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Clean and Safe: How to Disinfect Baby Toys

Disinfecting toys is child's play with our simple go-to guide. Learn the basics from how to wash a teddy bear to how to clean wooden and plastic toys!


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Wooden toy train

We’re always on the lookout for ways to keep our children clean and safe. Siyempre, dapat laging safe si baby! So we’ve created a go-to guide for how to clean stuffed animals, wooden toys, and more!

Key Steps

● Remove batteries before cleaning interactive toys.

● Wear gloves when using bleach.

● Always dilute bleach for disinfecting children’s toys.

● Use a mild laundry detergent to wash soft toys.

● Use baking soda to freshen soft toys which cannot be machine washed.

● Use natural cleaners and the sun to clean wooden toys.

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Why You Should Know How to Clean Baby Toys

Cleaning your little one’s clothes is a big responsibility. Bawal ang isip bata dito! Understanding how to disinfect toys (especially if you have hand-me-downs or ukay-ukay purchases!) is important for a number of reasons:

● As they come into contact with so many different environments and people, toys become a breeding ground for bacteria.

● Second-hand toys are almost always guaranteed to have been chewed on by at least one other child.

● At one point or another, any of the toys you have in your home will likely end up in your baby’s mouth.

● Our baby's immune systems are still developing, so it’s important to do what we can to protect them.

How to Clean Toys with Bleach

Read on to discover our easy steps for how to clean a car track, bath toys, and more.

What You Need

● Mild washing-up liquid

● Hot water

● Soft-bristled brush

● Soft cloth

● Cotton buds

● Baking soda

● Toothbrush

● A large bowl or bucket

● Bleach such as Domex Multi-Purpose Cleaner

When you are following our guide for how to disinfect toys, take care not to oversaturate them with any cleaning products, as this can cause irreparable damage.

The method

Before starting, check the care instructions for your toy.

1. Fill a bowl or bucket with hot water and add a squirt of washing-up liquid.

2. Follow these steps for how to clean battery terminals and the toy, too:

● Remove the batteries.

● Dip a soft cloth into the soapy water.

● Use the cloth to wipe down the toy, taking care to avoid the battery compartment. Never submerge the toy in water.

● Mix a paste of equal parts baking soda and water.

● Use a cotton bud to apply the paste to the battery terminals.

● Leave for a few minutes, then use a toothbrush to remove all traces of the baking soda paste.

● Make sure the toy is fully dry before replacing the batteries.

3. For toys that do not have batteries, follow these steps to wash them:

● Leave the plastic toys to soak in the soapy water for 10 minutes.

● Using a soft-bristled brush, gently remove any visible dirt.

● Rinse well with cold, plain water.

4. Next, you want to disinfect the toys. Always wear gloves for this stage.

● Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to clean the toys using bleach.

● Always take care to dilute the solution. Never use undiluted bleach on children’s toys!

● Use clean, plain water to rinse the toys off thoroughly. Ensure that no bleach residue is left behind.

Allow the toys to air dry before putting them back in the toy box.

How to Disinfect Wooden Toys

Wooden toys are made from natural products, so it’s important to take extra care when cleaning and disinfecting them.

  1. Natural products clean natural toys best. We recommend white vinegar or apple cider vinegar diluted with water.

  2. Avoid immersing the toys in water. All you need to do is to dip a soft cloth into the solution and wipe the surface of your toy.

  3. Pop the wooden toy out in the sun to speed up the drying process! UV is a great way to kill off any leftover bacteria but make sure not to leave the wooden toy out too long as this could lead to colors fading.

How to Wash Soft Toys: A Step-by-Step Guide

Whether you want to know how to clean a very old teddy bear that you’re passing on from your childhood, or you’ve bought something from the local ukay shop, here’s our guide for how to clean soft toys and disinfect them for your children.

What You Need

● A mesh laundry bag or pillowcase

● Mild laundry detergent

● A needle and thread

● Baking soda

The Method

1. The first step to washing cuddly toys is to make sure you check the care label and always follow the advice provided.

2. If you notice any loose threads, holes or other damage, make sure to fix these first.

3. Next, follow these instructions for how to wash a plush toy in the washing machine:

○ Always use a mild, child-safe laundry detergent such as Breeze Liquid Detergent Gentle and Free

○ Place your toys inside a mesh bag or pillowcase.

○ Use a gentle, cold cycle to wash the toys.

○ You can also check out how to wash a teddy bear using a pillowcase by watching this video.

4. If your soft toys can’t be washed inside the washing machine, you may want to know how to clean teddy bears with baking soda. Follow these steps:

○ Sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the material of the toy.

○ Place the toy into a zip-up plastic bag or a pillowcase, taking care to ensure the top is sealed.

○ Shake the bag for a few minutes.

○ Leave the toy inside the bag for 20-30 minutes.

5. Once the time is up, remove the stuffed toy from the bag, and shake off any remaining baking soda.

The Do’s and Don’ts

When it comes to understanding how to disinfect baby toys such as old teddies, or your child’s favorite plastic toy there are a few important do’s and don’ts you should be aware of.

Do clean toys regularly to ensure they are safe for little hands (and mouths... we all know babies love to chew everything!)

Do check the label or instruction booklet and follow any recommendations provided by the manufacturer.

Do check any cleaning solutions on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure that it doesn’t cause discolouration or other damage.

Do use gloves when using any bleach products when disinfecting your child’s toys.

Don’t forget to turn off interactive toys and remove batteries before cleaning.

Don’t use bleach in an undiluted form to clean any children's toys.

Don’t give your children their toys back until you’re sure they are properly rinsed off. With this go-to guide for how to disinfect a teddy bear, clean a wooden toy and more, we have shown you just how to get your child’s toys hygienic and ready for play once again!

Originally published