Ask the Moms: Do You Sanitize Your Toys?

This question comes from Tamara.

Do you sanitize/clean your kids toys? How often? What products do you use besides bleach?

To be honest, I don’t clean our toys often…if at all. We’ve bought a few things off of craigslist which I always wipe off with a towel, because I’ve never really had anything that I felt was the right cleaning product to use. This is such a great question! What do you use to clean your toys? What’s a safe product? I can remember when I used to work in a day care we would use, if I remember correctly, a mixed product of bleach and water… I know for sure it wasn’t the safest for little babies to be putting in their mouth!
What do you think?

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

24 thoughts on “Ask the Moms: Do You Sanitize Your Toys?

  1. The only thing I clean is our big plastic play kitchen. It gets dusty. I've never sanitized any of our other toys, even when other kids have slobbered all over them! Maybe if my kids got sick a lot, I would. But they don't, thankfully!

  2. I have sanitized used toys we have received, and I bleached everything (hard toys)when Aedan got thrush. But other than that we do a bathtub bleach dilute dunk every three months or so. But we do have other kids come over quite often and they might bring something over here. We share toys not germs.

  3. i never sanitize unless someone else's kid comes over and is sick or picking their nose or whatever. i do use bleach and water on the high chair tray.

  4. I don't clean as often as I think I should, so it makes me feel better to read I am not alone!! I clean our toy mat most often, and clean after he is sick. I use a mixture of about half and half white vinegar and water. The smell goes away once it dries. We only use diluted bleach on the tub toys after he poops in the tub!! I agree with you that bleach, even diluted, probably isn't the best, especially when babies are of the age where everything goes in their mouths.

  5. I prefer soft, washable toys! I wash all soft toys everyday, I just toss them in with blankets and everythings else. We use vinegar in our laundry to help with stains. Caleb spits-up a lot so cleaning his toys is really important in our home (his spit-up smells pretty bad too 😦 ) He has a jumperoo that I'm constantly wiping down with warm water and I wash his hard toys with soap (safe for baby soap) and warm water every other day or after they have spent too much time on the floor. I clean his carseat and carseat toys each evening after we have been out and about (trying to keep it nice for the next baby…it was pretty expensive) What can I say…I'm a nut. 😉

  6. I wash the babies toys in diluted bleach or in the dishwasher if someone comes over that is sick and touches her stuff..otherwise I don't wash the hard stuff very often unless it's visibly dirty. The soft stuff goes in the washer periodically.

    Bleach is safe if you use it carefully because once the chlorine evaporates it's non toxic. Even so, if you don't like it for the smell or what not you can use plain vinegar..undiluted or hydrogen peroxide. Both kill germs.

  7. This was my question and I was just wondering what other moms think because I'm a little neurotic about it. I feel sanitizing is necessary because I take care of two other children in my home a couple times a week and I'm always fishing toys out of the dog's mouths. When Emma was a tiny baby and only had a few toys, I would just put them in the dishwasher, but now that she's one, she has so much and I just cringe sometimes thinking about what's crawling around on them. Remember…I did admit that I'm neurotic about it. I also feel like the bath tub toys need to be sanitized every so often because bathtubs are just so gross. But, I also don't like using harsh chemicals. I also boil the binkies every once in a while, when they've all taken up residence under the crib.

  8. I don't sanitize unless they're used toys or if they somehow got filthy. I use a water and vinegar solution with a few drops of tea tree oil, which is what I use to clean pretty much everything.

    I know a girl who bleaches her daughters toys weekly… I can't begin to imagine how bad that is.

  9. I washed them if they looked grungy. Like Mandy I just tossed them in the sink with dish soap. If stuffed toys got yucky, unless they specifically said not to, I tied them inside a pillow case and threw them in the washing machine.

  10. I clean the things that are visibly dirty with Dawn and H2O. (I figure if it's safe for the rest of us and the oil spill animals, it's OK for my son.) The soft toys I throw in the wash whenever they're looking dirty.

    Other than that, I don't do anything–unless they fall on the floor with the dirty dog. Like Monique said, I feel a certain amount of germs are good for kids. That's how you build a strong immune system.

  11. I have a friend who sanitizes everything in her house constantly and buys and uses hand sanitizer on herself and the kids by the gallon, and guess what… they are ALWAYS sick. they catch everything that comes around.

  12. Like most moms I don't sanitize toys all that often and my kids are never sick. Stuffed animals and soft toys get tossed in the washer about once every few months- when I remember to do it! Hard toys get spritzed with vinegar/water mixture every now and then, but honestly, I would rather play with my kids than follow them around with sanitizer.

  13. Many of our toys are second hand, and I ALWAYS sanitize them before using. Even newly bought toys, I like to clean. After the initial cleaning, I only clean as they're visibly dirty or I have another reason to.

    I use an Activeion ( It sanitizes anything using only water. No microwave, boiling, or chemicals needed! I love it–it's great for cleaning anything and everything.

    If I can't use my Activeion for some reason, I soak the toy in a water/cleaning solution using natural cleaning products by Mrs. Meyers and then bleach the toy in the sunshine.

  14. I use vinegar and water with some essential oils to clean the toys, as with most other things in my house.

    I did buy some bac-out in a spray bottle one time. It smells nice!

  15. Sanitizing toys is a waste of time. Even if you did it every day, one day care child puts a toy in his mouth and another sucks on it ten minutes later making the operation futile. But having been a child care provider for 26 years I can tell you that children are typically hardy enough to not get sick that easily. Its important that children are kept warm so that their immune system works properly.

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