How to Clean Your Toddler’s Toys

Kids play with toys, sleep with toys, and nibble on toys. They do so at home, in the car, or out in the yard. Toys can end up under the couch, on the kitchen counter, or buried deep in the sandbox. Your little one’s favorite toys travel with them wherever they go – and they can easily collect some dust and dirt along the way. That’s when you step in, to make sure that these constant companions stay clean and keep your child healthy!

A toy roadster with a toy drill and 3 drill bits.

When to Clean

Every parent tackles chores in a different way, but having a routine could make cleaning your toddler’s toys a little easier. If laundry day is on Wednesdays for example, you can start up a load and give your little one’s toys a good wipe down before it’s time to switch things over to the dryer. And if your kiddo’s most-loved toys are stuffed animals, then you can likely throw ‘em in with the clothes!

Cleaning toys on a weekly basis is a good way to go about it, but there are exceptions to every rule. If your child decides to make their doll a sous-chef while they bake mud pies all summer long, you might want to wash it more often. And same goes for when your kid has a case of the sniffles – wash the toys they play with more frequently, and especially once they recover!

A red roadster toy shown from the back.

How to Clean

The first question to ask yourself before cleaning a toy is what type of toy it is! Generally, you can sort your toddler’s toys by these categories: plastic, plush, bath, electronic, and wooden. And each category comes with its very own cleaning approach:

Plastic toys: if you have a dishwasher, placing plastic toys on the top rack can ensure a thorough clean. No dishwasher? No worries! Simply sanitize the toys with your average disinfectant wipes.

Plush toys: most stuffed animals can go into the washer and dryer. But to be safe, you can pop the plush into a pillowcase! Another option would be to clean stuffed animals using a cloth dipped in soapy water. Once you’ve gone over the whole toy, leave it to dry or speed up the process with a hairdryer!

Bath toys: a whole lot of squirting and splashing can often lead to mold and mildew – a situation which can be remedied by cleaning them like plastic toys or by giving the toys themselves a bath in a cleaning solution (such as water and vinegar). If you opt for the solution, rinse and dry a couple of times to make sure the solution has left the building!

Electronic toys: because of their electronic features, these toys can’t take a trip to the dishwasher or the washing machine. Instead, you can turn the toy off, take out the batteries, and thoroughly clean it using a disinfectant wipe or a well-wrung cloth.

Wooden toys: same goes for wooden toys! These classic companions can’t be dipped in water, which is why they need to be delicately cleaned using a slightly damp cloth.


With What to Clean

Figuring out which cleaning product to use also depends on what type of toy you’re cleaning. If you’re popping in a few plastic toys in the dishwasher, dishwasher soap will take care of the dirt – just double-check them afterwards to see if there are any tiny spots left to clean by hand. If you’re freshening up your little one’s teddy bear in the washing machine, the detergent you use for clothes will do the trick. If your kiddo’s electronic and wooden toys got a little dirty, then go for a disinfectant wipe or a well-wrung cloth that was dipped in soapy water.

And avoiding the use of harsh chemicals when it comes to cleaning all toys is a safe bet, because something like bleach can potentially damage your child’s toys.

Whether you make toy cleaning a part of your weekly routine or simply trust your instincts, keeping toys spotless will keep your child happy and healthy!