Let’s be honest. There’s one toy your kid has that’s never put down. It’s taken through the dirt, mud and then snuggled tightly throughout every nap. Here’s how and how often to clean it, because no special toy should go dirty! Plus, one easy clean will make your kids room (relatively) germ free.
For toys that are super sentimental, a gentle hand-wash will be the safest way to get it clean. For run-of-the-mill toys that are newer, machine washing is perfectly fine. Also, if you happen to have a little one who is super attached to their favorite buddy, try taking it away at nap time after they’ve fallen asleep or create a game that doesn’t involve the toy to distract them while it’s being cleaned.
How Often You Should Wash
First things first, how often should you wash those favored toys? Washing these small items may be the last of our concerns after loads and loads of laundry throughout the week. However, it’s important that these everyday objects remain clean since they are in our kids hands A LOT—and who knows where those hands have been or are going. Be sure to get a wash in after any time your kid has been sick and after any long trips where it was in contact with a lot of public areas.
Machine Washing Plush Toys
Most plush toys can safely take a spin in the washing machine without loosing their button eyes or worse. Damage is always a risk, however, so take into consideration any weak parts that might fray away or get loose when tumbled. Still, washing in the machine will be the quickest and easiest way for most parents looking to clean their kids stuffed animals.
- Use the gentlest cycle available on your washing machine.
- Wash in cold water, using mild detergent.
- If disinfecting is a concern, opt for warm or hot water.
- If the toy is of small size, place it into a launder-able mesh bag to help protect it. Padding the drum of the washer with towels can add another layer of protection also.
- Air-drying will be the most gentle choice, and a hair dryer on low can help fluff the fur once the toy has had time to dry but is still slightly damp. (What a finishing touch! These precious toys are divas!)
- If your toy is super resilient, machine drying is fine but use the low-heat setting.
Hand Washing Plush Toys
Hand washing can be relatively painless and finished in a timely manner (aka before nap time is over.) This is a great option for more fragile or as we mentioned, sentimental, toys. You’ll want a roomy sink to follow these steps so go for a clean kitchen sink rather than a small bathroom. If that’s full (we’d understand), use the bathtub (which may be really adorable now that we’re picturing it.) You’ll want enough space to get your hands in the water with the toy, without the water spilling everywhere.
Fill the sink (or tub) with lukewarm water and mild detergent. It’s easy to overuse detergent, which will make the rinsing part of the operation a nightmare. Go with a teaspoon at a time, adding more if necessary depending on how large or dirty this precious toy is.
Submerge the plush toy in the water using a pumping motion. Be sure it becomes saturated with the detergent solution. Then let it hang out and have a nice soak for 15-60 minutes, depending on its condition. Pro Tip: If your toy has some whites that are looking dingy, use our Oxi-Smart Stain Remover. Just be sure to give it a good scrub immediately and rinse well.
After the toy soaks, drain the wash water (which will feel satisfying because it’s probably looking pretty grungy at this point) and rinse the sink of suds. Then, wash with clean water until all suds have disappeared. Avoid rinsing directly under the faucet unless the toy is very sturdy.
Before removing it from the sink, squeeze and press all of the extra water out that it has absorbed. This is probably obvious, but it will dry faster if it retains less water. Lay on a towel to air dry until just damp to the touch. You can go back with a hair-dryer on the lowest setting if Mr. Bears fur needs fluffing.
For Toys That Aren’t Plush
The best thing about our cleaning products (aside from that impressive cleaning power) is that they are safe to use anywhere in the home and you don’t have to worry about little hands and faces near your surfaces after you’ve used them. For favorite toys that aren’t stuffed animals, like plastic cars or a book we have a few options for whatever situation you may be in. If you’re thinking of washing anything that has electronic parts, be sure to remove the battery pack and opt for a simple wipe down rather than a deep clean since these objects can not be submerged. Be sure to repeat the process often with these types of toys since electronics can’t be washed as fully as other toys.
Wash Like Dishes
Grab some dish soap and literally wash them like the dishes. We’d recommend doing a full hand-wash rather than running anything through a dishwasher. This way you don’t have to worry about heat, and anything getting damaged in this journey.
Clean Like Surfaces
Grab some All Purpose Cleaner and go to town. Spray first on a rag or paper towel (be sure to compost!) rather than spraying directly onto the toy and give it a good wipe down on any surface that could be hosting grime.