For the very first few years of your life as a parent, you’ll find that your house is a warehouse of toys in order to satisfy your child and engage them for as long as possible. These toys could be educational, or they could be only for fun. We hope that our parents can establish a balance between both.
The thing is, in order to ensure the safety of your child, you have to take care of their belongings as well, and that’s where our list of simple tips for cleaning and disinfecting baby toys come into play.
All of these objects are the subject of a lot of love from your children, their friends, and even sometimes your own pets. Hence, cleaning and disinfecting them is paramount.
One thing that everyone should know is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning is the removal of the germs from a particular surface, while disinfecting, which we will discuss later on, means killing the germs and disposing of them entirely right in their place, and then wiping them away as you go.
Consequently, you don’t need to be disinfecting all the time. That, of course, applies to regular times, and not when the world is suffering from a pandemic. That’s when disinfecting is the star of the show.
Anyway, there are different types of toys, and each one of them has to be cleaned differently.
1. Plastic Toys
If you have any plastic toys, you can wipe them with hot water and a bit of dish soap, then go over them with clean water again. You can also use a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar, which would do the trick.
Given that this plastic toy isn’t powered by electricity or has any batteries, water will pose no danger, but if it does, you’ll have to remove the batteries first.
2. Stuffed Animals
Most of the stuffed animals today are washer and dryer safe. So, read the label and follow the instructions of which cycle is recommended for the fabric in order not to ruin them.
In the case of them being not being machine washable and/or dryer safe, you can hand-wash them delicately and speed up the drying process by using a blow dryer. Again, make sure that they don’t have any sound-producing compartments inside them that are operated by batteries, which will be totally ruined by water exposure.
3. Silicone Toys
Most silicone toys are dishwasher safe, so you can place them on the top rack and use a delicate setting not to ruin them, followed by a medium-high heat cycle for drying them thoroughly.
Still, when you take the toys out, make sure to check them for any accumulated water, specifically, if they have any holes in them because water is the best medium for germ and mold to grow.
4. Wooden Toys
Wooden toys are incredibly common, from trains and airplanes to puzzles and blocks. Wood is porous; thus, it can absorb water and be ruined over time. Hence, it must be dried thoroughly after cleaning it with either the warm water and dish soap mixture or the water and vinegar mixture.
One useful attribute of the water-vinegar mixture is that it evaporates without leaving any traces behind it. So, using a soft brush, you can clean wooden toys thoroughly, leave them to air dry for a little bit, and all traces will be evaporated.
We have previously mentioned the meaning of disinfecting of that is the killing of the germs so that you’re positive they haven’t spread anywhere else. In order to do that, you can either use a much higher heat setting if you’re washing silicone toys in the dishwasher or stuffed animals in the washing machine.
If you’re wiping toys down, then you can use a mixture of bleach and water. Nevertheless, keep in mind that bleach is incredibly harmful; hence, the proportions are 1 gallon of water to 2-4 tablespoons of bleach.
Wipe the toys’ surfaces and leave them to dry thoroughly so that the mixture is evaporated and it doesn’t harm your child in any way.
You can also use disinfecting wipes, which are filling the markets today due to COVID-19. Plus, there are plenty of cleaning products that disinfect as well; however, they’re mostly made out of harsh chemicals.
When to Clean and Disinfect
When it comes to first-time parents, they can be way too obsessed with cleaning their children’s belongings. Although that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it does take up a bulk of their time that can be otherwise utilized more efficiently. It prevents your child’s natural immune system from developing through exposure to mild germs that won’t harm them but will help them get much stronger.
So, according to the type of toy, an average for a cleaning schedule could be once monthly or every two weeks. That, of course, depends on how much love the object is getting from your child.
Nonetheless, there are some cases when toys and belongings need to be cleaned and disinfected immediately:
- When your child is having or recovering from having the flu, diarrhea, or any other mild disease. You’ll need to be cleaning the toys that he’s regularly using, and one more time once he’s fully recovered.
- If there was some sort of a play date where there were other children that could’ve had the toys in their mouths. You’ll want to clean all that up after the playdate is over.
- If a particular toy has been so unfortunate to be subjected to food spills, drink spills, vomit, or any other bodily fluids.
- If it has fallen on a specifically dirty patch of ground.
Other Things to Clean
There are some objects that parents tend to forget when they’re cleaning. Like, if your baby has a swing for a walker inside of the house. These objects have a lot of jingles, toys, and fabrics on them. They also have a ton of creases and pockets in them.
So, when you’re cleaning, for instance, a walker, take it all apart, take the fabric and wash it in the machine, then clean and disinfect every toy and jingle by itself because this stuff is incredibly subjected to the constant affection of your children.
As you can see, our list of simple tips for cleaning and disinfecting baby toys can make your life easier. You can schedule one day when you can do all of this, clean all of your baby’s toys, objects, and belongings so that they can wake up the next day to a fresh start.
Companies that produce baby toys understand the time and effort put into cleaning their products. Hence, they try and make the process much easier for parents by making their toys easily disassembled and washable by either the washing machine or the dishwasher. Consequently, parents can utilize their time much more efficiently.