Properly disinfecting toys is a year-round job that can help reduce the spread of germs, according to the Healthwise staff at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. The toys in your home should be cleaned to reduce the spread of germs, which are microorganisms capable of causing disease, as they can lead to serious issues ranging from ear to viral infections.
The Best Way to Disinfect Toys by Type
Not all toys are created equal. Cleaning procedures should be tailored by toy type and material. Check out our recommendations for disinfecting hard plastic toys, disinfecting stuffed animals, and disinfecting wooden toys.
Steps to Disinfect Hard Plastic Toys
- Hard plastic toys – action figures, balls and bath toys – are some of the easiest to clean.
- Collect all hard, washable plastic toys that have been used.
- In an empty sink, rinse the toys with hot water and scrub them with a sponge.
- After the initial rinse and scrub, fill up the sink with warm water and add 1/3-cup of bleach for every gallon of water (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/disinfecting-your-home.html).
- Soak the toys in the bleach and water solution for at least one minute.
- Do a final scrub of each toy and rinse with warm water.
- Place all toys on a towel to air-dry.
How to Disinfect Stuffed Animals
Plush items – stuffed animals, soft books, softballs – can be much more difficult to disinfect. According to one study, they can also contain more germs than your bathroom floor.
- Collect all plush toys that need to be disinfected. Ensure they are machine washable and that all accessory items are removed (items that can fall off during the washing process).
- Place the toys in the washing machine with your choice of detergent. Choose the hottest possible setting along with the extra rinse setting. For an added germ-killing boost, you can throw in a half cup of bleach or four cups of white vinegar (depending on the color and material of the items).
- Before drying, double-check that your plush toys are dryer safe. Then place all dryer-safe items in the dryer on the hottest setting. Throw in two or three clean tennis balls to help maintain the toys’ fluffiness.
How to Disinfect Wooden Toys
Water can warp or impact the texture of wooden toys. Because of this, it’s vital that you do not soak wooden toys, but wipe them clean and thoroughly dry them before storing.
- Wipe each toy down with a solution that is equal parts white vinegar and water. Alternatively, you may substitute the vinegar with a couple of drops of a mild soap (like dish soap).
- Use a dampened towel to wipe away any residue.
- Allow the toys to air dry on a clean, dry towel.
If spot cleaning is needed on dirty areas of the wooden toy, use a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol. After wiping the area clean, use a damp cloth to ensure all rubbing alcohol is removed. Always remember to keep rubbing alcohol out of the reach of children.
How to Disinfect Toys Without Bleach
Many parents choose to not use bleach during the cleaning process. View these bleach-free cleaning alternatives to disinfect children’s toys:
- Professional toy cleaning – Restoration dry cleaning is a great way to disinfect fabric toys. Textile restoration dry cleaning services from CRDN can disinfect and restore children’s plush toys and other textile items. CRDN also provides restoration cleaning services for electronic toys.
- Wash toys in the dishwasher – Similar to disinfecting baby bottles, before using the dishwasher as a disinfecting solution, be sure that the toys are dishwasher safe or do not contain materials that may melt during the cleaning process. Simply place all toys in the top rack and run your dishwasher on the hottest cleaning setting.
- Boil toys in water – Boiling water is another great way to disinfect items that are made of hard plastic or silicone (no battery packs or metal that may rust), such as bottles, toys, and pacifiers. Before trying this, check to ensure your toys can be boiled as a method of cleaning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, simply wait until the water is boiling and place the toys in batch by batch for five minutes. Keep the burner on during the entire process and stir the pot once or twice to make sure items haven’t melted or are stuck on the bottom. Carefully remove the toys with tongs and place them on a towel to air dry.
Professional Disinfecting Services Near Me
Some home textiles and electronics can’t be cleaned, restored, or disinfected using at-home methods. The restoration experts at CRDN are on standby and ready to provide restoration dry cleaning and disinfecting services to help ensure the contents of your home are free of contaminants and germs. Call the toll free number at the top of your screen or find a CRDN near you to get started today.
About CRDN Cleaning Network
CRDN, the Certified Restoration Dry Cleaning Network, was born out of a need by the insurance and disaster restoration industries to handle fabric contents of homes and businesses damaged by smoke and soot caused by fire as well as water damage. CRDN provides textile and electronics restoration. Your local CRDN is committed to providing quality textile restoration services and a seamless textile restoration process. We work to add more value to insurance adjusters and policyholders by covering a wide range of clothing and household textiles.