Wondering How to Clean Baby Toys?

Baby Mouthing Toy Giraffe
Keith Ferris / Getty Images

Parents do not ever want their kids to get sick, especially if they can prevent it. Toys and play areas can be filled with a lot of invisible germs that lead to illness.

Daycares and children's centers have their own specific guidelines for toy cleanliness.

Follow these practical solutions and strategies to learn how you can clean baby toys safely and effectively at home.

Soap and Water

It is a pretty well known fact that washing hands with soap and water is a great way to prevent germs from getting people sick. Some toys like plastic blocks, infant rattles and teethers can easily be cleaned in the sink using dish soap and warm water.

It is never safe to wash any electrical toy that can be plugged in by submerging it, or placing it in soap and water. Even toys that include batteries with lights and sounds should not be cleaned in soap and water because it could impact the future use of the toy.


Some toys may be labelled as being dishwasher safe. Infant rattles, plastic blocks, large plastic pegs, plastic shape sorter pieces and some bath toys can be placed on the top rack of the dishwasher.

The heat from the water from the dishwasher will help sanitize and clean toys. The dishwasher is also great for certain bath toys which can begin to develop mold and mildew over time.

Environmentally Friendly Surface Cleaners

Some cleaners have harsh chemicals that will remove germs, but many parents do not want their children to come in contact with them.  Many environmentally friendly cleaners include wipes and sprayable surface cleaners, which are safe for babies. 

Some baby toy cleaners do not include dyes, are biodegradable, and free of phthalates and parabens. As young babies mouth toys due to sickness and teething, environmentally safe cleaners can help parents quickly and easily clean infant toys and toddler toys.

Surface Wipes

There are entire aisles in stores dedicated to disinfectant surface wipes. Surface wipes are a great way to clean plastic toys that have batteries and can not be placed in soap and water or in the dishwasher.

Wipe down the toy using a disinfectant surface wipe. Let it air dry for several minutes before giving it to a child to play with.

For items like pacifiers, there are also special pacifier wipes. Pacifier wipes use food grade sanitizes that are safe for babies who put items in their mouth. 

Cleaning Stuffed Animals and Baby Dolls

Many people clean stuffed animals and baby dolls by placing these toys in the washer and dryer. Without proper care, over time some stuffed animals and baby dolls will get ruined with repeated washings.

Placing the toys in a pillowcase, before washing, will help the toy last longer.

Teddy Needs a Bath is a large zipper bag to wash plush toys. Stuffed animals can be placed inside the bag, then washed on a gentle cycle in a front loader washer and dryer.

Definitely read the labels on stuffed animals before washing them. There are some specialty teddy bears that specifically state they can not be washed.

More Tips

It is never a coincidence after a trip to the local children's museums, playgrounds and play areas, that with a lot of hands-on activities, in the days that follow, a child can get very sick. 

Lots of babies and infants put toys in their mouths and drool on them. Older toddlers and preschoolers like to play with toys they can touch, attach and push together, like blocks and trains.

Kids quickly spread sickness to others simply by touching a toy or item that has germs on it, then they touch their mouth, or put the toy inside their mouth. This can happen anywhere, especially during playdates. Many kids visit to community areas like indoor playgrounds and daycare centers. These places should sanitize and clean every day, but it is hard to keep up with cleaning high traffic areas quickly and regularly, especially when they are busy. 

It is important for kids to keep their hands clean in order to keep germs from spreading. Using the tips above can help parents and others clean toys to minimize the spread of germs to other kids and family members.