8 Simple Tips On How To Clean Your Baby’s Toys

Tips To Wash Your Baby's Toys

While your baby's favorite toys must be cleaned every week, visibly stained toys or toys used during your baby's recovery from a cold or an upset tummy need immediate cleaning. Hand wash fabric toys, wash metal toys in the dishwasher, soak bath toys in a white vinegar solution, give plastic toys a soap soak, and wipe down wood toys. Use natural cleaning agents like mild castile soap, tea tree oil, and vinegar.

Cuddly teddies, cute plastic ducks, big-eyed dolls, and colorful board books … if you’re a parent with a baby at home, you’re no doubt shopping for toys of all kinds to amuse, entertain, and educate your little one. While you bring home toys that are age appropriate and certified safe, are you also keeping them clean? Regularly cleaning and disinfecting babies’ toys reduce the chances of germs spreading and your child falling ill. Stuffed or soft toys, for instance, make a perfect home for dust mites over a period of time, a potential cause of allergies. Bath toys can harbor molds and bacteria.


Different types of materials used to make toys – fabric, hard plastic, metal, or rubber – need different cleaning methods.

All toys don’t come with instructions for cleaning, but you can follow a few simple, common-sense ways to keep your baby safe from likely health hazards. Let’s explore some ways to clean babies’ toys.

1. Wash Or Surface-Clean Stuffed Toys

If the label on your baby’s stuffed bear says it’s water-safe, you can wash it in a sink and let it drip dry on a drainer. Alternatively, you can just chuck it into the washing machine and have it come out squeaky clean.

You might choose to buy only machine-washable stuffed toys. Look for toys made of acrylic fur or with “100 percent nylon stuffing” labels. Air dry washed toys and leave them in the sun for a while. Sunlight is among nature’s most powerful disinfectants!

Steps To Follow For Machine Washing

Steps To Follow For Surface Cleaning

If teddy doesn’t look overly grubby, just spot clean. Dip a clean washcloth in soapy water, partly wring out, and wipe the toy. Rinse very well.


2. Machine Wash Or Dry Clean Fabric Toys

Cloth dolls filled with polyester fiber can be washed just like stuffed animals in a washer (read the label to make sure). With some dolls, you can detach their heads and wash only the body. You could place the doll in a pillow cover before washing so that the stitches on its feet and hands remain intact. Doll clothes should be hand washed in a mild detergent-and-water solution.

Don’t pop fabric toys which have a battery pack or make sounds into a washing machine as this will render them silent.

While some fabric toys may need hand-washing, others can be “dry cleaned.” You will need:

Fill the pillow cover with bran and place the toys inside. Hold the cover tightly closed and shake vigorously for at least 5 minutes. Remove the toys from the pillowcase and brush out the excess bran on the toys.

3. Wash Plastic Toys And Wipe Wooden Toys Clean

Never soak wooden toys in water as this can cause the material to warp.

Most plastic toys need only be washed with mild soap and water, rinsed well, and towel dried. Wooden toys, on the other hand, can be washed with a natural cleaning solution (see our recipe below) or a mix of baby soap and water. Wipe thoroughly with another damp cloth.


4. Wash Bath Toys With White Vinegar Solution

When shopping for bath toys, look for products that don’t have a hole in the bottom as these tend to harbor more bacteria and mold.

Soak your baby’s bath toys about once a week in a 50:50 mixture of hot water and distilled white vinegar. Rinse and air dry. Wash bath books with soap and warm water and stand them upright with the pages separated for quicker drying. If they are dishwasher-safe, bath toys can be put in the dishwasher as well. This will get rid of any residual mold and bacteria.

5. Hand Clean Metal Toys Or Use A Dishwasher

On a pair of old pantyhose, place 2 drops of baby oil and wipe the toys clean to remove food stains and grime. Wipe the toys again with another clean cloth. Using baby oil prevents metal toys from rusting as well.

The type of metal toy you have will determine how it’s to be cleaned. Many metal toys can safely go into a dishwasher. However, if they have flimsy rubber parts like car or truck wheels, avoid this method of cleaning to prevent the heat from disintegrating the rubber. Instead, opt for hand cleaning with a natural solution or diluted bleach – 1 tablespoon bleach should work for a quart (4 cups) of water. Air dry.


6. Disinfect Toys, Especially When Baby Is Unwell

If your baby is sick and the pediatrician says it’s an infectious ailment, take extra care to keep the toys clean and disinfected. This is even more important when there are other children in the family. Here are a few tips:


7. Swap Chemical-Based Cleaners With Natural Cleaning Solutions

While store-bought mild detergents or cleaning agents, used minimally, are recommended by many experts, not all parents are comfortable using these on babies’ toys. If you’d rather make your cleaning solutions at home with natural or mild ingredients, here are some ideas. These can be equally effective at cleaning toys and, importantly, safe for your baby.

Castile Soap Solution

Castile soap is a detergent-free soap made with plant oil-based glycerin (usually, olive oil) minus fats, animal-based ingredients, or chemical detergents. It’s a versatile and completely natural product that’s good for baby’s bath too. A cleaning spray with castile soap can be used on toys when your baby is ill. You can use it on other occasions, too, as an alternative to regular soap if you want to give the toys a quick bath.


Tea Tree Oil Solution

Tea tree oil contains antibacterial and antifungal compounds that make this solution a good choice when cleaning and disinfecting toys. Bonus: it smells good. Fill a 1-liter spray bottle with water. Add 30 drops tea tree oil and shake well. Spray over plastic toys and wipe off with a clean cloth. Rinse the toy thoroughly with plain water and air dry. You can add a few drops of glycerin to the same mix and use this to spray clean and buff wooden toys.

3. White Vinegar Sanitizer

Mix 2 tablespoons of white vinegar in 4 cups of water and use to disinfect toys. You can also clean up crayon stains and other grime with a cloth dipped in vinegar. Add a splash of vinegar to soap water to clean and disinfect in one shot.

8. Clean Toys Depending On How Often They Are Used

You don’t have to let a cleaning routine overwhelm you! Here are a few thumb rules that sum up when – and how often – to clean toys, without going overboard.

Keep a “dirty toy ” bin and promptly drop in any toy that is visibly dirty, say once your child has finished playing or if they’ve put into their mouth. Don’t forget to keep the bin out of your child’s reach!

Clean toys immediately if

Clean these toys once a week


Spring clean once a month

Even if there’s no particular reason to clean up, set aside one day in the month to clean all your baby’s toys thoroughly.