Babies of all ages generally have one thing in common; they put nearly everything in their mouths on a consistent basis. Mouthing is how infants explore their world. This is one reason it’s important to periodically clean your baby’s toys. Even indoor toys or toys that are new and haven’t been played with can harbor dangerous germs that will go straight into your infant’s mouth putting him/her at risk for illness and infection.
However, some cleaning products are just as dangerous to your baby as the germs you are attempting to kill. While keeping baby toys clean is important, cleaning them properly is equally vital. Improper cleaning can also lead to damaged or destroyed toys, which quickly becomes expensive.
This simple step by step guide on how to clean baby toys will share which products are safe to clean baby toys, when and how often they should be cleaned and how to clean the various play things your baby has.
Experts are torn on whether regular exposure to cleaning products can cause health issues in children. There are however safe cleaners that there is no debate about that a parent can use.
Vinegar: Vinegar has been long known to disinfect and clean. It may not taste good but its edible and entirely safe for all ages.
Baking Soda: Baking soda will neutralize odors and work like a detergent but without the harmful chemicals.
Hot Water: As clean and safe as it gets, good old fashioned boiling or hot water is underestimated in the cleaning world.
You clean just about anything, including your baby’s toys using various combinations of the above three items while saving a bundle of cash on cleaning products to boot.
If you would rather use cleaning products be sure to read labels. Look for products that are non-toxic and biodegradable. If their safe for the environment their more likely to be safe for human beings. You may also want to avoid heavily scented cleaning products as these may aggravate some children’s breathing or cause skin reactions. Consider freshening the scent of your home with plants instead. Plants are proven to improve air quality, are attractive in the home and can smell wonderful. For dual use you could even purchase fragrant herbs for cooking use and start an indoor herb garden.
You don’t have to go cleaning and sanitizing every toy in the house each and every night to have a healthy baby. In fact studies suggest that children who have some exposure to everyday dirt and germs actually have healthier immune systems than children that are raised in an ultra-clean and sanitized environment. This is because their bodies are exposed to less dangerous or even harmless bacteria and germs which allow their immune system to become stronger, where as a child that has never been exposed to such things will have an unprepared immune system when it inevitably encounters these things in life.
When to Clean toys:
You should clean your baby’s toys about once a month or in the case of any of the following:
-When toys become visibly dirty or have been covered in food or drink bits.
-If your baby, family members or any visitors have been sick or are recovering from sickness.
-When baby buddies come to play and slobber on toys.
As a parent a good rule of thumb, is if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth for any reason, you should wash it.
Now that you know what to clean with and when to clean, the final step is to clean those toys.
Cleaning Hard Material Baby Toys without Batteries
You can just wash these toys like you would a dish. Throw them in the dishwasher or into the sink with everything else. All natural soap and some hot water is all that’s needed. Larger toys can be sprayed with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water and then wiped down.
Cleaning Hard Material Baby Toys with Batteries
You don’t want to submerge these toys as if a toy has batteries it likely has electronics which will be destroyed in water. You can spray these toys with a vinegar water solution and then wipe clean with a rag. Be careful not to over saturate and some toys are particularly sensitive to moisture.
Cleaning Plush or Soft Baby Toys without Batteries
You can clean these toys just like the laundry. Toss them in the machine. You can use your baby’s detergent or plain old baking soda as cleaner. You may want to air dry them as many baby toys can melt in the dryer.
Cleaning Plush or Soft Baby Toys with batteries
Unfortunately these toys are hard to clean. In some cases you can remove the electronic box from the toy and wash them as stated above. If the electronic parts are not removable you can spray the toy with a mix of vinegar and baking soda to disinfect and deodorize. Some parents swear lemon juice and day in the sun will remove stains. Hand washing may also work if you are careful to avoid soaking electronic components.
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