SA Kids On The Go

How to Disinfect Toys

Rebecca Desfosse, 9 Feb 2018
Toys get dirty and carry germs, it's a fact.
Babies and young kids put their toys in their mouths all the time and can often pick up germs and illnesses from dirty items, especially during cold and flu season.
Reduce your child's chance of getting sick by keeping her belongings clean and sanitized. Here are some tips to help you out:
Toss hard toys in the dishwasher
Using the dishwasher is the easiest and most effective way to clean and sanitize your child's playthings.
Unfortunately, you can't just toss all of your kid's belongings in the dishwasher. Only hard plastic toys without batteries, music boxes or other delicate items can withstand the heat an intensity of a dishwasher.
Make sure to place all toys on the top rack of the dishwasher and set the machine on the sanitizing cycle. If you don't have a dishwasher, you can hand wash toys with soapy water. Then sanitize them with a solution of rubbing alcohol and water.
Hand wash soft toys
Soft plastic and rubber toys can melt in the high heat of a dishwasher.
Instead, hand wash these with soapy water. Then use a solution of rubbing alcohol and water to sanitize the playthings to keep them free and clear of any viruses or bacteria.
Wipe down wooden toys
Some toys (such as wooden toys or those with batteries and music boxes) can't handle any type of soap or water.
For these, mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the toy and wipe it down. The antibacterial properties of the vinegar in the solution will sanitize the toy and any lingering smell will dissipate within a few minutes.
Spot clean the plush
Stuffed animals, or plush, are tricky to clean effectively.
First, check the label. Many stuffed animals advise against machine washing. If this is the case, spot clean the toy with a solution of laundry detergent and water.
For particularly dirty toys, you may want to take the risk and attempt to machine wash it. Some toys turn out just fine despite the warnings.
Just keep in mind that you may need to replace the toy if it gets ruined. Be sure to remove any battery packs, music boxes or delicate clothing items on the toy before throwing it in the washer.
How often should you clean toys?
It actually depends on the age of your child.
Since babies and toddlers put their toys in their mouths more frequently, you should them once or twice a week. Older childrens' playthings only need to be cleaned about once a month.

No matter the age of your child, you should ramp up your regular cleaning during the winter months to help ward off the flu and the common cold.

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