How to clean and disinfect your child's toys

Your kid's toys are probably full of germs

Credit: Getty Images/ goodmoments
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What You Need:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Q-Tips
  • Empty spray bottle
  • Protective gloves
  • Small bucket
  • Vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Water

Time Needed

25 minutes

Difficulty

Easy

Your kid's toys are filthy

Small children love their toys and sippy cups. They love them so much they carry them everywhere—the kitchen, the car, even the bathroom. Then, after they’ve managed to expose them to as many germs as possible, they plop them right into their mouths.

Microbiologist Dr. Susan Witterier of New York - Presbyterian/Columbia University Hospital tested 50 bath toys and sippy cups for ABC’s Good Morning America and found mold and/or bacteria on all 50 of them. Worse, they found fecal matter present in 20 percent of the sippy cups.

Needless to say, it’s important for every parent to learn how to clean and disinfect their children’s sippy cups and toys. Read on to learn how to easily keep your child's toys clean and germ-free.

Plastic Toys

plastic toys
Credit: Getty Images / DmitriMaruta

Hydrogen Peroxide is perfect for cleaning and disinfecting plastic children’s toys because it kills germs and it’s safe for your household and little ones. It’s also less expensive than most cleaning products you buy at the store. We recommend wearing protective gloves when using hydrogen peroxide so it doesn’t irritate your skin.

  1. Put the toy on top of an old towel, countertop or in the sink to keep any excess solution off the surrounding surfaces.
  2. If your toy is particularly dirty or has caked on food, etc. rinse or soak it in warm water.
  3. Pour a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water into a spray bottle.
  4. Spray the toy with the solution and wipe it thoroughly but firmly with the microfiber cloth.
  5. Use the Q-Tip to get in any cracks, crannies, buttons or knobs.
  6. Hydrogen peroxide does not have to be rinsed away, simply allow the toy to dry before returning it to your child.

Wooden Toys

wood toys
Credit: Getty Images / Thomas Vogel

Never soak wood toys in water, even in cases with caked-on dirt; moisture is the enemy of wood and excess water will cause the toys to bloat and swell. In addition, hydrogen peroxide is too astringent for wood and could lead it to splinter and crack.

  1. Put the toy on top of an old towel, countertop or in the sink to keep any excess solution off the surrounding surfaces.
  2. In a clean spray bottle, combine 1/3 cup white distilled vinegar with 2/3 cup water.
  3. Spray the toy with the solution and wipe it thoroughly but firmly with the microfiber cloth.
  4. Use the Q-Tip to get in any cracks, crannies, buttons or knobs.
  5. Wipe the toy dry with a clean towel before returning it to your child.

Cloth Toys

fabric toys
Credit: Getty Images / Elen11

Many cloth toys can be washed in the washing machine. It’s best, however, to use a little TLC and hand wash anything with embellishments such as glitter, buttons, yarn, ribbons, embroidery, etc. If you’re unsure, and there isn’t an instruction tag, it’s probably best to err on the side of caution.

  1. In a small bucket, mix up a 50/50 solution of dish soap and water.
  2. Dip your microfiber cloth in the dish soap solution, and gently dab any soiled areas on the toy.
  3. Wipe with a small amount of clean water to remove any soap residue.

Rubber or Foam Toys

foam toy
Credit: Getty Images / Michael Burrell
  1. Put the toy on top of an old towel, countertop or in the sink to keep any excess solution off the surrounding surfaces.
  2. If your toy is particularly dirty or has caked on food, etc. rinse or soak it in warm water.
  3. Pour a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water into a spray bottle.
  4. Spray the toy with the solution and wipe it thoroughly but firmly with the microfiber cloth.
  5. Use the Q-Tip to get in any cracks, crannies, buttons or knobs.
  6. Allow the toy to dry before returning it to your child.

Plastic sippy cups

sippy cup
Credit: Reviewed / Sarah Kovac

Most plastic sippy cups—whether they're one of our top rated or not—can be cleaned and sanitized by using the heated power of the dishwasher. Follow the cleaning directions for the specific brand you use in order to avoid melting. It’s also important to separate the components beforehand (cup, lid, straw, etc.).

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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