How to Clean Baby Toys

Last update February 15, 2019
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Babies and toys go together like peanut butter and jelly. They entertain them, they educate them, they keep them distracted while the parents can finally afford a moment of peace. Unfortunately, babies aren’t necessarily known for their hygiene, so the task of keeping their toys clean and sanitized falls on your shoulders. On the bright side, doing so doesn’t require a particular set of skills nor does it take too much time. Just follow these simple instructions and you should be able to keep your toddler away from germs and lingering dirt.

How do you disinfect baby toys?

Sanitizing baby toys

Now, before we begin, it is important to understand the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Simply put, the process of cleaning implies physical removal of germs using soap or some sort of detergent and water that allows the parent to rid their baby’s toys of surface dirt and grime. Disinfection, on the other hand, is all about killing germs on those toys or even preventing the germs from reproducing. Having said that, you should always keep in mind that cleaning always comes before disinfection, so make sure to get these priorities straight.

Once you’re done cleaning the toys, you can proceed to the next step. Now, there are plenty of solutions you can use as a sanitizer or disinfectant. But if you do not happen to be in some sort of a pinch, we would generally recommend going with diluted bleach since it is easily one of the safest and most affordable substances you can use to sanitize baby toys. Simply mix a tablespoon of regular bleach with about a quart of water and use that mixture to rub down your baby’s toys with a rag or a piece of cloth.


how to sanitize baby toys

Again, as we have said earlier, the cleaning part comes before the disinfection, so make sure that you have successfully removed all of the dirt and grime before you start sanitizing the toys. Since germs have a tendency to hide under the dirt, all of your sanitizing efforts will go to waste if you do not do a proper cleaning job beforehand.

Other than that, keep in mind that the solution you’ve just prepared and used ought to remain on your baby’s toy for at least a couple of minutes as that’s the minimum amount of time it takes for its effects to kick in. And do not forget that bleach is only harmless to children in a diluted state, meaning we cannot stress enough how important it is to dilute it first.

How do you clean used baby toys?

Cleaning used toys

Whether you were given a whole heap of different by a relative or you prefer second-hand toys due to your environmental concerns or shaky financial state, it is never a bad idea to make sure that these toys are as clean as possible before you give them to your child. Of course, there’s a bit of a difference when it comes to the type of toys and the way you’re supposed to clean them, and that difference mostly boils down to the material that they’re made of.


Whether we’re talking about transformers toys or dinosaur toys, some of our baby’s most favorite things are made of plastic. As far as the said material is concerned, we would recommend washing it with a combination one part white vinegar and one part water. Simply put the solution that you’ve just made on a clean piece of cloth and wipe the toys down or, if you feel so inclined, submerge your little one’s toys in this solution and let them soak for a while.


Though there’s obviously a bit of a difference between wood and plastic, that difference is somewhat irrelevant when it comes to cleaning the toys comprised of these materials. Since vinegar is such a great sanitizer, you clean wooden toys using the same method and solution that you do with plastic ones. Just make sure to let this solution air dry instead of rinsing it off.


With fabric, the first thing you ought to do is seal them in a freezer bag and put that bag in a freezer for a couple of days. You need to do that in order to kill the dust mites that often hide in these toys. After that, the majority of fabric toys will be able to survive a washing machine, so you can drop those in there. And if a particular toy is a bit on the fragile side, just use your hands and give it a good rub.


Metal toys are by far the easiest toys to clean. All you have to do is wipe down the surface of these toys with a damp microfiber cloth. This way, you’ll be able to remove dirt or grease, and that is all you need to do to make a metal toy clean enough for your little one. Now, if we’re talking about trains or car toys, then it is a bit of a different question. Mostly because the former and especially the latter often feature some kind of rubber wheels, then you will, once again, have to refer to our trusty combination of bleach and water. But if that’s not the case, you should be fine with just the former method.

A few others

Board Books and Rubber Toys

These types of toys do not present that much of a challenge either when it comes to cleaning. Just grab a piece of cloth and soak it in the aforementioned mixture of white vinegar and water. Just don’t forget to stand up books and separate their pages as they dry since you might ruin the printing otherwise.

Bath Toys

You might be under the impression that bath toys ought to be clean enough to begin with due to their natural habitat, but that isn’t the case. These toys require just as much attention as the rest of them. So, if you do not want your baby contacting any sort of bacteria, we highly recommend soaking these toys in an even mixture of distilled white vinegar and hot water every week or so. And if that doesn’t do the trick, you can always throw them in a dishwasher.

And that’s about all there is to it. As long as you stick with the right cleaning method, you should be able to keep your baby out of harm’s way.