Authored by Kate Beswick in Parenting
Published on 11-06-2009
All parents are worried about germs but new parents are a whole different breed of germ-aphobes! And it’s not without good reason, either. With all the crawling around babies do on the ground, and constant picking up of toys and putting them in their mouths, there’s good reason to worry about germs with a baby around. Luckily, there are a few things that parents can do to make sure that if baby is about to put something in their mouth, that at least it’s as clean as can be!
Sanitizing baby toys is very simple and made even easier if you have a dishwasher. But even if you don’t, it’s really a simple matter of boiling water. Sanitizing toys won’t protect baby from escaping germs altogether. But it’s definitely a great way to make sure that they have an environment that’s a bit cleaner and a bit safer! Sanitizing baby toys is different than simply washing them because sanitizing baby toys involves killing all germs that have built up residue, instead of simply washing away the surface dirt. It’s most important to sanitize things like pacifiers, bottle tips, and toys that baby is constantly touching, rolling, and chewing!
Baby toys and items that are made of entirely dishwasher-safe plastic can be thrown in the dishwasher to be cleaned and sanitized at the same time. The temperature of the water in the dishwasher is so hot for such a long period of time that this will sanitize just about anything! Just make sure it can go in the dishwasher, otherwise you’ll just have a big mess!
If you don’t have a dishwasher, simply boiling water on top of the stove will also sanitize all of those hard plastic bits that you would throw into the machine. The same guidelines apply here however. If you can’t put the toys and items in the dishwasher, you probably can’t place them in the dishwasher either. This is because that particular toy is not made of a plastic that’s resistant enough to withstand the high heat.
For these toys that can’t be boiled, you can try throwing them in the washing machine. Even on a cold cycle that will not ruin the toys, you can add a small amount of bleach and be assured that this will kill any germs, buildup, or residue on the items. This small amount of bleach is thought to be safe for children, and in the washing machine they will become rinsed thoroughly of all bleach.
For extra delicate baby toys or items that you don’t want to throw in the washing machine, soaking baby toys in a small amount of bleach and cold water will also sanitize any baby toys. Soak the baby toys in a tub or bucket full of water with approximately ¼ cup of household bleach added to it. Leave the items in the water for approximately 15 minutes. Rinse the items well when they are finished soaking, and allow them to air dry.
Keeping a few toys hidden so that baby will have something to play with while you’re sanitizing the baby toys is a great way to keep the environment safe and germ-free and still keep baby happy and busy! Swap out the toys that baby currently plays with and pull out some boxes of toys that have already been cleaned and sanitized that they can play with while you’re disinfecting the old ones. Not only does this keep baby happy and safe, but the ‘new’ toys will keep him entertained for hours!