How to Clean Toys

Molly Maid does not offer this service; however, here are some do-it-yourself cleaning tips you can use to help keep toys germ-free and ready for playtime.

We know how busy you are if you have a toddler, baby or both in the house. And as if bottles, diapers and meals aren’t keeping you busy enough… how about those toys that have completely taken over your house? You know, the ones your kids drag across the floor, leave outside and then put in their mouths? Well, they need some attention, too. Why? Because bacteria and mites love those toys just as much as your toddler does. And cleaning kids' toys monthly is a good goal. Here's how to clean those toys with as little time as possible.

How to Clean Toys in the Washing Machine

The good news is that many plush toys are just a whirl in the washing machine away from being good as new. Just be sure to check the labels for special instructions first. No one wants the wrong water temperature or dryer setting rendering their beloved “Kitty,” “Monkey,” or “Cuttlefish” unrecognizable. For smaller toys made of hard plastic, place them inside a mesh bag or pillowcase to keep them from clunking around.

How to Clean Toys in the Dishwasher

Cleaning toys in the dishwasher is another option. The dishwasher detergent and the hot water will do the cleaning and disinfecting work for you. If you don’t have a dishwasher, wash them by hand in your sink with hot water and your normal dish detergent. Larger toys, toys with electronic components, and wooden toys will need to be dusted and disinfected individually.

How to Clean Toys with Bleach

If you are washing toys and toys only, consider adding a half-cup of bleach to your dishwasher or washing machine. If you are soaking your toys in the sink, we recommend adding a half-cup of bleach per gallon of water. Let the toys soak for about five minutes, rinse and then air dry.

Some germ-fighting parents keep a separate plastic bin that’s strictly for collecting and disinfecting toys that have been contaminated. Once a toy has hit the dirty ground or been slobbered on, it goes directly into the bin where it is out of reach from children. Parents can then add water and bleach directly to the bin for easy cleaning.

How to Clean Toys with Vinegar

For a simpler, more natural cleaning solution, consider adding equal parts water and white vinegar to a spray bottle. Spritz the dirty toys with the vinegar solution and let them sit for about 15 minutes. Be sure to wipe away any remaining vinegar-water solution to minimize the lingering vinegar smell. The vinegar spot cleaning method works great for hard toys but is not ideal for plush toys or stuffed animals.

How to Clean Outdoor Toys

Have any outdoor toys? Little gyms, sandboxes, or play houses and such? Birds, bugs, pets and visiting animals make E. coli a concern, and make it necessary to sanitize these on a regular basis. Use a spray sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, or just give it the ol’ “driveway carwash” treatment with hot soapy water and a nice garden hose rinse-off.

How to Clean Secondhand Toys

Use a weak bleach solution to sanitize secondhand toys that make their way home from garage sales, resale shops or generous relatives and neighbors. Be sure to rinse well and dry thoroughly.

Molly Maid is a house cleaning service that’s been helping busy young families and busy new grandparents stay on top of germs, dust, and clutter for more than 30 years.

To have more time for yourself or to spend with the young children in your life, contact your local Molly Maid.

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