Now that my daughter is in preschool, it seems that my family gets sick a lot more than we used to. I needed to learn how to clean toys the proper way to keep the spreading of germs to a minimum.
I like using some toy cleaning tips that I have found in articles and blog posts to keep our home as germ-free as I can.
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Toy cleaning is a must in my house, especially after an illness. Not to mention that I love finding great deals on second hand toys since kids can go through them so quickly.
You can use these toy cleaning tips to learn how to clean toys you already have or to clean and disinfect ones that you find at yard sales or thrift stores.
I try to clean with products that are more natural. You can check out my full list of DIY household cleaners if you are looking for ways to keep your home clean without the chemicals.
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How to Clean Toys
Outdoor toys can get really gross after a long winter without being in use. Not to mention all of the creepy crawlies that can have made a home in them.
The easiest way to clean outdoor toys is to grab a power washer. Just spray them down and wipe clean with a towel. It should get most of the dirt and grime off of your picnic tables, swing sets, and playhouses.
If you don’t have a power washer, just grab some all-purpose cleaner (or make your own) and spray on your outdoor toys. Let sit for about 10 minutes then wipe clean with a cloth.
If you want to get rid of the dust and loose dirt that can gather on your stuffed animals, stretch pantyhose over a vacuum’s hose nozzle, then run it over the fur.
Washing stuffed animals can get tricky. Make sure to read the care label on the toy. You can place them in a mesh laundry bag to help keep them from getting too agitated.
Always hang the animals to dry, never put them in the dryer as this can cause parts to melt off. It’s best to use a gentle detergent since they are delicate.
This blog post does a great job of letting you know exactly what to use for each type of stuffed animal.
More Toy Cleaning Tips and Tricks
Bath toys can get really gross and moldy. I like to wash ours at least once a month. I take a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and warm water and put it in my kitchen sink.
I then take all of the bath toys and let them sit in the mixture for an hour. Make sure that you suck the mixture into any squirt toys so that it will clean the mold growing inside of the toy as well.
Rinse clean with warm water and towel dry.
Plastic and Silicone Toys
An easy and effective way to clean your plastic and silicone toys is to throw them in the dishwasher. Make sure the toys aren’t battery operated and that water won’t leak into them.
This is ideal for bath toys, plastic buckets, trucks, play food, etc. Put everything in the dishwasher and use the gentle cycle. Do not use the dry heat cycle or it will melt your toys! You can use a dishwasher tab or just some regular dish soap.
You can also check out this post of dishwasher tips and tricks to get the most out of your dishwasher.
Battery Operated Toys
Before you start to clean, remove the batteries or unplug the toy. Dip a cloth in soapy water and wash the exterior of the toy being careful not to get any moisture near the battery box.
To sanitize the toy, mix 50/50 rubbing alcohol and water in a bowl and saturate your cloth in the mixture and wring it out well. Wipe it over the ‘safe’ parts of the toy.
The easiest way to clean all of those sticky LEGOs is to gather them all into a high quality mesh bag. Make sure it is tightly secured and wash on the gentle cycle in your washing machine.
You can use laundry detergent or dish soap to clean them. Once they are clean, spread them out on a flat surface to dry, preferably in the sun.
Wooden toys are supposed to be anti-bacterial but I still clean ours to be on the safe side. I just soak a cloth in white vinegar and wipe the toys down occasionally. Vinegar cleans and acts as a mild disinfectant.
How to Clean Toys and Dolls
I feel bad for my daughter’s Barbie dolls, they have seen much better days. She puts them through a lot of wear and tear.
To help keep their hair under control, mix 2 Tbs. of fabric softener and add to water in a small spray bottle to make doll hair spray. Comb out the tangles and their hair should be smooth.
To remove any stains like ink and permanent marker, use a cotton swab to apply a bit of acne cream that contains 10% benzoyl peroxide. and cover the spot with plastic wrap so that the cream doesn’t dry out.
Place the doll outside in the sun for a few hours but make sure to cover the parts of the doll (like the face and hair) that doesn’t have the cream. Wipe off the cream and repeat as needed until the stain is gone.
American Girl Dolls
My daughter isn’t into American Girl dolls yet but I know that one day she probably will be. As expensive as they are, you better believe I am going to keep them as clean as possible!
According to their website, you can keep your doll clean by: Dampening a soft washcloth with lukewarm water. Make a paste of baking soda and lukewarm water.
Rub the vinyl gently in a circular motion with the paste. Wipe with a wet washcloth to remove residue, and rinse washcloth frequently with lukewarm water.
Towel dry your doll.
Use these tips for how to clean toys in your home to keep your little ones healthy and happy all year long. Plus, you will save yourself some money from having to throw away dirty unwanted toys.
As another helpful tip, you can also use a steam cleaner to steam clean toys, play pens, baby carriers and high chairs for easy and effective cleaning and sanitizing.