When a baby is born, it has a very fragile immune system and it will remain fragile during its first year of life, and gradually increase as the child gets older. This is why it's important to clean a baby's toys, as the primary site in which infectious diseases enter the baby's body is through the mouth, which is also where nearly every baby toy will end up. Here are some easy tricks for cleaning baby toys.
The dishwasher is a great tool for cleaning baby toys. This works particularly well for cleaning hard toys, such as plastic teething rings or rattles. They can be put in the top rack of the dishwasher, and there are even small bins that fit in the rack to keep small items from falling through. Be sure not to overload the dishwasher as this can affect how clean the items get.
Another must-have for cleaning baby toys is a microwave sterilizer. In the past, items like bottles and pacifiers were boiled, but this can be time consuming and result in burns. However, there are sterilizers that fit in the microwave that use a small amount of water which turns into steam to kill any germs that may be present. This can also be used for hard baby toys and even plastic feeding utensils. The sterilizers are available in the baby department of most major discount stores and baby stores.
According to the Clorox website, regular household bleach can be used to disinfect baby toys. The site recommends adding a half-cup of concentrated bleach to a gallon of water. This will make a rather potent solution, so be sure to wear gloves to keep skin from becoming irritated. Soak hard, non-porous toys in this solution for five minutes then rinse and let air dry. The site also says that a couple of their spray cleaners with bleach can also be used for cleaning baby toys.
The washing machine is a great option for soft items like stuffed animals in addition to things like car seat and stroller pads. Wash soft toys in hot water with baby detergent and either ammonia or hydrogen peroxide. Both of these are great alternatives to chlorine bleach, which can damage colored fabrics, though there are some colored fabrics that are chlorine safe. Be sure to dry items in a hot dryer as well. This will kill any remaining germs. Keep in mind, a run through the washing machine can shorten the lifespan of some lower quality toys, so parents should be aware of this when selecting soft toys.
There are a number of sanitizing wipes on the market that are safe to use for baby items. In fact, there is even one type of wipe that is safe to use on things like pacifiers that the baby will have in their mouth. These wipes are effective at cleaning hard toys, and because they come in small packages, they are a great choice for diaper bags or for the car to keep toys clean on the go.
If you’re a little put-off from the idea of dunking your baby’s toys in bleach, how about using a natural cleaner, like vinegar? Mix a cup of water with distilled white vinegar and you’ve got yourself a cheap and effective cleaner. And, don’t worry about the smell, simply rinse the toy in water and set it out to dry, and the smell will disappear in no time.
In some natural living circles, there is a belief that allowing children to get sick will boost their immune system. While this may work in toddlers and older children, it is a different matter for babies. During the first year of life, the baby's immune system isn't able to easily fight off most diseases, which is one of the reasons that it is recommended that a baby gets so many immunizations during his or her first year. This is also why it's important to clean a baby's toys.