Babies tend to make the biggest messes (hello, diaper blowouts and baby food mishaps). But cleaning all of that baby gear can be a challenge when you don’t want to use a lot of harsh cleansers that could harm your baby’s sensitive skin.
Fortunately, you can clean and disinfect many of your baby’s things with simple soap and warm water, which works beautifully to clean and disinfect a lot of plastic toys and items. Or you can do a surface wash on stuffed animals and other items that can’t be easily cleaned in other ways. Read on for suggestions on how to handle a variety of commonly-used baby toys and feeding gear.
Your method of cleaning will depend on which material the toy is made of. Hot sudsy water works wonders on plastic items, for example, from plastic bibs to toys. To clean this essential baby gear, just soak or wipe with soapy water, then rinse thoroughly (especially if the toy is something that will end up in your baby’s mouth). You can also wash some toys in the top rack of the dishwasher, or use antiseptic wipes—just let them air dry, rinse with warm water, then air dry again before giving it to your kiddo.
For plush toys that are machine washable, put them in a pillowcase or lingerie bag for protection and run them on the gentle cycle in the washing machine, and then dry on low heat. If the plush toy isn’t machine-washable, you can spot clean with a cloth dampened in soapy water, then rinse with another cloth dampened with clean water.
Mold has a tendency to grow in bath toys, especially plastic ones with small holes that allow water inside. To prevent the growth of mold, soak your baby’s bath toys in a solution of 3/4 cup bleach per gallon of water. Squeeze the water into and out of toys like rubber ducks that tend to trap water inside. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and store the toys in an open basket that promotes airflow.
And remember: You don’t want to submerge or soak wood blocks or toys in water, as that can warp or allow mold to grow. Instead, use a microfiber cloth wet in a solution of water and vinegar, then wipe them dry with a second cloth.
Whether they’re made of fabric, plastic, or silicone (or a mix of both), cleaning baby bibs in the washing machine with the same fragrance-free laundry detergent you use on your baby’s clothes works well. You can tumble dry on low heat—or in the case of a plastic bib, just take out and let it air dry.
Then there are the sippy cups. The tricky part of cleaning these are the nooks and crannies where liquid can get trapped. Fortunately, sippy cups are generally dishwasher safe. You’ll just need to disassemble the sippy cup (such as pulling out any silicone stoppers) and clean each of the parts separately. Or, if you’d like to be more thorough, you can use a brush set to scrub every section. (Psst, we’ve got more tips for cleaning sippy cups.)
And don’t forget about the chair! Food bits often get trapped in the nooks and crannies of high chairs, so choosing one that can be easily disassembled for cleaning will make it easier to get at the crumbs and spills. But if you have one where crumbs get trapped, using an old toothbrush or a brush and a solution of vinegar and water can help get the high chair clean.
Looking for environmentally-responsible cleaning supplies? Try these reusable and effective products.