Kids never cease to amaze us in their capacity to stain, smudge and soil just about any surface. For active children, dirty toys are a way of life. They drag them around the house, leave them outside, and then to top it all off, put them in their mouths!
How frequently toys need cleaning depends on how often they are played with (and, thus, left around the house collecting dust and germs). Hard plastic toys are easier to maintain than plush toys, but they should still be cleaned and disinfected weekly.
Cleaning plastic baby toys in the dishwasher or hand washing them with soap and water may leave them melted or misshapen. The best way to clean plastic toys is with a household cleaning product, but it's important to consider its ingredients. Many contain harsh ingredients, such as parabens or phthalates, which can degrade plastic. Some can also leave behind residue that can expose children to possible ingestion or skin irritation.
Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner removes food residue, dirt, and more without degrading or discoloring plastic or removing paint. The clean-rinsing formula* cleans sticky plastic toys without leaving behind a residue that could cause skin irritation.
After you've cleaned baby toys, it's essential to follow up with an EPA-registered disinfectant. A vinegar and water mixture is not powerful enough to reach the sanitizing and disinfecting levels required to be recognized as effective by the EPA. Vinegar also won't provide you with the surfactants needed to help penetrate, loosen, and remove soils, meaning you could just be pushing dirt around instead of disinfecting.
Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner does not eliminate germs, but a fast-acting spray-application disinfectant can eliminate cold, flu, E. Coli, Salmonella, Staph, and other illness-causing bacteria in 2 minutes or less.
Disinfecting wipes are commonly used for this process because they seem convenient. Still, wipes can require that surfaces remain wet for up to 10 minutes to be effective.
Keeping a surface wet with disinfecting wipes can be more complicated than you might think. Many of them contain alcohol, which can cause the liquid to dry quickly and can also cause premature cracking of plastic and vinyl. This can make it challenging to keep the surface wet without re-wiping multiple times, resulting in a potential waste of time and money.
Directions for Cleaning Plastic Toys:
- Mix your Simple Green solution. Find a container or sink large enough to soak all the toys you need to clean. Mix 2 cups of Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner with 1 gallon of water. If you need to add another gallon of water, add 2 more cups of Simple Green. No need to add hot water.
- Add toys. Put the dirty toys in the Simple Green solution.
- Soak. Leave the toys to soak for about 5 minutes.
- Scrub, if necessary. Use a nylon-bristle brush or toothbrush to scrub away any dirt, being careful not to damage paint, decals, or stickers on the toy.
- Rinse. Wipe each toy with a clean, damp cloth or rinse it under running water.
- Remove gross filth or heavy soil prior to application of Simple Green Clean Finish Disinfectant Cleaner.
- Apply product with a hand pump trigger sprayer. Hold sprayer six to eight inches from the surface to be treated.
- Spray area until it is covered with the product.
- Allow surface to remain wet for 2 minutes. No scrubbing necessary.
- Allow treated surfaces to air dry or wipe off with clean cloth.
TIP: If you need directions on how to clean wooden toys, click here. For information on how to clean stuffed animals, click here.
*Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner is an EPA Safer Choice product. You can learn more about how EPA toxicologists have reviewed each ingredient for health, safety, and environmental compliance here.