It’s important to live in a clean environment if you want to enjoy good health. In a childcare setting, cleanliness is even more important. That being said, it can be pretty difficult to keep a clean house when children are involved. Kids are prone to grabbing everything within reach and putting them in their mouths. Every parent, teacher, and babysitter can attest to struggling to keep a childcare center neat and clean.
Aside from cleaning floors and surfaces, it’s incredibly important to clean toys. Children are always playing with toys with their grubby little hands and putting them in their mouths. It won’t be just one toy, either. Parents and childcare professionals need to take extra care to clean and sanitize toys to ensure that both they and the children under their care are safe from germs.
How to Clean Children’s Toys
There are two main parts to ensuring that a child’s toys are germ-free: cleaning and sanitizing. Prior to sanitizing your child’s toys, you’ll have to clean it properly first. Toys should be scrubbed and washed to ensure that any dirt, debris, juice, crumbs, or whatever else is on the toy is washed out. Use some warm water and delicate detergent to do so. After the cleaning part of the process, let the toys dry and then move on to sanitizing.
Sanitizing Hard Toys
Toys need to be disinfected to eliminate all the harmful germs on the surface. Hard toys are usually simply submerged in a sanitizer for a few moments, then rinsed and wiped dry. Diluted bleach is usually considered the best sanitizer for hard toys. Simply mix 1.5 teaspoons of bleach in a gallon of water and submerge the toys.
The idea of using bleach for children’s toys can be daunting. However, there are several reasons why many people choose to use it. First of all, it is approved by the state. It is also inexpensive, easy to find, easy to use, and results in a fast and thorough clean. Bleach breaks down quite quickly as well, especially when diluted in a large amount of water.
Sanitizing Soft Toys
Soft toys are understandably more challenging to clean. This is because soft or plush toys absorb liquids and may retain a sanitizing solution. Stuffed animals and other soft toys are made of a variety of soft materials. It’s important to know what each toy is made of before you attempt to clean it.
Quite a few soft toys are made to be machine-washable. If the label indicates that a toy can be put in the washing machine, simply treat visible stains and toss them in. Set the washing machine to run with cool water on the gentlest cycle. Let them air dry.
Soft toys that aren’t machine-washable will have to be cleaned by hand. Mix a small amount of dish soap with some water and use a soft cloth to clean the toy with the solution. After you’ve cleaned the entire toy, rinse it with some warm water, pat it dry, then set it out to air dry completely.
A lot of kids have electronic toys. You have to clean them, but you can’t exactly dunk the entire device into a bleach solution. Electronic toys need a little bit of extra care. As with soft toys, you have to read the label and figure out how to clean it properly. Most toys can be cleaned with the following steps:
- Remove all batteries, putting them aside in a safe place
- Mix a small amount of dish soap with water. Use a soft cloth to clean the toy’s surfaces using the solution, taking care to not use too much water.
- Spray a disinfectant on a paper towel and wipe all surfaces again. Wipe it dry.
- Wipe the toy one last time with a soft cloth and plain water to get any excess disinfectant off. Dry it off with a paper towel.
Still worried about bleach?
There are a couple of things that you should remember when it comes to bleach. First of all, it can be dangerous when it isn’t used right. When you mix bleach with water, ensure that you are doing so in an open and well-ventilated area where the fumes won’t harm you or any children nearby. Wear gloves and eye protection as well. Only mix it in a clean container that doesn’t have residue from any other chemicals.
Bleach is a great sanitizing agent when it is used properly. That being said, bleach on its own can be harmful. It’s important that you store it in a safe place away from the reach of children. Make sure the storage space is well-ventilated and away from direct sunlight as sunlight can affect the effectiveness of the bleach. Label it well to ensure that you never get it confused with other substances and make sure that you know exactly what to do if you spill or are accidentally exposed to it.