It’s a typical scene in any home that has small children. The little one is playing on the floor with her favorite toys and laughing happily. All is right with the world when you see her put her favorite toy directly into her mouth. And suddenly you’re worried about germs and dirt and a million other little microscopic creatures entering your baby’s body. You work hard to keep you house clean, but you rarely think about the toys that your little angels play with and how often those toys go into their mouths. But there is no need to worry. You can keep your little one’s toys nice and clean without resorting to noxious chemicals.
For everyday cleaning purposes, it isn’t necessary to sterilize each of your child’s toys.* You can keep the toys clean using basic ingredients and appliances that you have around the house. We’ve touted the power of white vinegar and baking soda before, and those two ingredients work wonders on children’s toys as well. Because both of these ingredients are food-grade and safe for human consumption, you don’t have to worry about your little ones ingesting them and getting sick.
Cleaning Hard Toys (non-porous materials such as plastic, wood, ceramic …) - Combine water and distilled white vinegar in a 1-to-1 ratio. Keep in a squirt bottle, and spray down the toys whenever needed. Wipe the toys clean and let them dry naturally. If you would like to boost your cleaning solution with a bit of natural antiseptic power, add 6 drops of Tea Tree oil for each 1-to-1 combination of vinegar and water. There will be no lingering taste or scent of vinegar once the toy has dried completely.
Cleaning Soft Toys - Wash as directed on the tag using a safe, organic detergent. (Our Baby Free & Clear formula is perfect for getting toys nice and clean!) If the tag is gone and the toy is made of cotton or polyester, wash it on a gentle cycle, adding ¼ cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. Sprinkling a bit of baking soda on the toys before washing them - especially if they have heavy stains or odors - can make a world of difference!
Cleaning Small Toys - If the bucket of Legos or Army men needs cleaning but the tiny size of them is daunting, here’s an easy trick. Toss them into a few mesh lingerie bags and lay flat on the top rack of your dishwasher. Run the cycle as usual using a safe, organic detergent. Use the sanitize option if your machine has it. Shake to remove the excess water, and let the toys dry naturally.
If your little one’s white toys and fabrics are stained and no amount of washing gets them clean, try “sunning” them. Lay them out in direct sunlight for an hour or so and the stains will all but disappear. If they are heavily stained, spritz with a bit of lemon juice first.
If you need to clean up toys on the go, use an organic wet wipe to clean and refresh the hard surfaces.
Keeping your kid's toys clean doesn't have to involve bleach and chemical disinfectants. The cleaning power of vinegar and baking soda can clean and refresh them quickly and easily, keeping dangerous chemicals far from your little one's mouth.*If your family is recovering from a communicable illness (such as the norovirus or other easily spread illness) or your child has a compromised immune system, you may want to use a more traditional disinfectant cleaner.