Written by Tenley Haraldson. Reviewed by Cleaning Expert Sean Busch.
From stuffed animals to building blocks, play is a massively important element for your baby’s development. But any parent knows that after being chewed, thrown on the ground, or kept in the bathtub, playthings harbor plenty of grime, germs, and bacteria.
Before you reach for caustic cleaners, we’ve outlined how to clean baby toys naturally and safely.
Be Proactive, Slow the Spread of Germs
The easiest way to limit the spread of germs is by keeping your baby's hands clean. Wash them with a clean washcloth and gentle hand soap before and after eating, crawling outside, or being exposed to a sick child. If your baby (or one of their play dates) has the sniffles, be sure to wash or disinfect baby toys before returning them to the toy bin.
How to Clean Cloth Baby Toys
For stuffed toys and blankies, a trip through the washing machine every 1-2 weeks is ideal. We recommend washing them after long airplane trips or falling on restaurant floors.
Most stuffed animals can be popped directly in the washing machine. Check the label's care instructions and repair any tears/loose ends first: You wouldn't want Teddy to lose an eye (or an arm) in the process! More fragile plush toys can be placed in a mesh garment bag.
How to Clean Plush Toys Baby Toys by Hand
Sometimes, it’s better not to risk throwing a beloved stuffed animal in the washing machine. If that’s the case, you can clean baby toys as follows:
- Dip a clean microfiber towel in a solution of 10-15 drops of Natural Dish Soap and warm water.
- Lightly scrub the toy with a soft toothbrush or an auto detailing brush.
- Continuously rinse the cloth with clear water and wring throughout the process.
- Repeat as necessary.
- Use a hair dryer on a medium setting or place it on a flat, sunny spot to dry.
Pro tip: You can slowly run a garment steamer over the entire surface to kill dust mites and other potential allergens.
Can I Put Stuffed Animas in the Dryer?
Placing the toy in the dryer will help to eliminate any lingering germs. However, to avoid the risk of shrinking, you can either use a hair dryer or place it on a flat, indoor surface in direct sunlight.
Pro tip: You can pre-treat stains with our Natural Stain Remover at any point. Simply run a warm cycle using a gentle laundry detergent afterwards.
How to Clean Plastic Baby Toys (& Other Hard Surfaces)
If toys have visible dirt, stickiness, and or stains, it’s definitely time to clean them. Plastic, wooden, and bath toys should probably be washed every week. You can increase that frequency for items dropped on the floor or regularly placed in the mouth.
Mix 10-15 drops of a natural dish soap and hot water in a large bowl. Dip a clean microfiber cloth into this solution and scrub the toys completely. Rinse each with hot water, remove soapy residue, and let them air dry or wipe them down with a clean towel.
How to Clean Wooden Baby Toys
Wooden, eco-friendly baby toys are a great way to introduce babies to natural materials. They're also incredibly easy to clean.
Because it's porous, avoid soaking wood in water or putting it in the dishwasher. Instead, spot clean using a microfiber towel and a gentle cleanser. This can either be a 10:1 mixture of water to vinegar, a diluted combo of water and a few drops of mild dish soap, or a natural multi-purpose cleaner. When you’re done, allow wood toys to air dry.
How to Wash Baby Toys in the Dishwasher
Before you send toys through the dishwasher cycle, double-check their labels. Some plastic melts and warps when exposed to a combination of hot water and heated drying cycles.
If the product is dishwasher safe, it can likely be run in the top rack during a regular/gentle cleaning setting (not extra hot). Let toys air dry on a designated dish rack.
Pro Tip: For extra security, prevent toys from falling by placing them in the silverware basket or a colander.
Cleaning Baby Bath Toys
The rubbery material commonly used in bath toys is prone to mold and other gross build-up. In your bathtub, soak bath toys in a few inches of hot water and dish soap for at least an hour. Scrub with a dish brush, rinse with hot water, and air dry. If they’re dishwasher safe, follow the directions (above) before returning them to the bathroom.
Pro Tip: We recommend cleaning bath toys each week. This is the perfect opportunity to clean your bathtub!
How to Clean Electronic Toys
When cleaning electronic toys, be sure to first disconnect the batteries and replace the cover. We recommend adding 10-15 drops of dish soap to a bowl of hot water. Take a clean microfiber cloth and wring the cloth extremely well to avoid water seepage.
To disinfect baby toys, remove the batteries, spray thoroughly with a hydrogen peroxide disinfectant, and wait 10 minutes. Wipe up any remaining liquid and wait at least one hour before reinserting the batteries.
Pro Tip: To get into crevices, we recommend using a cotton swab.
Puracy Disinfecting Surface Cleaner was designed for safe use around kids and pets. Not only does our biodegradable formula kill 99.99+% of germs, but it also cleans gunk and grime off of wood, plastic, rubber, and other non-porous materials (and it's safe for food prep surfaces!).
We started Puracy to ensure highly-effective, plant-based cleaning products for the entire family. That's why you won’t find the following ingredients in any of our products: