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How to clean second hand and used baby toys

Read our top tips on how to clean second hand or used baby toys. Find out how to wash and disinfect toys safely, so they are ready for playtime!


washing line with a teddy bear drying after cleaning second hand baby toys

Key steps

  • Check the label as some toys can be popped in the washing machine but others need washing by hand.
  • Always wear gloves when using bleach products.
  • When disinfecting toys with bleach products like Domestos, rinse them off thoroughly to avoid your children coming into contact with chemicals.

Buying toys for your children can be very expensive, so hand-me-downs, charity shop purchases and other second hand toys are a great way to save money. The problem is that babies love to explore new toys often putting them in their mouths, especially if they are teething. Here you will find top tips for how to clean second hand baby toys and a useful step-by-step video so your children can play without you worrying a bit!

With its germ-busting and antibacterial qualities, using a bleach-based product like Domestos is a great start when cleaning toys for toddlers. Just check the suitability of the product on the material first and rinse off the toy properly afterwards.


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Why is sterilising baby toys important?

There are a number of reasons why sterilising baby toys, especially if they are second hand, is important.

  • Toys are a breeding ground for bacteria, as they come into contact with so many different things, inside and outside the home.
  • You don’t always know where second hand toys have been, but you can almost guarantee they will have been played with and chewed on by at least one other child.
  • Toys are likely to at one point or another to end up in your baby’s mouth.
  • Babies have a naturally low immunity, so it is important to protect them as much as you can.

How to clean toys with bleach

Knowing how to disinfect toys with bleach is easy, there are just five simple steps you need to follow:

  1. Wash the toys as thoroughly as you can first, using hot, soapy water. Some soft toys can be popped straight into the washing machine, whilst others may need to be washed by hand.
  2. Rinse the toys off using cold, plain water.
  3. Whilst wearing gloves, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to clean the toys using bleach.
  4. Thoroughly rinse off the toys using clean, plain water to ensure that no bleach residue is left behind.

Is it safe to use bleach when cleaning toys for toddlers?

As long as you ensure that you wear gloves, and follow the instructions on the label, bleach is an effective way to kill germs on most surfaces, including toys. Always check if the product you are using needs diluting before use, and do a spot test on a small area of the toy to check it won’t be adversely affected by the bleach.

Now you have all the tips and tricks you need for how to clean kids toys safely, you can not only save money with second hand toys but allow your children to play without worrying about them putting their new toys into their mouth.

Originally published