Why Cleaning and Sanitizing Baby Toys Carefully Matter by Emma Mills
Why Cleaning and Sanitizing Baby Toys Carefully Matter
Toys are important accessories in your child’s life that not only provide them with stimulation, pleasure and recreation, they also promote well-being. Unfortunately, play things can also become perfect sources of germs and bacteria that can make your off springs sick making it essential to practice good health habits. Young babies, in particular, are at high risk of becoming ill very easily as their immune systems are not yet developed.
Regrettably, your kids’ toys take a regular beating every day from being touched to thrown on the ground. Children and babies bite on toys, put them in their mouths and they also come in contact with food, dirt and grime. Therefore, it is critical that toys are cleaned at regular intervals. However, cleaning and sanitizing toys must be done carefully to avoid exposing kids to harmful chemicals that can affect their health in the short and long terms.
Washing with Soap and Water
Perhaps, the easiest way to clean toys is to wash them with soap and water. You have the choice of using regular or anti-bacterial soap. The latter contains special ingredients and chemicals to kill bacteria. However, there is no scientific evidence that suggests anti-bacterial soaps are better than regular soap in preventing diseases which is why the FDA suggests to skip them and use regular ones. Note that soap and water will flush away bacteria, but will not kill them.
Cleaning with Sanitizers
A further step that you can take to clean toys is to use sanitizing agents. You can use bleach and mix it with water to effectively disinfect surfaces. The main drawback of using sanitizing agents is that these are chemicals and you would not want to expose your babies to toxins, at all.
Best Practices and Alternatives
To limit exposure to toxic chemicals, you can opt to make your own disinfecting solutions. For example, lemon, tea tree oil or vinegar have great antiseptic properties. Mix with water and use the solution to spray surfaces and clean soiled toys. If you are going to use vinegar, look for a concentration of 7% or more as it is more effective at disinfecting and killing bacteria at higher dilution. Hydrogen peroxide is also an efficient disinfectant (diluted at 3% concentration). Other ways of safely cleaning toys is to put them in the washing machine or dishwasher, as appropriate. When buying commercially prepared sanitizers and solutions, read labels carefully and watch out for toxic ingredients (triclosan, phenol, carbolic acid and formaldehyde, among others). When it comes to your loved ones, you can never be too careful.
Emma Mills is a freelance writer and mother of two, who when not working, loves nothing more than to take her dogs for long walks.