Clean Play: A Guide to Disinfecting Baby Toys

Clean Play: A Guide to Disinfecting Baby Toys

Parents already have a lot to worry about, so cleaning their little one’s toys is one of the many things they occasionally overlook. But given that these playthings can pose a threat due to the build-up of germs and bacteria, and with babies tending to chew on just about anything they can get their hands on, the risk of your child getting sick increases.


Thankfully, cleaning baby toys doesn’t have to be a struggle, and many effective yet simple ways exist to get the job done. Below, we discuss the different cleaning options and recommendations for the toys that your baby adores.


How often should you clean baby toys?

In general, toys require regular cleaning, regardless of whether they are wooden math toys or stuffed animals. If you’re unsure whether they need cleaning, just clean them so you can feel less worried. Baby teethers and other playthings that frequently get nibbled on by your curious toddler are best cleaned daily or every other day to prevent them from becoming a breeding ground for germs. Weekly cleaning should suffice for most other toys they play with.


Essentially, the real answer lies in how often and the way a toy gets played with and if they are shared with their siblings or other children. Sometimes, a quick wipe-down will suffice, while others need a thorough washing daily.


Disinfection methods for your baby’s toys

Before looking at the best disinfection methods, it is important to note that cleaning and disinfecting are not one and the same. Depending on the situation, you may sometimes want to do one or the other.


Cleaning entails physically eliminating germs by removing them from the surface of whatever you are cleaning and washing them away. An example is spraying off grime and dirt from a baby toy.


Disinfecting, on the other hand, involves killing germs using chemicals, heat, and other means that prevent bacteria and viruses from spreading and reproducing.


Ideally, you’d want to clean baby toys before disinfecting them, as many disinfecting agents aren’t designed for cleaning. With that said, below are some of the common disinfection methods you can try:


1. Bleach

There are two ways to use bleach in sanitising baby toys. The first is to use ½ cup of bleach per gallon of water to clean certain playthings, books, and other surfaces. The best practice is to pour the solution into a clean spray bottle, spray it into a towel, and wipe. This way keeps the dispersion of chemical fumes to a minimum.


The second option is to pour the diluted bleach solution into a bathtub or sink and let the toys sit in them for 10-15 minutes. Rinse them thoroughly afterwards and then air dry.


2. Boiling water

This method is simple enough and only requires placing toys in boiling water, which is great for killing germs but not necessarily for cleaning. Choose the toys that will not melt or deform in boiling water and let them sit for around 3 minutes. Dry them out afterwards and wait for them to cool down first before storing them.


3. White vinegar

If you’re the type of parent to steer clear of anything containing harsh chemicals, white vinegar is the all-natural disinfecting agent you can rely on. That said, just note that the usual vinegar products in grocery stores typically only have a 5% concentration, with the rest being water. On average, this leaves behind around 20% of the germs on the surfaces you’re cleaning. As such, try to look for products with a higher vinegar solution percentage, like 30% and up.


You can use vinegar like bleach, adding a half cup of vinegar for every gallon of water. Fill a tub or sink with the solution and soak the toys that need disinfecting for around 10 minutes. Make sure to rinse thoroughly afterwards and let the toys air dry.



Parents naturally prioritise keeping their children healthy and happy, which often entails plenty of washing and cleaning of the little ones themselves as well as their clothes and toys to keep germs and sickness at bay. Although regularly sanitising the things your child plays with daily is important, don’t forget to give yourself a break occasionally.


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