Baby toys can be a magnet of germs that could cause illnesses to your child especially when they are not properly cleaned and sanitized.
After all they get dropped on the floor, they catch drool and even bits and drops of food and cereal, they get shared amongst kids — some have viral illnesses, some are well. In the bathroom, some toys even retain water and grow harmful molds and bacteria inside!
So how can a parent deal with all the cleaning and disinfecting toys?
- Have a regular cleaning schedule. If you want to do it daily, twice a week or once a week — do it. What is important is have a regular toy cleaning and disinfecting routine that works with your schedule. Of course it will be best if you can do it at least once a week.
- Hard plastic toys for instance can be soaked in either bleach solution, or if you want something more natural and chemical free — you can use a vinegar-water solution or hydrogen peroxide and water solution. Soak it a bit. Then air dry.
- Bathroom toys should be cleaned and drained after every use. If you can’t clean it, put them in a mesh bag and hang in one corner of your bathroom to drain the liquid inside and at the same time, to dry.
If the liquid will be left to stagnate in the toys, molds may grow and may eventually cause illnesses on your child especially when they get to touch or worse taste the murky water inside! To make sure this will not happen choose a toy that does not retain water. Avoid those that squeak and have holes in the bottom. Dispose toys with molds right away.
- Plush and fabric toys. You can clean these toys by putting them on the wash and drying them thoroughly and sunning them right after. Stuffed animals and furry toys in particular harbor dust and germs and can cause allergies and asthma attacks especially when not regularly washed or cleaned. Check the label though because some delicate ones may require dry cleaning.
- Fabric and plush toys that cannot be washed. Plush toys that may have batteries or parts which cannot be submerged in water can still be cleaned. Make a water and hydrogen peroxide solution in an old spray bottle. Spray on the toy and put it under the sun to dry and further disinfect
- Hard plastic toys that cannot be immersed in water or washed. These are battery operated toys. You can just wipe these with a clean cloth soaked or sprayed on with a disinfecting solution of your choice which can either be bleach- based, vinegar-based, or hydrogen-peroxide based. You may also use alcohol if you wish.
- Have a disinfecting solution for when you are outdoors. Bring a small disinfectant spray solution so that when you are outdoors and the toy drops on the floor, you can safely disinfect it for your child to use again. Just refill a spray bottle small enough to fit your purse or diaper bag
- Sterilize teething toys. This is very particularly important as teethers go in the mouth of the child. After washing teething toys in soap and water, sterilize the teethers in boiling water for at least 10 minutes and then air dry. If it cannot withstand that high a heat, then just immerse it in hot water for five to 10 minutes then air dry. Make sure to put them in a clean and washed container afterwards. It will help as well if you can have a bin for teething toys that have to be washed. You can actually just put it amongst your baby’s utensils that have to be cleaned for the day as most teethers can be safely cleaned in the top rack of a dishwasher.
- Make sure to clean, sanitize and disinfect after a bout of illness, or whenever a sick child shares your child’s toys. The germs may linger in the toys so cleaning and disinfecting after a viral illness like cough and colds, or especially stomach illnesses is a must.
So there you have it, make it a point to clean and disinfect your child’s toys. It will help if you have a separate bin for dirty toys where you can put the toys that await washing or cleaning and sanitizing. Once that bin gets filled, wash them but make sure there are enough toys for your child to play with while you are sanitizing and drying up the others. Rotating toys could be a key to ensuring its cleanliness and safety.The small amount of time that you take to clean your child’s toys will go a long way in terms of keeping illnesses at bay. As they say, prevention is way better than having to cure.