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How To Naturally Clean Toys: 11 Safe and Non-Toxic Ways

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The Ultimate Guide on How to Naturally Clean Toys

If there’s one thing you figure out pretty quickly as a parent, it’s that children seem to make messes everywhere — especially on their toys. So how do you ensure their toys are safe and clean without using toxic chemicals? You check out this guide on how to naturally clean toys!

Whether you have safe and non-toxic wooden toys, or you’re trying to figure out how to clean stuffed animals, you’ll find all the tips you need on how to naturally clean baby toys so you can be sure you’re always keeping your kids healthy and protected.

1. Hand-Wash With Warm, Soapy Water

Wooden toys

Hand-washing is one of the best ways to safely and naturally clean toys. You can wash pretty much any toy by hand using warm water and a mild soap, including wooden toys, rubber toys, and plastic toys.

Use a toothbrush or organic cotton unpaper towel to clean the cracks and small spaces in the toys. Then either wipe the toy with a cleaning cloth soaked in fresh water or use plain water to rinse off the soapy water.

Related: The Best Organic Baby Gifts All New Parents Will Appreciate

Set the toys aside and allow them to air dry. If you’re washing wooden toys, it’s a good idea to immediately wipe them dry to prevent damage.

If you want to disinfect the toys after you wash them, wipe or spray them with an equal parts mixture of rubbing alcohol and water. Leave the rubbing alcohol solution on for one minute, and then rinse the toys with clean water.

Related: The Best Ethical and Eco-Friendly Clothes for Children (That Are Actually Affordable!)

2. Use the Dishwasher

If you’re trying to multitask and reduce your cleaning time, some hard plastic toys (that don’t have any batteries or electrical cords) can go in the dishwasher when you clean a load of dirty dishes. However, you should always check the label or packaging to see if states whether or not the toy is dishwasher safe.

If the toys can go in the dishwasher, the warm water and dishwasher detergent will do a good job of cleaning away dirt and sticky messes.

Since the heating element in dishwashers is typically on the bottom, you should only put toys on the top rack where the water is cooler to prevent melting. Also, never put wooden toys or plush toys in the dishwasher.

Related: Protect and Nurture Your Baby With the Best Eco-Friendly Diapers

3. Boil to Sanitize Toys

Little baby girl with teething toy

You might already know that boiling is a quick and easy way to clean and sanitize baby bottles. But did you know it’s also great for doing the same thing to hard, plastic toys?

Simply fill a pot with water, stick it on the stove, and wait for the water to boil. You only need to boil toys about 3 minutes to sanitize them.

However, just like washing toys in the dishwasher, you should always make sure to read the label to see if boiling is an accepted method for cleaning. Also, never boil toys that have batteries or electrical cords since the hot water can damage or melt the toy.

Related: How to Teach Your Children About Sustainability With These Eco-Friendly Books

4. Clean With Vinegar

Vinegar can clean a surprising number of things around the house, including many types of toys. Vinegar is also a great way to naturally sanitize toys.

However, just make sure you check out this list of 8 things you should never clean with vinegar so you don’t accidentally damage toys by using vinegar on it.

If you have a lot of small toys you need to clean, you can fill a sink with equal parts water and vinegar. Not sure what type of vinegar to use? Don’t forget to check out this helpful guide on the best vinegar for cleaning!

Place the toys in the sink, and allow them to soak for about 15 minutes. Then rinse them off with fresh water and allow them to dry.

If you have bigger toys or toys with batteries or electrical cords, create your vinegar-water mixture and then use a cleaning cloth to wipe down the toys.

After cleaning, wipe the toys again with a cleaning cloth soaked in fresh water, and let them air dry before you hand them back to your kids.

Related: The Best Eco-Friendly School Supplies for Children of All Ages

5. Toss Toys in the Washing Machine

Socks, pacifier, and stuffed bunny hanging from clothes drying line

Oftentimes, plush toys that need cleaned can go in the washing machine. Just make sure you always read the label to look for special care instructions.

When washing toys in the washing machine, use a gentle cycle with cool water and use a safe and non-toxic laundry detergent. To add a little extra protection, you can also toss the stuffed animals in a lingerie bag. Or you can put them in a pillowcase and knot the top to keep the toys from falling out.

After they’re clean, you can put the stuffed animals in the dryer on low (still in the pillowcase or bag) or set them in the sun to dry.

Related: How to Make Your Laundry Routine Easier, Safer, and More Sustainable

6. Vacuum Away Dirt

Some toys are just too delicate to go in the washing machine. Other times they have battery packs, so they can’t soak in water. And sometimes toys just need a quick freshen-up.

That’s when you can use a vacuum cleaner!

For light cleanings, simply use the hose or brush attachment to vacuum any dirt or dust off the toy. You can also use baking soda and a vacuum to clean stuffed animals.

Give the stuffed animal a light dusting of baking soda, rub it in, and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Then use the hose attachment on your vacuum to clean away the baking soda.

When you’re vacuuming a toy or stuffed animal, just make sure you’re careful around buttons, eyes, or any other loose parts.

Related: The Best Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids (That They Actually Want to Receive!)

7. Use a Steam Cleaner

Baby indoors playing with toy truck

Steam cleaning is a quick, easy, and natural way to clean and sanitize toys without having to use harsh chemicals. The best part is you don’t have to use anything complicated to steam clean toys.

This inexpensive handheld garment steamer can effectively clean everything from plush toys to car seats, so you know everything your children come into contact with is safely sanitized.

Steam cleaning is also a fantastic way to naturally clean toys because it kills germs and dust mites. By removing dust mites that might be hiding in your kids toys, you could help reduce their allergies.

Related: The Best Non-Toxic Art Supplies for Kids and Adults

8. Wipe Down Electronics

Since you can’t submerge electronics in water, you have to come up with a different way to clean them. Surface cleaning electronics with a wipe is the best way to clean these toys.

These plant-based, biodegradable wipes are specially formulated to safely and effectively clean tablets, smartphones, laptops, cameras, game consoles, and more.

Simply use them to wipe down the front and back of your electronic toys to get them fresh and clean within seconds.

Related: The Best Green Apps to Help You Live a More Eco-Friendly Life

9. Use a UV Light

A UV sanitizer box uses UV-C light to quickly and effectively sanitize a variety of objects in just a few minutes. The great thing about this box is that although it has a large interior capacity, it also has a small footprint, so it can easily fit on a countertop.

If you want to use the box to disinfect toys, simply place them inside and turn the box on. Within minutes, the UV-C light eliminates all viruses and bacteria without using any dangerous chemicals.

Plus, in addition to being able to sanitize small toys and baby products, you can also use it to disinfect wallets, books, glasses, personal care products, dishes, utensils, keys, phones, tablets, and other things you carry around every day that could bring germs, viruses, and bacteria into your home.

Related: How to Naturally Clean Your Entire Home Without Using Toxic Chemicals

10. Don’t Forget to Clean Bath Toys

Rubber Ducks on the soft towel and soap. Close-up.

Yes, those bath toys might be in soap and water a lot, but that doesn’t mean you can skip cleaning them!

Depending on the type of toy, you might be able to clean it with soap, use the vinegar solution, or put it in the dishwasher for an eco-friendly clean. Any of these options will help remove dirt and any mold or mildew that might pop up from being in a wet location.

Related: How to Make a Highly Effective Tub and Shower Cleaner With Just Two Ingredients

11. Scrub Outside Toys

Outdoor toys can quickly get covered in dirt and grime. Fortunately, there are several ways you can easily clean them.

One option is to use soap and a scrub brush to take care of any dirt or messes that have accumulated on outdoor toys. Since you’ll be cleaning these toys outside, it’s very important to use a biodegradable soap, such as Castile soap.

Plus, there are plenty of other amazing things you can do with Castile soap around your house, so you won’t regret having a few bottles on hand.

For larger toys like cars and playhouses, you can also use some biodegradable soap and a pressure washer to blast away dirt.

No matter which option you choose, be sure to rinse the toys with clean water, and then leave them out in the sun to dry.

Related: Eco-Friendly Outdoor Activities to Keep Kids Entertained All Summer

How Often Should I Clean Baby Toys?

You have a long to-do list as a parent, and adding one more thing might feel overwhelming. But ensuring your baby’s toys are clean is incredibly important. So how often should you clean toys?

Your children’s favorite toys that they play with all the time should be given a simple cleaning once a week. Also, don’t forget to clean any toys used after a playdate or if any kids in your house are sick.

Otherwise, you can stick to cleaning toys about once a month.

Additionally, keep in mind that when your children grow out of their toys, you don’t have to throw them away. Instead, check out this master list of where to donate used toys!

Related: The Best Reusable Cloth Baby Wipes for Non-Toxic Care

Non-Toxic Ways to Naturally Clean Toys

Keeping your children safe is your top priority. So don’t turn to toxic chemicals to clean their toys. Instead, use one of these non-toxic and natural ways to clean toys to ensure playtime is always safe for your children.

More Helpful Eco-Friendly Tips

Did you find these tips on how to naturally clean toys helpful? Are you interested in learning even more ways you can easily live a more eco-friendly life? Then please be sure to take a look at some of our other popular posts:

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