As a parent, you want to do everything you can to keep your children healthy. This can be difficult at times, as kids are very curious. They can often be found crawling on the floor, playing in sandboxes, and interacting with their peers. As they are exploring the world, they can come into contact with a lot of germs and bring these germs into your home. Their toys can be big hosting spots for germs, especially if they are not cleaned properly.
Even though children tend to get messy from time to time, you do not have to disinfect them every time your kids are finished playing. Some germs are even beneficial to building children’s immune systems and can prevent conditions like asthma and allergies, according to WebMD. However, this doesn’t mean their toys should never experience a good cleaning. We’re here to answer the question of How often should I clean my kids’ toys? and help you keep your child healthy.
Cleaning vs Disinfecting
Both cleaning and disinfecting can prevent the spread of diseases, but there are some important differences to note. Cleaning involves using soap and water to physically remove dirt, germs, and other impurities. Disinfecting is the killing of germs using chemicals. Disinfecting is more effective at preventing the spread of diseases.
However, disinfecting will not remove impurities at the surface level. So, you should always clean an item before disinfecting it to achieve the most optimal results.
When Should I Clean & Disinfect My Children’s Toys?
There’s no exact answer to the question “How often should I clean my kids’ toys?” A general rule of thumb to follow is to give them a good cleaning once a month. Heavily-used toys may need to be cleaned as often as every week.
However, you should consider disinfecting your kids’ toys whenever:
- One or more of your children has been sick
- One of their playmates has been sick
- Mucus, vomit, food, or milk gets on the toys
- An illness has been spreading at your child’s school or daycare
How to Clean & Disinfect Kids’ Toys
Cleaning your children’s toys is fairly easy. Simply use a clean rag, water, and soap (or a mild detergent) to remove dirt and other impurities from the items. Depending on the material of the item, you may be able to safely throw it in the dishwasher or washing machine.
To disinfect your children’s toys, try any of the following methods:
- Bleach: Washable and nonporous toys can be disinfected with bleach. Start by using a wet sponge to remove excess grime from the toys you need to disinfect. Then, place them in a bucket and fill it with 1 gallon of water and a half cup of bleach. Allow them to soak for 5 minutes. Take them out, rinse them with water, and allow them to air dry.
- UV rays: Lay out your items in the sun for a few hours. The UV rays will effectively disinfect them.
- Vinegar and water: Vinegar is very effective at killing some bacterial pathogens. Create a half-and-half solution of water and vinegar and wipe them down with a towel that is dipped in the solution.
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Hopefully, we have answered all of your burning questions around the topic “How Often Should I Disinfect My Kids’ Toys?” Here at Pine Tree Montessori School, we adhere to similar practices to keep all of our students safe. Contact us today to schedule a tour!