We spend a lot of money on toys for our babies and kids! We love colors, toys that make sounds, toys that don’t make sounds. Plush, plastic, soft and fuzzy. We are struck by claims of IQ boosters. We pay extra for BPA free, natural wood, organic, non-toxic and made in the USA. Basically, we are willing to give more for things that will advance our children while keeping them super healthy. Interestingly, can we all also say that we regularly clean those toys so that they continue to be safe for the kiddos?
Maybe yes for some of us and maybe no for others. Truth is, toys need to be cleaned pretty frequently. They have to be wiped down for regular old food spills, but also disinfected to kill the invisible bacteria loitering about. It is really important for babies, since everything goes into their mouths. But it’s not to be forgotten for the older crew. After all, they eat a lot of finger foods, touch other kids, may or may not eat those boogs…Whatever the case, we need to do our job as parents to clean the germs off their toys, and to do it regularly. To remember to do this, its a great idea to set a couple of repeating reminders in your phone. One reminder should be set to go off twice a week for all chairs, “stations” and wood/plastic toys. This should include the frequently used items. Any books that are used regularly should hit this category. Another reminder then needs to get set to cover plush, cloth and less frequently used toys. This should include all of the toys that are more difficult to clean than a spray and a wipe. If you can do these toys more than once a week, that is great. But if not, set a goal for weekly for now. As we know favorite toys shift in and out of popularity for our kids. So, as long as you are getting the toys used more with more swipes of a sponge, you’re doing well.
If you haven’t read up on how to clean toys safely, here is a great link. This lady knows cleaning and she broke it down into meaningful categories like toys with batteries, toys without batteries, plush, etc. I am not embarrassed to admit that I for one did not know how to do it correctly…
Last but not least, be sure to use safe products to clean the toys. Baby detergent for anything hitting the washing machine. Vinegar is a great disinfectant for wood toys, and won’t make them smelly. Last but not least, Seventh Generation has a multi-purpose spray toy cleaner.