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How to Properly Disinfect Childrens Toys and Play Areas

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

How to Properly Disinfect Childrens Toys and Play Areas

Keeping children’s toys and play areas clean is crucial for preventing the spread of illness and infection. As a parent, you want to ensure your children stay healthy while enjoying their toys and play spaces. Here is an in-depth guide on properly disinfecting children’s toys and play areas:

Why Disinfecting Toys and Play Areas is Important

Children often put toys in their mouths or touch play surfaces frequently. This allows germs to easily spread from one child to another through saliva and touch. Additionally, children have developing immune systems that make them more vulnerable to certain illnesses.

Regularly disinfecting toys and play areas can help reduce the risk of spreading:

  • Common colds and flu
  • Stomach bugs like norovirus
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Strep throat
  • Hand, foot and mouth disease
  • Respiratory infections like RSV
  • Skin infections like impetigo

Disinfecting shared toys and play areas should be part of your routine cleaning to keep children healthy.

How Often Should You Disinfect Toys and Play Areas?

The frequency of disinfecting depends on usage:

  • High-touch plastic toys – Disinfect once a week or whenever visibly dirty
  • Cloth toys – Disinfect weekly and wash monthly
  • Wooden toys – Disinfect weekly and clean thoroughly with soap and water monthly
  • Play areas like ball pits – Disinfect weekly and deep clean monthly
  • Public play spaces – Disinfect before use as germs can spread quickly

Increase disinfecting frequency during illness outbreaks or if a child is sick. Focus on toys that are mouthed or touched often.

What is the Best Way to Disinfect Toys?

Follow these steps for thorough toy disinfection:

  1. Wash toys with soap and warm water to remove most germs and dirt. This allows disinfectants to work better.

  2. Make a disinfectant solution – Bleach, alcohol and EPA-approved disinfectants designed for children’s items work well.

  3. Soak small plastic toys in the solution for 5 minutes. Use a bin dedicated for disinfecting.

  4. For toys too large to soak, spray solution generously over all surfaces. Make sure to coat all sides.

  5. Air dry thoroughly before returning to children. Do not wipe or rinse off disinfectant.

Check toy labels – some may have special cleaning instructions. Soaking can damage some materials.

Disinfecting Play Areas

High-touch play areas and surfaces require regular disinfection:

  • Play mats
  • Ball pits
  • Play houses
  • Jungle gyms
  • Slides

Follow these best practices:

  • Use EPA-approved spray disinfectants labeled safe for play areas
  • Spray down all accessible surfaces and allow proper contact time before wiping
  • For ball pits, remove balls and disinfect weekly. Deep clean balls monthly.
  • Vacuum play mats before disinfecting for best results
  • Disinfect high-touch points like railings multiple times per day

Carefully follow all disinfectant directions to ensure proper coverage and contact time. Ventilate areas during and after use.

Other Toy and Play Area Safety Tips

  • Wash hands before and after play time
  • Keep sick children away from shared toys and play spaces
  • Don’t allow toys in the bathroom
  • Discard broken toys immediately
  • Check recalls and remove hazardous toys
  • Supervise play to ensure safety and clean habits

Proper toy hygiene through regular disinfecting and cleaning is key for safe play areas. Implementing good practices at home and in childcare facilities reduces illness risk.

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