The Safe Ways to Disinfect Baby Toys

February 24, 2020

Parents, we know you do everything you can to keep your baby safe and healthy. That includes keeping your home and little one squeaky clean. But, are your baby’s toys looking a little grimy? Has your child’s sibling or friend been sick recently? Has food or spit-up landed on a toy?

If your answer was yes to any of those questions, it’s time to disinfect your kiddo’s toys. Here are the safe ways to disinfect baby toys, broken down by material—because the route to clean toys varies depending on factors like absorbency and durability.

Plastic Toys


The best thing about plastic toys (other than their bright colors and fun shapes) is that they’re durable. Experts say you can put plastic toys in a pot of boiling water for five minutes and then let them cool. Alternatively, you can run them through the dishwasher in the silverware basket. Let toys washed in boiling water or the dishwasher and then let them air dry.

Before you try either of these techniques, though, make sure there’s no batteries, fabric, or inside cavities that may retain water for extended periods and get musty.

Wooden Toys

Wooden toys are porous and tend to warp and become rough if they’re put in water. So, for wooden toys, wipe them down with a clean cloth that’s been dipped in a mixture of white vinegar and water (50/50) or mild soapy water that’s been made with gentle hand soap or your baby’s soap. Once you’re done cleansing the toy, wipe it down with a cloth that’s been soaked in plain water—this will get rid of any soap that’s left over. 

For tough stains, wipe wooden toys with a cloth that’s been dipped in rubbing alcohol and then wipe the toy down with a different cloth that’s been soaked in plain water.

Fabric Toys

Does your little one have a growing collection of teddy bears or cloth books? If these items are free from battery packs and other plastic parts, you can put these toys in the washing machine. If your items do have battery packs or plastic parts, spot clean them with a baby wipe.

Rubber Toys

Rubbery toys like soft teething toys can be cleaned with the same 50/50 solution that we mentioned in the wooden toys section above.

Bath Toys

By nature, bath toys can stand up to heat and water. So, follow our instructions in the plastic toys section and put those bath toys in your dishwasher to disinfect them.

Metal Toys

Toys like trucks and trains will often have metal parts, and these pieces won’t endure the other cleaning methods we’ve listed above. Instead, wipe down metal pieces with a solution of bleach and water. Experts say one tablespoon bleach to each quart of water is the perfect solution (in more ways than one!).

Want more parenting advice, tips, and tricks? Check out our blog for our latest posts, like Kids and Screen Time: The Parent’s Guide.