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How to clean baby toys

Germs are a worry for all parents, but it's easy to wash baby toys without a fuss – discover how with our step-by-step guide.


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Cleaning baby toys is an essential part of motherhood. From day one, our babies are like little explorers desperately seeking out new sensory experiences – and this can mean that their toys can get dirty! However, the best way to clean baby toys is not always obvious, let alone how to clean baby toys safely, and you don’t need to be a germaphobe to wonder what the best solution is!

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Choosing the correct method to clean baby toys often depends on the toy itself. Here we show the difference between cleaning and sanitising, describe how to clean baby and kids toys naturally, and describe how to clean baby toys with bleach.

Don’t be put off using bleach as you think it’s too strong! This well-known germ killer is great for cleaning baby toys after your child has been ill and is perfectly safe if you use a bleach product like ones from DOMESTOS in a diluted form. It is however very important to always follow safety guidelines on the product and store cleaning products out of reach of children.

How To Clean Baby Toys Safely

Baby toys should be cleaned on a day-to-day basis. Using soap and water or a standard disinfectant or baby wipe, carefully wipe off any grease or grime, and the majority of germs will be removed as you clean.

To sanitise your baby’s toys, you will need a sanitising solution, such as diluted bleach in water or DOMESTOS Thick Bleach. Always wear gloves and carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s particularly important to sanitise your child’s toys if they are ill, are playing with friends, or have a tendency to put their toys in their mouth.

For a natural sanitising solution, combine distilled white vinegar and water in equal parts and spray onto your baby’s toy, leaving for 15 minutes before wiping off. Remember to test any product or method on a small area first.

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Cleaning Baby Toys: Different Toys, Different Methods

There are so many different types of baby toys! Here is a quick guide to the best way to clean different types of baby toys. Remember that any electronic or battery-operated toy should be cleaned according to the instructions in the manual.

Stuffed animals: If the care label indicates that the toy can be washed, then fabric toys can be washed in a washing machine on a delicate cycle and then dried on low heat or left to air-dry. The toy’s care label will indicate if the toy is machine washable, but if you are unsure, then it’s worth spot cleaning the toy with water and a gentle shampoo or laundry detergent, leaving to air-dry as before.

Small plastic toys: Non-battery-operated toys and teethers can usually be washed in the dishwasher on the top rack – they might even have a ‘dishwasher-safe’ icon. To clean by hand, scrub these small plastic toys in warm water with washing liquid. Rinse the toy thoroughly in warm water and leave to air-dry.

Large plastic toys: Non-battery-operated large plastic toys will need to be washed by hand with a clean sponge and warm water and washing up liquid. Rinse thoroughly and leave to air-dry.

Wooden toys: Disinfectant or baby wipes will easily clean most wooden toys. To sanitise the toy, spray a mild solution of white vinegar and water and dry off quickly and thoroughly to avoid excess moisture which could stain the toy.

Bath toys: Bath toys can quickly grow mould, so be careful to squeeze out any residual water after every bath time. For a more thorough clean, soak in a solution of diluted thick bleach and water for 5 minutes, rinse in cold water and drain thoroughly.

Barbies and other dolls: The different materials used in dolls means you will have to use a few different cleaning methods. Plastic limbs can be cleaned with washing up liquid, whereas soft, fabric bodies can be cleaned with water and a gentle shampoo and left to air-dry. The hair on dolls can quickly become sticky and tangled, but by washing it as you would human hair (a small blob of baby shampoo with warm water) will work to bring the former flowing locks back to life.

Cleaning Baby Toys With Bleach – Is it Safe?

Bleach is an effective method of killing germs, and if used properly, is safe for you to use on different surfaces or materials – just follow the instructions on the label (especially if using a product that needs to be diluted) and test it on a small area first.

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Originally published