Table of Contents
- Toys That Cannot Be Washed in the Washing Machine
- How Often Should I Clean the Toys?
- When Should You Clean the Toys Immediately?
- What to Avoid When Cleaning Toys Without Washing
Toys That Cannot Be Washed in the Washing Machine
Most soft toys are made from materials that can easily be tossed in and washed in washing machine. This method saves time and ensures that the toy is thoroughly cleaned.
However, our children have plenty of toys other than the usual, soft ones. In this instances, most mothers start questioning themselves how to clean and disinfect the toys that are made of plastic or wood?
Nowadays, if we look in the playing room of our child, we will see many toys that are touched and tested by our little ones on daily basis. Moreover, most of these toys spend at least sometime during the day lying around on the floor or worse outside in the garden.
Of course, we could prohibit our child taking the toys outside and make them play with them only on a dedicated playing mat. Surely we would reduce the germs and bacteria build up on the toys.
But, with that we would also take away the precious learning process that the children go through when they take the toys with them everywhere they go. When they explore this world by biting and licking every object that’s handed to them.
I am ready to bet you that there is no toy in your household that has not been licked, chewed or drooled on by your child. I know my home has none because my little one is like the detective Columbus, if there is a toy he hasn’t explored (read licked and chewed on) he will find it and he will explore it.
And because these toys spend a good portion of time in babies’ mouths, they can easily contract a number of disease and illnesses if the toys are not properly cleaned. So, today I am bringing you some of the best methods to clean and disinfect toys made out of plastic, wood, metal, and fabrics that can’t be washed;
Firstly, inspect the toy to see if it has any batteries, mechanisms or fabric that can be damaged by water. If not, then take a bowl large enough to fit the toy and add hot, soapy water.
Rinse well afterwards. If the toy is made in such way that it will not be damaged by high water temperature, toss it in the dishwasher on a regular cycle. If you have several smaller pieces, use the tableware holder or a lingerie mesh washing bag to keep them all together.
Don’t forget to let them air dry so as to avoid mildew or mold build up. If the toy has any crevices that you think might need extra rubbing, take a toothbrush and dip it in baking soda for some added cleaning power and off you go scrubbing.
Toys that are made out of natural wood, such as building blocks will go rough if washed in water. Instead, I suggest you wipe them using a microfiber cloth first and then finish off with a lint-free cloth sprayed with a mixture of white vinegar and water in a 1:1 proportion.
Never forget to remove the residue by wiping the toys with a damp towel. If you will find spots that are too dirty, you might tackle that spot with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol.
Don’t worry about the strong smell of vinegar and rubbing alcohol; both will evaporate cleanly.
Toys that are made out of fabric are the easiest to clean because you can toss them in the washing machine; however, some toys are made from fabrics that will get ruined if washed in the machine. Instead, these fabrics are best spot treated using a baby wipe or a cloth dampened in vinegar.
Remember, to always remove stains as they appear as this will save time cleaning stains that have already set deep into the fabric. White vinegar can also be used to brighten and whiten the fabric and does a great job at neutralizing bad smells.
Vomit and blood stains are best cleaned using hydrogen peroxide solution. As the hydrogen peroxide reacts, it lifts the stain from the deep layers of the fabric without damaging the threads.
#4. Board Books, Toys and Rubber Animals
Eliminate stains right away with a dry cloth then wipe with another one dipped in diluted white vinegar. Dry books in a standing position and don’t forget to separate the pages as they dry.
#5. Bath Toys
These toys need your attention more often than you think, because, contrary to popular belief they are not getting cleaned every time your little bundle takes a bath. They are best cleaned every week in a bowl with 50/50 mixture of vinegar and soapy water.
However, you will still need to wipe them dry after every use so as to prevent mold and mildew build up. Also, avoid keeping them on the rims of the bath since most water tends to collect there.
Instead, wipe and place them in a designated bucket after every use.
Metal toys such as trucks and trains are often made having plastic wheels that melt if placed in the dishwasher. Instead, I suggest you disinfect them using a mixture of light bleach and water.
Use 1 tablespoon of bleach without ammonia per 1 gallon of water, and let the toys air dry after rinsing.
#7. Toys with Batteries and Other Mechanisms
With battery operated toys look for whole battery compartments that can be removed. If not, remove just the batteries.
Then, fill a bucket with clean, hot water. Add a sensible amount of dish soap or mild laundry detergent.
Dub a cloth in the solution and spot clean the toy. You could use a nail brush to scrub the stubborn spots. Rinse by dubbing a clean, dry cloth in plain water.
If the plush toy has absorbed some unpleasant smell, put it in a bag with a generous amount of baking soda. Close the bag tightly and leave it for at least a few hours.
Then, brush the soda off and vacuum to get the last bits out.
How Often Should I Clean the Toys?
Yes, germs and bacteria are dangerous to the tender immune system of your little one. However, don’t go crazy just yet.
Most toys would need cleaning once you realize that there is a decent buildup of food residue, saliva, and other dirt. Toys that you frequently carry around in the diaper bag or the ones your little one plays with on daily basis are best cleaned every week.
When Should You Clean the Toys Immediately?
Clean the toys daily if your child has had;
- Cold, flu or diarrhea
- After you had other children around and they played with the toys
- If the toy is about to give your child has been lying around for some time
What to Avoid When Cleaning Toys Without Washing
Avoid using products that have laurate sulfate in them, parabens, SLS and ammonia. Not only are these products harmful to the environment, they are harmful to the child as well.
Moreover, avoid putting these toys in a bowl with whatever solution you choose;
- Toys that are made out of fragile material
- Toys with batteries and battery compartments
- Toys have talkative or moving mechanism in them
- Soft toys that are filled with foam pallets
In all other cases, I suggest you thoroughly read the instruction label on the toy to see what cleaning method might be best for it.
In conclusion, I would also suggest you keep a spray bottle nearby for easy and quick cleaning. Here are some mixtures that work great for most toys;
Mix equal parts of distilled water and white vinegar, add few drops of lemon juice to add a pleasant scent. Alternatively, you could add a few drops of tea tree or peppermint essential oil if your child is older than 24 months. If your child is younger, I would suggest you consult a doctor first because some children can have an allergic reaction to these essential oils.
#2. Hydrogen Peroxide
Take half a cup of hydrogen peroxide and half a cup of warm water. Dub a cloth in this solution and rub the toy throughout the surface area. Wait until the liquid stops fizzing then rinse and dry with a dry, lint-free cloth. Hydrogen peroxide does not affect the paint as much as alcohol does. Still, I suggest you do a small spot test for reassurance.
#3. Bleach Solution
When I say bleach, I strongly suggest you use one without the ammonia because ammonia tends to give harmful and odorful fumes that linger long after you stop feeling them. For disinfection purposes, vinegar can do a great job.
For a more powerful effect, you could use full strength vinegar without diluting it in water. However, if you must use bleach then always mix it with only water.
Never add anything else because bleach can react with other chemicals and produce lethal fumes. The best solution can be obtained mixing a teaspoon of bleach with a liter of clean water.
Always thoroughly rinse the toys afterwards. Lastly, soft toys can be disinfected by placing them in plastic bags and putting the bags in the freezer for at least a day. The freezing temperature will kill most harmful bacteria and germs.
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