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Do you clean your kid's toys?

With a baby at home, we try to take extra caution when it's about cleanliness. We keep our houses clean, floor gets mopping many times and bed-sheet gets changing timely. We sanitize baby cloths after washing with detergent. We use good quality dish wash to keep germs away from baby's feeding utensils. But we often overlook baby's toys. Babies are constantly touching toys, putting their hands over them (whether clean or dirty) and many times take toys in their mouths, so they can pick up germs and diseases easily. Washing and disinfecting toys helps reduce the spread of germs, especially when many children are together. This means we can reduce the possibility of our babies getting sick by keeping baby's toys clean. 
There are two basic steps to cleaning baby toys: 
1. Cleaning: Most simple way of cleaning toys. Srubbing with soap and worm water can reduce germs from the toys. It also removes the grease and grime.
2. Sanitizing: A sanitizing solution is needed for this step. It can kill most of the dangerous germs. However, toy surface needs to be cleaned before it's sanitized, since germs can hide in the form of grease and grime. Diluted liquid chlorine bleach can be used for this method. If you don't prefer chemical solution, a natural sanitizing solution is water mixed with vinegar and baking soda. 
Now comes the question, can all the toys be cleaned with same method? The answer is, it depends upon type of toy. Some of the toys can be cleaned with simple hand washing. Other may need mild way of cleaning. Methods also vary based upon the size and material of the toy.
How often should toys need cleaning and sanitizing?
You don't need to drive yourself crazy in cleaning your baby's toys every moment. But it's good to clean toys at certain times:
  1. When you notice they're soiled, for example, when food is spilled on it.
  2. When your baby is recovering from sickness like diarrhea or cold/flue.
  3. After other kids visit your home or when other kid has put your baby's toys in his/he mouth.
  4. On a regular basis, say, at the end of every month.

    Here are few instructions which you can follow for cleaning specific type of toy:
    Small plastic toys:
    1. You can wash plastic toys in the sink/tub with a clean sponge, soap and warm water. Make sure you scrub off any dried food, grease and grime. 
    2.After washing is done, sanitize the toys by dipping them in the sanitizing solution, and let them dry in airy space.
    3.For toys with batteries, clean the outside surface with soap and water, then wipe with the sanitizing solution and let air-dry.
    4.Use a bottle brush to clean small spaces in toys like Legos, where hands washing can't do perfect cleaning.
    5. For example, for bath toys, fill the tub with 3 - 4 inches of water, add 1 cup vinegar and soak for about 30 minutes before rinsing. However, if any toy is waterlogged with a slimy grime on the inside, it's time to discard that toy and get a new one.
    Large plastic, metal or wooden toys:
    Clean their surface with soap and water, then wipe with the sanitizing solution and let them dry in airy space.
    Fabric toys:
    1.Wash in the washing machine with laundry soap and hot water. Let them dry in airy space or under sun. 
    2.For example, stuffed toys like Teddy bears (and other plush toys) can be easily washed away with your washing machine. See instructions in this blog : http://www.mamaslaundrytalk.com/how-to-wash-stuffed-animals/
    3.Dolls get dirty and their hair gets messy. Best way to tame frizz and tangles is hot water hair rinse. See instructions in this blog : http://www.housingaforest.com/fix-barbies-hair/
    4.Another way of fixing frizzy hair is a magical hairspray made with fabric softener. See instructions in this blog: http://simplycleanliving.blogspot.in/2011/12/doll-hair-detangler.html
    Cheat help:
    1.You can use baby wipes for cleaning toy surface if it's been dropped in dirt.
    2.Depending upon the quality of toy, you can sterilize toys in hot boiling water just like feeding bottles. 
    3.Use old toothbrush for cleaning corners and inner surface of toys. 
    4. If you are not sure about the quality of toy, don't put it inside washing machine. Do hand washing for cleaning it. 
    At the end of day, all we need is our babies smiling and doing well. Although we take care of everything which is anyway related to their health, still we miss few things which can bring not-so-good moments for our babies.Babies are like little explorers desperately seeking out new experiences and in this very thing their toys can get dirty. Cleaning baby toys is an essential stuff of parenting which prevents them from many germs and harmful bacteria. 

    (Images: courtesy google, blogs which I'm mentioning here : thanks to their writers)

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