Clean Toys Safely with Homemade Disinfectant Wipes

Clean toys safely. Make your own homemade disinfectant wipes and spray and never worry again when your baby mouths her toys.

What is a good homemade cleaner for baby toys?

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What is a good homemade cleaner for baby toys?

Expensive "green" cleaning wipes can require a water rinse after use. Most electronic toys and large toys can't be water rinsed.

I'm also trying to find something that would clean baby toys naturally with only one wipe.

Bethany's Answer:
I am happy to tell you that there is definitely a safe, easy way to clean toys using your own homemade disinfectant wipes.

We use vinegar and water a lot in our house. I fill a spray bottle up about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way with white vinegar and then add water to fill it the rest of the way up. The vinegar is a disinfectant and as you wipe the solution away and it dries, the vinegar scent completely dissipates.

There are a few baby safe essential oils you can add to the cleaner if you want to, as well. Lavender, Tea Tree oil, Eucalyptus Smithii (not Eucalyptus Globulus), and Sweet Orange oil are some that have disinfecting properties. (See our Essential Oil Use Chart.)

You can add a few drops to your cleaner if you want to tone down the vinegar scent while you are spraying. If your baby is still mouthing everything a lot, I'd just forgo the essential oils and stick with vinegar and water.

How to disinfect baby toys:

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Clean electronic toys with homemade disinfectant wipes: 
Spray a cloth wipe / wash cloth with your cleaning solution until it is just damp and then use like you would use the disposable disinfectant wipes. There is no need to do anything else. You can remove any batteries if you want, but the cloth shouldn't be wet enough to damage things.

Clean wood toys:
Wood is actually pretty hostile to germs. If you have natural unpainted wood toys or wood toys dyed with natural dyes, you can just wipe them down periodically with a damp cloth and water. If the wood is painted, you might want to use the vinegar solution very sparingly.

Clean cloth toys:
I throw most of my daughter's cloth toys in the washing machine on gentle unless they have electronics inside. I air dry them. Sunning them will kill germs, too, but it can also bleach out the colors in the fabric.

For cleaning plush toys, I'd only surface wipe with soap and water and when the time comes, I'll probably hand wash them with a little soap. You can also throw them in the washing machine on a gentle cycle, but realize it could make them come out lumpy.

Clean plastic toys / teethers / pacifiers:
Clean toys with a little liquid Castille soap and rinse them off. If it is a bigger plastic toy that really needs a good cleaning, just make a solution of 1 tsp Castille soap, 2 cups of water, and a 1/4 cup white vinegar. Dip your cloth wipe in the solution and use that to clean it. You can wipe it down with plain water when you are done.

Clean Toys with Baking Soda:
Baking soda can be used when something gets really grungy and needs some scrubbing action. But I wouldn't use it on electronic toys, cloth or wood. You can make a little paste out of baking soda and water to help get dirt off.

Toxic Triclosan: Avoid Antibacterial Soap

If you need to use soap, I caution against the use of any antibacterial soaps or other products marketed as such. Triclosan is the chemical used in many of them.

Some studies have shown Triclosan to be an endocrine disruptor and to potentially create "superbugs" (it kills off most of the germs, but leaves the very strongest ones. Then those multiply and you end up stuck with a bunch of stronger germs than you had in the first place.) Plain soap works great.

I try not to get too concerned about germs. Germs will help her immune system get stronger. Plus, using antibacterial wipes (like the cart wipes offered up at the front of the grocery store) likely contain chemicals I wouldn't want my child ingesting, either.

Written by: Bethany Gonzalez Moreno

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