How to clean and disinfect children’s toys

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Children’s toys can be sources of germs. Children can play, throw, chew and even sleep with their toys meaning it is best to try to ensure they are cleaned every so often to prevent dirt and grime building up. has compiled a guide to show you how to effectively clean and disinfect children’s toys.

How often should you clean children’s toys?

The frequency with which you clean your toys depends upon how often they are played with.

Generally, you should disinfect toys more often if your child is ill or if, given the current coronavirus pandemic, the toy has been used by other children outside of your own household.

It is important to clean and sanitise toys thoroughly once your child has recovered from any illnesses.

How to clean bath or plastic toys

Solid plastic toys such as animal figurines, building blocks and rubber rings can be cleaned in your dishwasher.

You should use a normal or sanitising cycle and enable a heated drying process.

You can also use disinfectant wipes or a wet cloth with a hydrogen peroxide solution.

How to clean soft toys

Stuffed animals, fabric books and other textile toys are usually safe to clean in your washing machine.

These toys can be washed and dried on the sanitising cycles.

If your soft toys have labels with cleaning instructions, it is best to check the manufacturer advice and follow those instructions.

To clean toys in your washing machine, you should put these toys in a pillowcase to protect them and tie the top.

Choose a gentle cycle with warm water and a slow spin.

Once the cycle has concluded, dry the toy in the pillowcase in your dryer on a low-heat setting or pacing the toy directly on a drying rack.

If you do not want to use either of these methods, you can also use a hairdryer on a low heat and speed setting.

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How to clean electronic toys

Electronic toys can often only manage surface cleaning so it is best to wipe them with a clean cloth dipped in warm soapy water.

You must be careful to ensure not to allow any liquid to seep into the electrical components.

To kill any bacteria and viruses on the surface, you should use a disinfecting wipe to clean off the toy.

How to clean fabric toys which cannot be washed

Some toys are unsuited to washing in a machine, they can instead only handle hand washing.

To handwash a toy should you simply dip a cloth into warm soapy water and wipe over the toy.

Then rinse the toy using a cloth dipped in clear water and allow the toy to air dry.

How to check the colourfastness of a toy

Some toys should not be put in the washing machine because colours may run.

You should always check toys colourfastness before putting them in the washing machine.

To do this you should test toys by placing a drop of water on them.

If the colour bleeds when you blot this drop with a paper towel you should avoid machine washing the toy.

Instead, you should spot clean or hand wash the toy.

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