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How to Clean Baby Toys: Disinfect, Sanitize, Decontaminate!

How to Clean Baby Toys

It’s important for parents to know everything on how to clean baby toys effectively and efficiently.

Babies are the cutest little things, and seeing them play with their toys for the first time is a special moment for all parents!

However, babies can also be the messiest, and their toys are the usual victims of germs and can be a breeding ground for molds.

Keep reading to learn more about how to properly disinfect and clean baby toys.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Do I Have to Clean and Sanitize Baby Toys?

Yes, you have to clean toys and sanitize them often!

Your children will probably be playing with toys every day, so you should make sure they’re as clean as possible.

On top of that, babies put toys in their mouths, drool on them, and spit-up on them often. You don’t want to risk any germs or bacteria from entering their mouths and system!

To clean baby toys, you can either use one or a mixture of these methods:

  • Hand-washing toys
  • Using a damp cloth with a vinegar solution
  • Using a washing machine
  • Use cleaning products (chlorine bleach solution, dish soap/dish detergent, hydrogen peroxide, disinfectant)

Read on to know which method is the best way to clean each toy type!

How to Clean Baby Toys: Best Methods for Each Type of Toy

1. Fabric/Plush Toys

Fabric Plush

Plush toys, like stuffed animals and teddy bears, can get dirty quickly.

Before trying to clean your baby’s precious teddy bear, make sure to check if the toy has specific cleaning instructions first.

Some plush toys can go through the laundry, while others will need a different solution.

For stuffed animals that don’t electronically produce sound, have no batteries, and have no holes and pores, you can clean them using a washing machine.

All you need is a baby-safe laundry detergent; toss it in the washing machine, and use a gentle cycle to wash plush toys.

If you need more power to deal with germs, you can also add a cup of white vinegar to the mix.

Depending on the toy’s care instructions, you can either dry it under the sun or air dry it instead. Be careful if you plan to use hydrogen peroxide on fabric or plush toys since it will cause the colors to fade.

If you only have to deal with your baby’s spit-ups or food spills on plush toys/stuffed animals, you can settle for using a mild soap solution and damp cloth instead. You can also use a toothbrush to scrub the toy thoroughly.

2. Baby Dolls


To clean baby dolls, the best cleaning tips we recommend are to use baby shampoo on the hair and wipe down the plastic body with detergent and warm water.

If your baby’s dolls have fabric components, you can also wash them with warm water and baby shampoo.

There are some dolls you can toss into the laundry, but you’ll have to double-check the toy’s care instructions first if it’s safe.

Shampooing the Hair

Shampooing a doll’s hair can be a fun activity for your little one, so that’s a plus!

However, if the doll’s hair is glued on, shampooing can make the hair fall off. Only do this if the hair is woven to the doll’s scalp.

Apply a few drops of baby shampoo onto the doll’s hair.

After shampooing, rinse it well, then lay it flat to dry. You can also use a comb to straighten out any knots and tangled hair.

Cleaning the Body

If the doll has a plastic body, you can clean it by using warm soapy water. Although, if the doll has stains, dirt, and other hard-to-remove messes, you can make a paste out of oil and baking soda.

With a cotton swab, apply the paste to the stains in a circular motion, then rinse it off using a dampened cloth.

3. Bath Toys

Bath Toys

It would be best to clean and dry bath toys right away after bath time. Liquids and moisture could stick around inside these toys, creating a breeding ground of mildew, germs, and molds.

To keep your baby’s bath toys clean and in a healthy condition, wash them with soap and water after your baby’s bath. Wipe all surfaces dry or leave them out to dry under the sun.

To disinfect a bath toy, you can dip it in a mixture of 1 gallon of water and 1.5 teaspoons of bleach. Leave the toy inside the solution for a couple of minutes before rinsing and drying.

Bath toys are the hardest ones to clean because most of them have pores and holes.

If you’d rather avoid the hassle of cleaning porous bath toys, it would be best to buy safe bath toys for kids instead. That way, you can keep them germ-free.

4. Rubber/Silicone Toys

Rubber _ Silicone

For rubber toys and silicone toys, including pacifiers and teething toys, it would be best to wipe them down clean using a 50/50 vinegar and water solution.

Rinse away the vinegar and water afterward, then leave them for a couple of minutes before air-drying.

You can also soak these toys in warm water mixed with baby shampoo or mild detergent. Leave them soaked for half an hour, rinse with cold water, then leave them to dry on a dish rack.

Avoid using heat to clean these types of toys! Heat could alter and deteriorate their shape and texture.

However, some pacifiers and teething toys are dishwasher-safe. Check the care guidelines first before tossing these toys in the dishwasher!

5. Wooden Toys


Natural wooden baby toys are one of the safest toys for kids.

However, you should be careful not to make them too wet because wood is porous. Moisture can get trapped inside, and this could lead to molds!

To clean wooden toys, it would be best to wipe them down with a 50/50 vinegar and water solution. You can also use a toothbrush to clean them more thoroughly.

Not all wood toys need to be cleaned often, but if your baby has wooden teething toys, make sure to clean them at least once a week.

6. Plastic Toys


Some of the best children’s toys are made of plastic, and most of your baby’s toys are probably made of plastic too.

Whether your child has hard or soft plastic toys like ball pit balls, it’s important to keep them as clean as possible!

To clean plastic toys, you have to check their care instructions first. Some plastic baby toys use batteries, need to be plugged in, and have other built-in electronic features.

For electronic toys, avoid submerging them in water. It would be best to clean plastic electronic toys by wiping them down.

To clean regular soft and hard plastic toys, you can also wipe them down with hot water and baby-safe detergent. You can also use disinfecting wipes if that’s more convenient for you.

Some plastic toys are dishwasher-friendly, so that can make your life easier! Just put them in a delicates bag, place them on the top rack, and dry them using the gentlest wash cycle setting.

How to Clean Baby Toys That Can’t Be Washed

Can't Be Washed

For toys that can’t be laundered or hand-washed on the sink, the best way to clean them would be to spot clean using damp cloths.

Here’s how:

  • Mix the cloth with warm soapy water or a 50/50 water and vinegar solution.
  • Wipe down the surface of the toy. Make sure to wipe all hard-to-reach corners and places.
  • Let the toy dry under the sun as an extra step to disinfect it.

Heat works great at killing germs and bacteria so sun-drying will be an effective solution.

However, not all toys can be exposed to high temperatures, so you can either air dry them or use a clean rag instead. You could always check the care instructions of your toy first just to be sure.

You can use this method for most toys, but it’s the only way to clean toys that can’t be soaked in water, such as electronic toys.

Don’t forget to unplug, turn-off, and remove any batteries on electronic toys before cleaning!

How Often to Clean Baby Toys

How often you should clean your baby’s toys will depend on different factors. However, the basic rule of thumb is to clean them at least once a week and sanitize them at least once a month.

For toys that need regular cleaning, these are usually your baby’s everyday toys, the toys you bring with you when traveling, and teething toys.

Make sure also to clean your baby’s toys right away whenever they get messes on them!

Whether it’s from baby drool, food leftovers, dirt, pets, or other people, wash it with soap and water or wipe it down with a damp cloth.

Depending on how messy and dirty the toy gets, it also won’t be a bad idea to use household cleaning items to disinfect them.

It’s also a good idea to clean toys after your baby or another family member has been sick. It would help if you also cleaned the toys after your child has some friends over.

You can reduce the risk of germs spreading and reinfection this way!

What is the Best Way to Disinfect Baby Toys?

Best Way

There are several ways to disinfect objects, so it could be confusing to know which one is safe to use for your baby’s toys.

The easiest way to disinfect toys is to use disinfectant surface wipes.

These can save you a lot of time, and you don’t have to go through the hassle of making disinfectant mixtures with different ingredients and products.

Using non-toxic baby wipes won’t be enough, so be sure to buy the correct wipes so you can disinfect your baby’s toys effectively.

Can I Use Lysol Wipes on Baby Toys?

Lysol wipes are just one of the many disinfectant wipes on the market. You can safely use this for any baby toy.

However, you should avoid using these kinds of wipes on teething toys and other toys your baby would probably put in their mouth.

These wipes have strong cleaning power, but that also makes them harmful to kids when ingested!

It would be best to use these wipes for plastic and electronic toys that can’t be cleaned by washing.

How Do You Disinfect Baby Toys Naturally?

Disinfect Naturally-

If you’re worried about toxic substances lingering inside your baby’s toys after using harsh cleaning items, you can opt for a natural disinfectant mixture instead.

All you need is 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup water, and a few drops of tea tree and lemon essential oils.

The white vinegar will provide mild disinfecting properties, while the essential oil can help take care of germs and bacteria.

Pour this mixture into a spray bottle, then apply it to any toy that needs some disinfecting. Afterward, wipe the toy dry with a clean rag.

Anything natural would be best for the safety of children. This solution could be the best option for parents who are worried about harsh ingredients!

Can I Put Baby Toys in the Washing Machine?

Some toys are safe for machine-washing, but most toys aren’t.

It would be best to check the toy’s cleaning instructions first before tossing it in the laundry.

To avoid damages and to save yourself from explaining to your children why their favorite toy got ruined, double-check before using a washing machine!



As parents, the safety of our children always comes first. Cleaning toys using the right methods will make playtime safe and lead to fewer worries.

It’s best to get them the right non-toxic baby toys from the start!

After reading this how-to guide, we hope you learned everything you need to know on cleaning toys safely and effectively!


August 17, 2022 – Added 1 new article link

July 22, 2021 – updated article links

About the author

Angelica Graham

A few years ago, Angelica found out about all the plastic and toxic ingredients that got into most children’s products. And this worried her to no end. Because of this, she began to research what the best ingredients and materials were for children and made it her mission to share this information with other mothers.