As much as we try to keep our baby’s toys and accessories in spotless condition, sometimes the unexpected can happen.
Outside of any mishaps, however, those toys still get plenty of regular contact with little mouths and sticky fingers. It’s safe to say they’ve earned their own spa day. Similar to learning how to clean baby bottles, it's just as important to learn how to clean baby toys.
Given that our baby’s playthings will soon find themselves in tiny hands once again (and tiny mouths), many parents wonder about the best way to clean baby toys. Luckily, we have plenty of pointers on how to return them to their former glory and keep inspiring giggles for months and years to come.
6 Eco-Friendly Ways to Clean Baby Toys
Whether you're a first-time parent or a grandparent, you may be looking for new tips on caring for your little one. You might wonder how to wash baby clothes in a safer way with readily biodegradable cleaning products or, in this case, how to properly clean toys. We’d have a hard time naming any baby toy that doesn’t at some point find its way into a little mouth.
That’s why we recommend sticking with plant-powered cleaning products and methods. Keeping any unwanted chemicals and toxins far from your baby’s toys can help protect their health.
Thankfully, using eco-friendly cleaning methods doesn’t mean your options are limited. Below, we’ve gathered 6 tips to help you clean your baby’s toys with confidence and peace of mind.
Can You Use Disinfecting Wipes on Baby Toys?
Before we get into our tips, it’s important to be aware of cleaning solutions to stay away from. As a parent, finding ways to save time can be a huge priority. After all, less time spent cleaning means more time rolling around on the floor and hosting storytime. Yet, some quick cleaning solutions like disinfecting wipes contain harsh chemicals that can do more harm than good.
When looking for cleaning solutions and soaps, we recommend steering clear of products that include:
These and other chemicals can cause irritation to your little one’s sensitive skin as well as more serious health problems and are quite toxic to the environment.
Instead, we recommend using products with the Safer Choice logo, which indicates cleaning products that are both safer for the environment and still perform just as well as traditional cleaners.
#1 Place Stuffed Animals in the Washing Machine
Our baby’s huggy bears, stuffed giraffes, and even cozy baby blankets are susceptible to drool, spit-up, and usually become grubby from day-to-day use.
The good news is that a simple cycle in the washing machine can give their favorite stuffed toy a good clean.
If you plan on using a washing machine to get the job done, keep these tips in mind:
- Use cold water.
- Set the machine to a low spin cycle.
- Add a gentle laundry detergent like our ECOS Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent with Enzymes (gentle enough for your baby’s fuzziest best friends, but relentless against grime).
- Place the toys inside and start the washing machine.
- For extra protection, you can put the toys inside a pillowcase or mesh laundry bag.
- When finished, put the toys outside to air dry, or use a low setting on your dryer.
#2 Scrub Toys With Warm and Soapy Water
Plastic toys with many small surfaces or intricate parts may need a little more personalized attention when it’s time to clean. Luckily, the tools you need to get them looking oh-so-fresh are easily found around the house.
All you need to give those toys a thorough clean is:
- Warm water
- Some gentle but effective soap like our ECOS Hypoallergenic Dish Soap. This plant-powered dish soap features a readily biodegradable formula.
- A soft cloth and a toothbrush or scrub brush
Once you have your handy toy-cleaning toolkit, simply fill a sink or a bowl with soapy water. Wipe down the toys with the damp cloth and use the toothbrush to get into any hard-to-reach areas. Then, rinse the toy with water when you’re done and set them out to dry. For battery-powered toys, use a dry towel to wipe them down, being conscious of their electric parts.
#3 Clean the Baby Toys in Boiling Water
We loathe to think of anything creepy or crawly making its way onto our little ones’ playthings, but germs can spring up anywhere—especially when babies often share toys and play with each other.
The good news is that you don’t need a hospital-grade sanitizing system to keep your little one safe from germs. A simple dunk of their toys in some boiling water can be an effective way to eliminate different types of bacteria and viruses since the extreme heat works to inhibit their growth.
It’s important to note that not every toy is made of materials that can withstand water or high heat. So before you get started, take a quick look at the label of the toy to make sure it’s safe to plop it into a pot of boiling water. If the toys have any electrical cord or batteries included, you’ll definitely want to find an alternative cleaning method.
Follow these steps:
- Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil.
- Using tongs or pinchers, carefully place the toys in the water. The water should be high enough to cover them completely.
- Let the toys soak for a few minutes as the water continues to boil.
- Remove the toys safely using tongs. (Remember, they’ll be very hot!)
- Place the toys on a clean surface where they can cool down and air dry.
#4 Throw Them Right in the Dishwasher
One hands-free way to clean your baby’s toys is to run them through the dishwasher.
Much like the boiling water method, we recommend you check the toy’s packaging or label to make sure it’s dishwasher safe. Avoid this method for any toys with batteries or electrical components, as the water could damage their internal parts.
You can place medium- and large-sized toys either on the top or bottom rack. If they’re on the smaller side, you may want to throw them into a container or mesh bag so they’re not tossed about the dishwasher throughout the cleaning cycle.
What is the Best Way to Disinfect Baby Toys?
Depending on their materials and parts, some toys may require a more specialized approach than others.
Before you disinfect electronic toys, unplug any cords and remove the batteries. Then spray a cloth with a disinfectant made with hydrogen peroxide, a safer cleaning chemical, like our ECOS One-Step Disinfectant Cleaner.
Wipe down the toy with the damp cloth, being extra cautious of its electric parts. Be sure the toy is fully dry before reinserting any batteries or plugging it in.
Wooden or Plastic Toys
You can clean wooden and plastic toys by making a solution of gentle soap and warm water, or by using a solution designed for that purpose, like ECOS All-Purpose Cleaner.
You can also put some wooden and plastic toys in the dishwasher, as long as the label doesn’t specify not to. Once they’re clean, let the toys air dry.
If running your baby’s plushies through the washing machine seems too risky or you’re looking for a way to save water and electricity, you can also clean them by hand using a microfiber towel and a gentle soap, such as our plant-powered laundry detergent.
How Often Should You Clean Baby Toys?
As you survey the wide path your baby’s toys make around the house at playtime, you might wonder how frequently you’ll need to give them all that TLC. The most obvious option is when they’re noticeably dirty. Yet, toys can still have hidden germs even if they look squeaky clean.
To help keep a regular cleaning schedule, consider the following:
- Try to clean them on a weekly basis.
- Sanitize once per month.
- If your baby has been sick or if other children have used them, disinfect them right away.
- If your dog or another house pet has licked or chewed on them, disinfect them right away.
Cleaning toys, even with a simple damp cloth, cleaning product (like our toy and table cleaner), and water, can help ensure you're keeping your little one healthy.
A Commitment to Clean Toys and a Cleaner Planet
Staying on top of your baby’s toy cleaning doesn’t have to be an added chore to your already long list of to-dos. Whether it's a stuffed animal or a plastic toy, getting them clean is a must. With these tips, you can make cleaning and disinfecting easier—and uninvite all of those pesky germs from your next play date.
No matter which method you use to clean your assortment of baby toys, our safer cleaning products with readily biodegradable formulas help make it simple and stress-free. Rest assured that with our baby cleaning products, your little one’s favorite play spaces and must-have cuddle buddies will stay clean and free from harmful toxins.
New York State Department of Health. Boil Water Response - Information for the Public Health Professional. https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/boilwater/response_information_public_health_professional.htm