Toy Cleaning

How To Clean Toys and Keep Children Healthy!

Learn different ways to clean toys of all types and how often toy cleaning is recommended for your child(ren)!

Clean Toys Promote A Healthy Environment

The latest medical research says that for a child’s immune system to develop properly, a child should be exposed to dirt (bacteria). Therefore Antibacterial cleaners and bleach are no longer preferred as toy cleaners.

How Often To Clean Toys

Baby and toddler toys which typically are in children’s mouths, should be cleaned frequently. Daily or twice a week, depending on how often they are played with. Play toys that are not mouthed, should be cleaned once a month. Most of all use your judgment. If a toy is visibly dirty, then clean it. Soft toys should be cleaned monthly, since they attract dust which breeds dust mites.

How to Clean Hard Toys

Hard toys are typically made of plastic, metal and/or wood. There are a number of non-toxic cleaners in the market, and I prefer them.

Dapple Toy Cleaner
is not antibacterial, so baby can build up a strong immune system while enjoying clean surroundings. Best of all, it is eco-friendly and biodegradable.

You can also use hot soapy water for washing hard toys. Please rinse thoroughly.
If you get ink stains on vinyl (which dolls are normally made from) use rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs. Rinse thoroughly after cleaning.

Another method for use with small plastic toys is the dishwasher (top rack), which actually sanitizes them (kills bacteria). Toys should be fairly sturdy (not thin plastic) so they don’t warp in the heat.

Clean Toys with Clorox removes the wanted bacteria. Clorox makes disinfecting wipes, which are very convenient and also kill the Flu Virus. Lysol also makes disinfecting sprays and wipes. While commonly used for toy cleaning, bleach is toxic and dangerous. Extreme care should be exercised around young ones if cleaning toys with bleach.

PLEASE assume nothing- Read the manufacturer’s Directions for Use and Caution. These toys come into close contact with your children. Always follow manufacturer’s recommended cleaning instructions, if available.
It’s very important to rinse the toys thoroughly after cleaning with toxic cleaners..

With battery-operated and electrical toys take care to make sure that no liquid gets near the batteries and wiring. If the toys have moving parts, avoid getting liquid into them.

How To Clean Soft Toys
Almost all soft toys, plush and dolls can be machine washed.
Unfortunately, many do not have washing instructions, especially dolls.

We recommend this: Wash your toy as described below. If it doesn’t survive, then replace it with one that can be washed. Sew any holes or open seams BEFORE washing.

Large Plush
: Open a bottom seam and remove all stuffing material. Wash the toy’s plush skin (see below for Washing Instructions). Then re-stuff the toy and sew the seam.

Soft toys and dolls, that can’t be machine washed: (Please read the label for Contents)

  • Battery operated toys with moving parts
  • Electronic talking/music toys- that have non-removable electronic modules
  • Anything metal
  • Dolls with moving eyes or eyelashes-
  • Dolls with polypropylene hair (used on inexpensive dolls) *
  • Plush toys or dolls with cardboard inserts (in paws/feet etc.)
  • Plush toys stuffed with styrene foam or excelsior

( * To test- cut a lock of hair, put it in water & push under the surface. If it floats- or doesn’t sink then you CAN’T wash it. Washable nylon hair will sink in water.)

Machine Washing
Instructions for Soft Toys:

  1. Wash toy and clothing in separate bags.
  2. Put the toy in a closed pillow case, mesh bag or other.
  3. Machine wash in cold to warm water, NO BLEACH.
  4. Air dry overnight for best results.
  5. A dryer on AIR setting is OK, but never a heated dryer.

Cleaning Stuffed Toys By Hand:

  1. Sprinkle the baking soda on the stuffed animal.
  2. Allow 30 minutes to clean Bush (or vacuum) the baking soda off.
  3. An all purpose cleaner and scrub brush may be used for stained or very dirty areas.
  4. If there are stained attached plastic parts use rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs. Rinse thoroughly after cleaning.

For additional information on cleaning toys please visit:

Toy Cleaning- John’s Hopkins -Clean Toys with Clorox -Dapple Toy Cleaner Spray


Dust Mites In Soft Toys

Microscopic bugs called dust mites infest soft toys, bedding and furniture. They create an unhealthful condition, which affects some people more than others. Dust mites can trigger some allergic reactions, which can be particularly dangerous to asthmatic children and adults.

How To Destroy Dust Mites

  1. Put the toy in a plastic bag and close it
  2. Per the Dust Mite Center: Put bagged toy in your freezer for one full day.
  3. Then wash the toy as described above.

For Additional Information regarding Dust Mites please visit:

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

Dust Mite Center




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