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How to Safely Clean and Disinfect Kids Toys

March 3, 2024
How to Safely Clean and Disinfect Kids Toys


As a parent, keeping your kids’ toys clean is important to help prevent the spread of germs and illness. Toys can harbor bacteria, viruses, and dirt that can cause infections or other health issues if transferred to your child’s mouth, nose, eyes, or open wounds. The good news is that cleaning and disinfecting toys properly and regularly can help reduce these risks. Here are some tips on how to safely and effectively clean and disinfect your kids’ toys.

Wash Toys Frequently

  • Wash hard plastic toys: Use warm soapy water to scrub toys clean. Focus on crevices and small parts where gunk can build up. Rinse thoroughly. Air dry completely.
  • Clean stuffed animals: Check labels and wash according to instructions if possible. Use a laundry bag on gentle cycle. For non-washables, spot clean by hand with a damp cloth and natural soap. Allow to fully air dry.
  • Sanitize teethers: Wash in hot, soapy water. Boil for 1-2 minutes or run through dishwasher to disinfect. Allow to fully dry before giving back to baby.
  • Disinfect plastic bath toys: Give a bleach bath by soaking in a bleach-water solution (4 tsp bleach per 1 quart water) for 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly before reuse.

Wash toys at least once weekly or whenever visibly dirty. Kids put toys in their mouths often, so frequent cleaning is key.

Disinfect Toys Between Uses

  • Make a disinfecting spray with 1 cup water + 1 tsp bleach. Spray toy surface until glistening. Let sit 1 minute before wiping dry with a clean cloth.
  • Use disinfectant wipes on hard plastic toys, teethers, and other non-porous surfaces. Check wipe is safe for your toy material first.
  • For electronic or musical toys, wipe with a damp cloth with mild soap and water. Avoid submerging in water.

Disinfect toys if a child has been sick before returning to play. This helps prevent spreading illnesses.

Check Toy Materials

  • Read toy labels to see washing and disinfecting guidance from the manufacturer. This can help prevent damage.
  • Spot test disinfectants on a small area first before overall use. Check for any color fading or damage to materials.
  • Do not use bleach on wood, metal, or painted/printed surfaces as it can corrode and fade colors. Use mild soap and water instead.
  • Avoid submerging electronics to prevent damage. Carefully wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Safety Precautions

  • Only use child-safe disinfecting products. Avoid harsh chemicals.
  • Use products exactly as directed. Pay attention to concentration, application method, contact time, and any safety warnings.
  • Rinse all toys thoroughly after any soap or disinfectant use. Residual chemicals can be harmful if ingested by kids.
  • Ensure toys are 100% dry before giving back to children. Bacteria and mold can grow on moist surfaces.

Other Cleaning Tips

  • Quarantine new toys for 1-2 days before first use in case of any manufacturing residues. Wipe down with mild soap and water before first play.
  • Check toy labels for any special cleaning instructions. Follow guidance for optimal toy lifespan.
  • Store craft supplies like play dough and slime in sealed containers in the fridge to discourage mold growth between play sessions.

Keeping on top of toy cleaning takes a bit of work but is so important to help keep your kids healthy and safe while they play. Be sure to establish a regular toy cleaning routine and use child-safe cleaning products. With some consistent effort, you can rest assured knowing your kids’ favorite playthings are clean and germ-free.

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