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Children's toys can be havens for germs and bacteria and should be disinfected — especially if they are played with often, have been in contact with sick children, or when the toys start to look dirty.
However, the important thing to remember is that not all toys should be cleaned the same way, especially those with batteries. These three tips will show you how to disinfect toys that are plastic, plush, or battery-operated.
How to Disinfect Plush Toys
Plush toys, also known as stuffed animals, can take a real beating. Especially because they are usually a child's most loved toys.
For plush toys that are played with often or even slept with, it's a good idea to clean them once per week or at least every other week. Plush toys that are used less often should be cleaned monthly or as needed.
It is typically best to clean and disinfect plush toys in your washing machine on the warm cycle. Most plush toys can be dried in a clothes dryer as well. If the plush toy is more delicate, air drying may be best. For really delicate plush toys, it is best to hand wash them in a teaspoon of laundry detergent and a gallon of warm water.
How to Disinfect Plastic Toys
Plastic toys that don't require batteries or any electric to operate can usually be washed in the dishwasher on the top rack. Simply place the toys on the top rack of your dishwasher and use the same dish detergent you would use to wash your dishes. The dishwasher will help disinfect and dry those toys without harming them. Some toys that may absorb water may need to be drained after washing them in the dishwasher.
How to Disinfect Battery Operated Toys and Larger Toys
Toys that use batteries or are too large to be placed in a dishwasher should be cleaned and disinfected using a diluted bleach solution. It's easy to make and will help kill any bacteria that may be on the surface of your children's toys. Here's what you need to do:
Mix 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach with 1 gallon of warm water, and place in a spray bottle or bowl.
Apply the diluted bleach solution to the toys using either the spray bottle, or wipe onto the toys with a sponge or scrub brush. Allow the solution to sit on the toys for at least five minutes. For large, non-battery operated toys, rinse with warm water and allow to dry. For battery operated toys, wipe clean using a clean, damp cloth or sponge, and allow to dry.