Babies and toddlers are constantly exploring the world around them, which includes their toys and each and every one of your house’s surfaces. Keeping these surfaces clean is important; it’s essential to do so with baby-safe cleaning products!
The cleaning products you’ve relied on for years may not list all of their ingredients, making it almost impossible to know whether they’re okay for cleaning baby toys, counters and floors. Even products labeled “green” or “all natural” may contain toxic ingredients, which can cause health problems for you and your little ones.
Baby-Safe Cleaning Products
In general, avoiding ammonia, bleach and phthalates will make your home healthier. These common ingredients in cleaning products can irritate eyes, skin and lungs, as well as affect hormone levels.
Instead, opt for products labeled as safe by Green Seal, an independent third-party organization that labels healthy, effective and sustainable cleaning supplies. You can also make baby-safe cleaning products yourself. Windows can be cleaned with equal parts white vinegar and water. For the bathroom and kitchen, mix white vinegar, water and hydrogen peroxide. You can add a few drops of essential oil for a fresh smell as well.
Carpets trap toxic cleaners as well as they trap dirt. For a baby-safe carpet, steam clean with water and dry quickly. No matter what you’re cleaning – or how – never clean with your kids in the room!
Cleaning Baby Toys
You should regularly clean the toys your baby plays with. For well-loved toys, this might be once a week. Other toys should be washed when they’re particularly dirty, your kids are sick or another kid played with them.
- Plastic Toys: Dishwasher-safe plastic toys, including bath toys, are a parent’s best friend. Stick them on the top rack and run your dishwasher with a baby-safe dishwasher detergent. For plastic toys that aren’t dishwasher safe, wash them by hand in a mild soap or equal mix of white vinegar and water. Scrub any itty-bitty crevices with a toothbrush or toothpick.
- Fabric Toys: Stick fabric toys and blankets in the washing machine and dryer. Pop them in a pillowcase for protection. Use hot water and a dye- and fragrance-free detergent.
- Toys with Electrical Components: Any toy with electrical components should be wiped down with a child-safe cleaner after taking out the batteries, no matter what the rest of the toy is made of.
How to Sanitize Baby Toys
After cleaning, you can occasionally sanitize plastic, wood and metal toys. Sanitizing kills the vast majority of germs, but there are three downsides to doing so too often. Over-sanitizing creates germs that are resistant to antibiotics. You also drastically reduce the good bacteria that your child needs to develop a healthy immune system. Most problematic are the sanitizers themselves. No sanitizer is completely safe for your kids.
When you do sanitize toys and other surfaces, dilute a tablespoon of bleach in a gallon of water. Dunk or wipe down toys for five minutes. Allow them to dry completely before giving them back to your kids.