanitize these on a regular basis. Use a spray sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, or just give it the ol’ “driveway carwash” treatment with hot soapy water and a nice garden hose rinse-off.

How to Clean Secondhand Toys

Use a weak bleach solution to sanitize secondhand toys that make their way home from garage sales, resale shops or generous relatives and neighbors. Be sure to rinse well and dry thoroughly.

Molly Maid is a house cleaning service that’s been helping busy young families and busy new grandparents stay on top of germs, dust, and clutter for more than 30 years.

To have more time for yourself or to spend with the young children in your life, contact your local Molly Maid.

Ready to schedule a service? Call (800) 654-9647 to speak with our friendly customer service representatives. Or SCHEDULE A FREE ESTIMATE today!

As a parent, one of your most important jobs is to keep your child healthy and safe. This can be tricky for a variety of reasons: kids are constantly exploring, sharing with friends, putting things in their mouths, forgetting to wash their hands, eating with their hands, playing in sandboxes, crawling on dirty floors, chewing on their toys, and generally getting into all sorts of trouble. While many of the germs in a kid’s environment are harmless and even beneficial, others can spread colds, the flu, norovirus, and other dangerous illnesses. Learn how to disinfect toys and then put your newfound knowledge into action regularly to prevent the spread of germs.

When to Disinfect

Exposing your children to germs can help build their immune systems. So don’t worry too much about a dog licking your child’s face, a pacifier falling on the floor, or a little playtime in the mud (source). However, because children are such little explorers, it is important to disinfect their toys and other belongings in certain situations.

According to Dr. Karen Sokal-Gutierrez, a professor and children’s health expert at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, it’s a good idea to clean kids’ toys regularly, about once a month. Favorite toys that are used daily may require a weekly cleaning.

Disinfect toys when germs are prevalent or if you suspect bacteria or viruses may be present. For example, the following situations call for disinfection:

  • Your child has been sick.
  • Your child’s playmates have been sick.
  • An illness is spreading at your child’s school.
  • Food, milk, vomit, or mucus is on a toy.

Remember that there’s a difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning refers to the physical removal of germs, dirt, and other impurities using soap (or detergent) and water. Disinfecting, on the other hand, refers to the killing of germs using chemicals. While both processes reduce the risk of an infection spreading, disinfection goes a step further than cleaning. Because disinfection doesn’t remove surface impurities, however, it is important to always clean before disinfecting.

How to Disinfect Toys

Did you know that the flu virus can live on a surface (and potentially infect someone) for up to 48 hours? Norovirus (a common cause of stomach bugs) can linger in a space for days or even weeks. Yikes! So if you find out that your child’s playmate has come down with the flu, don’t hesitate to clean and disinfect your child’s toys. And if you don’t know how to disinfect toys, don’t worry. It’s quite simple, though some toys are easier to clean and disinfect than others.

Take Advantage of Your Dishwasher

If a toy is dishwasher safe, throw it in the dishwasher about once a week for a deep clean. This is a great option for rattles, plastic blocks and shapes, and bath toys. Place small toys in the silverware holder or a lingerie bag so that they don’t fall through the racks. Be careful not to wash anything in the dishwasher that contains fabric, buttons, or batteries.

Don’t Forget About Your Washing Machine

Fabric toys (stuffed animals, blankets, cloth books, etc.) can be cleaned in your washing machine on the delicate cycle. Don’t launder any toys with battery packs or noise-makers, as this can damage the mechanisms. And if you’re worried about a toy not surviving the washing machine’s cycle, place it in a pillowcase before you launder it.

Bleach It

Washable, nonporous toys can also be cleaned with bleach. Simply remove excess grime with a wet sponge, place the toys in a bucket (or your sink), add 1/2 cup of bleach and 1 gallon water, and let the toys soak in the solution for 5 minutes. Afterward, rinse the toys with water and let them air dry. This is a good option for toys with metal parts, like trucks and trains.

Use Plain Old Vinegar and Water

A solution of vinegar and water is a time-tested, eco-friendly solution for washing toys and a great option for toys that are not dishwasher safe. For example, if you have any wood toys, create a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water, dip in a dishcloth, and wipe the toys with it. Don’t soak the toys in water, as the wood may warp or roughen. You can also use a vinegar solution to spot-clean fabric and plastic toys.

Utilize Natural UV Rays

Before cleaning products were ever invented, sunlight was killing bacteria around the world. On sunny days, set your child’s toys outside or lay them out in a room of your house that gets a lot of sunlight. Let the toys sit in the sun for a few hours, allowing the UV rays to disinfect them. This is also a great way to freshen stuffed toys with lingering odors.

Try a Germ Fogger

In between these other cleanings, use a germ fogger to disinfect the entire area where your child plays. The SafeSpace Disinfectant & Deodorizing Germ Fogger is a great option. It’s EPA-approved, doesn’t leave any residue on toys, and is nontoxic for children if ingested. Plus, it kills 99 percent of the germs responsible for the cold, flu, staph, MRSA, and more. After your child recovers from a nasty bug or when you hear the flu is spreading through school, activate the germ fogger to eradicate any lingering viruses and bacteria.

To use the fogger to disinfect toys, spread the toys out on the floor and set the germ fogger in the middle of the toys. Activate the fogger, and don’t let anyone into the room for at least an hour. Finally, return the disinfected toys to their toy box or shelves.

Children rarely remain clean for long – and that’s okay! By cleaning their toys from time to time and disinfecting their play space, you can help keep them healthy and safe.

And when it comes to fighting germs, you can rely on SafeSpace. For more than a decade, we’ve been working diligently to bring effective disinfecting innovations to health-conscious consumers. To learn more about our company and our products, visit our website.

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