We get questions about how to safely clean toys at least once a week. I really believe that people are getting overly paranoid about germs now that the Swine Flu did a number on our mentality about illnesses. Thing is, I understand. I felt it too… the uncertainty, the debating over getting flu vaccines, the worrying that our kids or us would get some horrible sickness and spread it to our families. But I firmly believe that over sanitizing and MicroBan-ing everything we touch is unhealthy for us in the grand scheme (not to mention MicroBan and Triclosan could be endocrine disruptors). Germs are good.. building immunity is good. Inconvenient, but good. But again, I get it. No one wants to get sick, ever. However, I do think a level of cleanliness is important too so periodically cleaning your childs toys isn’t a bad idea… as long as you do it safely.
True there are safer cleaning products on the market and you may have seen the commercial of the mom washing her childs bottles and toys in a bleach and water mixture in the sink. If that’s your bag, fine. But I think its overkill and there are less toxic methods of toy cleaning.
Teethers and Baby Toys: Instead of thinking of it as sanitizing, think of it more or less like eliminating surface dirt. Some toys you may be able to run through the dishwasher. Other’s might need a quick soap and water soak in the tub/sink. Other’s may only be able to tolerate a wipe down with a cleaner and soft cloth. Here’s a recipe for a spray bottle mixture you can use to wipe down toys and teethers.
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 Cup Distilled White Vinegar
- 6 drops of Tea Tree Oil (natural antiseptic qualities)
Mix together in a re-purposed spray bottle and either spray directly on toys or spray onto a soft cloth to wipe things down.
Stuffed Animals: These can harbor dust mites and dust so a good way to kill that process is to put them in an airtight bag and stick them in the freezer for a few hours to kill any dust mites. Most stuffed animals you can also stick in the washing machine if they are made from cotton or polyester and they’ll be just fine.