44 answers

A Good Disinfectant for Toys

Hello All you wonderful moms!! I was wondering if anyone uses or knows of a disinfectant that is effective, but gentle to use on toys. I have tried the Lysol disinfectant, but it seems to leave a residue that gets on my kids hands and mouths!! (Mostly the 8 month old). Organic, Amish... I'm looking for anything that is effective and safe and hopefully not to expensive! Thank you for time and responses in advance!

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Dear B.,

Good old-fashioned liquid bleach works the best and does not cost that much. I always use Chlorox, but any brand will actually work. I would put one cup in a half tub of water and wash them with dish soap and the bleach and then rinse thoroughly and dry or allow to air dry and let the kids play with the toys as usual.

L. C.

The best thing I have found to use is highly dilluted bleach with water. It is safe after it dries because bleach breaks down quickly after it comes in to contact with organic matter, which is exactly the stuff that you are using it for anyway. You just need a very large spray bottle and 1 capful of bleach for cleaning. You really shouldn't even be able to smell the bleach. I know this is what has been used at the daycare that I used to use and it seems to do the trick and no film.

50/50 dilution of hydrogen peroxide and water. OR Water and Vinegar. Doesn't get any cheaper then that, is totally safe, and won't harm baby.

These two substances (peroxide and vinegar) are EXCELLENT for cleaning and disinfecting. REALLY!

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Looks like you have a lot of good resposes for different products. I just want to say be careful about cleaning too much! That is seriously a bad thing! We all need germs, this is how our immune systems strengthen. I have friends that are "germ-phobics" and their kids have been nothing but sick, ear infections, ashthma, etc. Cleaning toys should not be something you do often - just once in a long while. I have a clean house, not obsessively clean - just what it needs to be though... And I think I can count on one hand how many times I clean my daughters toys and she never even had a sniffle, fever or anything until she was like 18 months old.. Maybe its conincidence, I don't know. Especially spraying cleaners around kids, its awful for them. Doctors will even tell you that, now they say not to even sterilize baby bottles. Just my 2 cents :)
Good Luck :)

1 mom found this helpful

vinegar ! antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-viral. and once dry, it should leave no residue altho if it does, kids seem to like the tangy taste ! i only disinfect after big parties tho or having kids over that i later suspect may have been sick. i used to be a sanitizing maniac and now have 2 (out of 5) children w/ several serious to life-threatening food allergies b/t them.

one current theory is that as as a society we have become so obsessed w/ being antiseptic that our children's immune systems no longer have dirt, germs and disease to fight off so they have begun mistaking strong food proteins (like those in egg, nuts, fish, etc...) for the enemy!

there were never any food allergies in anyone in my or hubby's family before our kids and my sister has 6 kids and is pretty carefree about hand washing and housecleaning and hasn't got a single food allergy in the bunch. i'm currently trying to adjust my standards to a more middle ground !

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I am the mother of 3 boys and I don't disinfect my kids' toys. If they are visibly dirty I will wash them, but studies are showing that kids need exposure to bacteria to build resistance and be healthier adults. It's the same concept as health care...those of us working in healthcare rarely get sick...our resistance is so high. Now, I certainly would consider disinfecting my toys if I ran a daycare, or had sick children over who were playing with them, but even my own children seldom get sick from each other.

There is such a thing as being too clean!


1 mom found this helpful


I use vinegar for disinfectant. It dries out the cell walls of germs so they can't retain water and are essential dehydrated to death.

Mix 1:1 ratio, vinegar and water, or you can use just straight vinegar.

Just beware of cleaning your kids toys too much. As the other mothers have pointed out, too much disinfectant can be bad for their systems as well.

I think of it this way, we all get a little bit of the bad germs in our bodies every day and our immune systems learn which are the bad germs and which are the good. So later if you get a big dose of the bad germs (think tomato scare) your body is able to fight it off fairly effectively rather than running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hello B.,

1/2 water 1/2 alcohol in a spray bottle does wonders. it's great for cleaning mirrors, quick bathroom cleanup, counters, glass tables, microwave, counters, stove, etc.

I usually "desinfected" toys that my kids put in their mouths.

I use vinegar and water. Some of the smaller plastic toys I will also soak in ivory soak and hot water or put through the dishwasher. I do so about once per week and before/after friends with kids are over.

I was just wondering.. HOw often do toys need to be disinfected??? if it is just my 2 kids that play with them??

Hi B.,

I use Clorox anywhere hard surface spray on everything and it works really well. You can either wipe it off after 2 minutes or let it air dry. It is $2.74 for 22oz at Target. It does not have a harsh smell and the bottle says "Gentle enough to use around kids, pets and food." Hope that helps.

Take care,

Dear B.,

Good old-fashioned liquid bleach works the best and does not cost that much. I always use Chlorox, but any brand will actually work. I would put one cup in a half tub of water and wash them with dish soap and the bleach and then rinse thoroughly and dry or allow to air dry and let the kids play with the toys as usual.

L. C.

I use clorox spray, it is awesome! I use it in every room of the house, kitchen, bathroom, playroom :)

We use the new clorox anywhere disinfecting spray its safe for kids and pets I use it on the high chair, toys, just about everywhere in my home. Its around $2.50 a bottle.
Good luck!

Bleach breaks down naturally and kills everything you need it to. Use the bleach & water solution. The bleach solution is what is used by hospitals, pediatric doctors offices, schools and licensed day care facilities. Mix one ounce bleach to 49 ounces of water. If toy can be placed in water, let it soak for 10 minutes and then rinse thoroughly. If it can not be subersed in water, spray solution on a cloth and wipe clean or use disinfecting wipes. I use Clorox wipes or Lysol wipes - make sure you wipe and allow to air dry or sit wet for at least 4 minutes and then wipe with a damp cloth to remove any residue. Wash stuffed animals in the washing machine (gentle/handwash cycle). If soft toys can not get wet, give them a tumble in a hot dryer. If you wash toys in the dishwasher make sure to rinse them very well in clear water after you take them out. Dishwasher detergent leaves a nasty residue and can be very harsh. Good luck!!

I use vinegar and peroxide, each in its own spray bottle and then spray on...make sure you dont get it on furniture as the peroxide can bleach! It works great..I just put everything in the sink, spray it down and let it sit for a bit, and then wipe off.

I use clorox anywhere hard surface on all my daughter's toys, highchair,stuffed animals, pretty much everything!

Easiest thing to use that isn't toxic and won't hurt the children - Listerene mouthwash. Just drop the toys in a small bucket with a full bottle of the mouthwash and then the bottle full of tap water. Swish them around and let them soak for a few minutes, rinse and wipe clean. I used this method for both of my children (who are now 25 and 16) when they were little and it's harmless, simple and worry-free. (And now, Listerene comes in different *flavors*, so if the toys end-up in the mouth, they'll at least taste better!)

50/50 dilution of hydrogen peroxide and water. OR Water and Vinegar. Doesn't get any cheaper then that, is totally safe, and won't harm baby.

These two substances (peroxide and vinegar) are EXCELLENT for cleaning and disinfecting. REALLY!

I used to work in head start program and also in a daycare and in both of these environment we would mix a small amount of bleach , about a cap, and fill a standard size spray bottle full of cold water. You can spray the toys down, we would lay them out on towels on the tables, and let air dry. I have never tried it but I have also read that peroxide is a wonderful disinfectant when mixed with water. I hope one of these helps you. Good Luck

Have you looked into Shaklee? There cleaning products are all natural. Some of it is alittle more expensive, but it is also safe and more friendly enviroment. If you would like more info I can help you with that.

Try washing them in the dishwasher in a zippered garment bag.

I'm a distributor for Shaklee so my family uses Basic-G. You can check out their website... www.shaklee.com. If you decide to order some and go through me, I can offer you some additional discounts. They are a green company, and specialize in the type of products you are looking for. They even offer Basic-G in wipes. I use them to wipe any public changing table, rather than using (and reusing) changing pads. Much more effective, economical, and way better for the environment.

I, too, am of the opinion that there is such a thing as too clean. Not to mention, do you really want your kid sucking on something that is routinely washed with bleach or some other inorganic compound? If you make or find a product that will not harm the children, then they can clean the toys themselves or help you! My kids enjoy that, when I do get around to cleaning our toys.

There are some great products out there like Clean Well (you can get it at whole foods, probably can find a good price on it and other natural items at vitacost.com) Shaklee is another great product line but I don't sell it so you'll need to find someone else who does. Then, there is always the DIY - vinegar/water, or leave it out in the sun! The sun kills lots of bacteria. If you want to start thinking about making your own cleaning products, there are some great books out there that will save you LOTS of money. My current favorite is Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond. Check out the titles on Amazon for "green cleaning." Many of the green cleaning recipes use ingredients you already have in your home or can easily acquire with little expense. You don't have to use chemicals to get your stuff clean, and your doing the environment a huge favor by reducing your consumption of the plastic containers that the cleaning products come in. Just something to think about!


A great cleaner that I have found is from Shaklee. They are all biodegradable and all natural cleaners. They have everything from disinfectants, dereasers, to laundry detergent and even some personal lotions and cleansers. They are not avaliable in store, you have to find a distributor though. The price might throw you at first but you by a concentrated formula that you mix. A couple of drops to 16oz of water and you have an all purpose cleaner that last for 3-4wks 9depending how much you use it). My husband sells it but I know that you can order it online at www.shaklee.com. It is completely safe for kids and does not leave a residue or need to be rinsed off after use.
Hope that this helps.

Hi. You might get a lot of responses like mine. I use Melaleuca products in my home. They are safer for everybody and they work better than anything I have ever used. I have learned so much about what is in everyday products since I have started using Melaleuca's stuff. I have started my own business with it too because part of what we do is educate people about the hazards of using other products. I would love to tell you more about it. Please contact me and I will. No pressure. They are cost effective too and the products have many alternative uses. I make my own baby wipes and mosquito repellant that is way cheaper and much safer than what is in the regular stores. My phone # is ###-###-#### or you can email me at ____@____.com

Diluted bleach water in a spray bottle works great. You can also put them in the dishwasher or use vinager water.
Blessings, K.

Hi B.,

After reading many responses here, I am extremely concerned at the uses of Clorox Anywhere and the trust people are showing in this product. I decided to do some research of my own and am concerned about the true safety of it.

A little research will show that constant exposure to chemicals breaks down and compromises our immmune systems and makes us weak. At this point we are open to a host of diseases becoming so common today.

Bleach itself is known to alter brain cells and have dramatic effects on our lungs.

One responder suggexted that Clorox Anywhere is safe to put in the mouth. Please read the following information below which is from the Clorox Company itself or go to the site yourself at:


Here is what I found:

Clorox Professional Products Company
1221 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612
Tel. ###-###-####
Material Safety
Data Sheet
I Product:
Other Designations
Emergency Telephone Nos.
EPA Reg. No. 5813-85
Clorox Sales Company
1221 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612
For Medical Emergencies, call (800) 446-1014
For Transportation Emergencies, call
Chemtrec (800) 424-9300
II Health Hazard Data
III Hazardous Ingredients
Under normal consumer use conditions, the likelihood of any adverse health effects is low.
EYE CONTACT: If irritation occurs, call a physician.
SKIN CONTACT: If irritation occurs, call a physician.
INGESTION: Do not induce vomiting. If irritation occurs, call a physician. Do not give anything by mouth to an unconscious person.
INHALATION: If breathing is affected, remove to fresh air and call a physician.
This product is not hazardous as defined by 29 CFR Part 1910.1200 (OSHA)
None of the ingredients in this product are on the IARC, NTP or OSHA carcinogen lists.
IV Special Protection and Precautions
V Transportation and Regulatory Data
No special protection or precautions have been identified for using this product under directed consumer use conditions.

The following recommendations are given for production facilities and for other conditions and situations where there is increased potential for accidental, large-scale or prolonged exposure.

Hygienic Practices: Avoid contact with eyes, skin and clothing. Wash hands after direct contact. Do not wear product-contaminated clothing for prolonged periods.

Engineering Controls: Use general ventilation to minimize exposure to vapor or mist.

Personal Protective Equipment: Wear safety glasses. Use rubber or nitrile gloves if in contact liquid, especially for prolonged periods.

US DOT: Not restricted.
IMDG: Not restricted.
IATA: Not restricted.
EPA- SARA Title III/CERCLA: Product is regulated under Sections 311/312. This product contains no chemicals regulated under Section 313.

Contains sodium hypochlorite and sodium hydroxide, which are regulated under 304/CERCLA.

TSCA/DSL: All chemicals in this product are listed on the TSCA Inventory. The DSL status for some components has not been determined.

VI Spill Procedures/Waste Disposal
VII Reactivity Data

Spill Procedures: Absorb and containerize. Wash residual down to sanitary sewer. Contact the sanitary treatment facility in advance to assure ability to process washed down material.

Waste Disposal: Disposal must be made in accordance with applicable federal, state and local regulations.
Stability: Stable under normal use and storage conditions.

Reactivity: Reacts with chemicals such as acid toilet bowl cleaners, rust removers, acids, vinegars and ammonia-containing products to produce hazardous gases, such as chlorine and other chlorinated compounds.
Storage/Disposal: Do not use or store near heat or open flame.
VIII Fire and Explosion Data
IX Physical Data
Fire Extinguishing Agents: Water spray, dry chemical, carbon dioxide (COs)
Flashpoint: >200°F (closed cup).
Unusual Fire and Explosion Hazards: None.
pH:..........................................................................................................6.5 – 8.5
Specific Gravity:............................................................................................~1.1
Solubility (Water):.................................................................................Complete
Boiling point:……………………………………..…212°F 100°C (decomposes)

Again, I have been using an entire line of more natural line of organic cleaning products that don't contain any harsh chemicals or preservatives. I know this is just what you're looking for! I love the fact that my little grandbabies can help me clean (and they love to help!) and I don't have to worry about them being poisoned or endangered by toxic cleaners!

The nice thing about these products is that they actually cost less than what you're using now. A bottle of concentrate is just $5.24 but that makes 4 bottles of cleaner costing just $1.31 each. It really makes sense to use a much safer organic product around our homes and kids!

You can contact me by going to www.WorkinAtHomeMoms.com

Just click on "Get More Info"

I'll call you with the information you need.

I have heard of Clorox Anywhere spray disinfectant (clear type bottle). I haven't used it, but I heard it is good. You can even use it on your counter with food on it. Not sure about a residue or after taste, but it might be worth a shot.

I volunteered in our church kids space and we switched from using a bleach solution for the same reason - the yucky white residue. Now we use warm water with 1-2 drops of ivory soap and a couple glugs of white vinegar. (sorry, not sure of the exact measurements, we just estimated!) Vinegar has natural disinfectant properties - I'm sure you could google it and find out more details if you like. Good luck and happy sanitizing! =)

1 part water...3 parts vinegar..you can get scentless vinegar and add scented oils to it.

A good automatic dishwasher. Put them in netted bags like the ones you get with onions. Run the load with your dishes. No need for disinfectant, which by the way need to stay on for 10 minutes then rinsed.

I haven't read your other responses yet, but I am personally a fan of Shaklee products. They are organic and safe for your kids. I use the Basic H2 for everything. You can clean the toys and have the kids put them in their mouth immediately afterwards and it's totally safe. It comes in a concentrate and you dilute it with water. Any more question, just email me.

Hi there B., boy do I have some great news for you! I have a 22 month old son and I can't stand to think about germs on his toys and then when you use disinfectants you have to worry about toxins! Well, I use safe, all natural, toxin free products from this awesome company, Meleleuca, that has been in business for 23 years. This also happens to be my home-based business! They have a product that is awesome for toys and it's only $7.14 for a 16oz spray bottle, and their products are concentrated to help the environment, so a little goes a long way! Please contact me if you would like to know how you can get these wonderful products! My email is ____@____.com or you can call me at ###-###-####. Please don't use bleach or Lysol or anything like that, those products are so harmful for your kids, and I have info on that too! I would love to help you!

Hi B.,

My son is 13 now, but sometimes I would soak his toys in vinegar for cleaning, rinse with water and let air dry. However, I have been using a commercial disinfectant by Odoban. It has citric acid, sliver and its supposed to be an Earth Choice product. You can visit their website at odoban.com. I don't believe that they are totally natural but the product claims to have natural ingredients and cleans without bleaching. Other than that I use baking soda, lemons and borax.



Hi, I see that you have gotten a lot of responses and I only wanted to respond because I have a suggestion that no one else has given. I used to work at P&G in the hard surface cleaners division and so have a great deal of experience with these kinds of products. One thing that concerns me- beyond the thought that others have expressed about suppressing immune systems by being "too clean"- is that there is a tendency in our culture to buy so many different products that we end up with houses, and landfills, full of PACKAGING materials. One of the best cleaners around is Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap. The label provides ratios of the soap to water for every imaginable use. Mint oil is a natural disinfectant and astringent and is a natural insect repellant. It has much more efficacy and variety of uses than vinegar. I have used it on my veggie plants in the garden to ward away not only insects but bunnies etc. I have used it as hand soap, dish soap, laundry soap,to take the sting out of insect bits, etc,etc, etc. It smells great, is inexpensive and all you need is it and a spray bottle and bucket and all of your household chores are taken care of. It is available in any good natural food store. That reminds me- I need a new bottle! Good luck!

It looks like you have had alot of responses. The main thing I've seen used in daycares and we use in our church nursery is clorox. We put a capful in a spray bottle of water and spray at the end of every day we are there. We spray EVERYTHING and our custodian has told us she will do a good cleaning every 3 months or so. This should work great and the kids can help you with the cleanings. They usually LOVE to have a tub of soapy water to wash in.

Hope this helps!


Rubbing Alcohol. It's used in doctor's offices and dissipates as it dries, leaving no residue. "Google" it to see what percentage of alcohol you need to disinfect.

Hi Brenda,

Please double check this info that I am about to give you to make sure of the details and accuracy.

It is my understanding that a mixture hydrogen peroxide and water, in a spray bottle is a great and SAFE disinfectant. Supposedly, it can disinfect everything from our counter tops, to our toothbrushes. The important part, I would think, is the ratio of hydrogen peroxide to water.

There is a very highly concentrated form of hydrogen peroxide you can purchase from your health food store. (in the freezer section) The back of the bottle lists the ratios for different purposes.

This GREAT cleaner is also good for cleaning our fruits and veggies to remove the germs as well as the chemicals on our produce.

REMEMBER...Peroxide has the bleaching effect. Careful where you spray.

A friend who worked in the medical field made the comment to me, "You never smell bleach in the doctors office, what do you think they use?" It is her impression that it is hydrogen peroxide.

This mixture is way cheaper than veggie cleaners too.

Good luck,


I mostly use baby wipes and sometimes the disinfecting wipes. Another good thing to do is wash them like you would your dishes in a sink of soapy clean water.

when I worked at Kindercare... we just disinfected them in bleach water and wrinsed them.

We use Clorox Anywhere Disinfectant - on everything. It's safe to put in mouths and I've never seen a residue. I would still recommend rinsing after you use it, but it's still safe.

try using one of the dish soaps ( I use Dawn ) that also calls itself an antibacterial hand soap. They usually have irgasan or chlorhexidine in them, which are good sanitizers that rinse clean. Another option, though harder to find, is Iodophor, diluted with water to the color of ginger ale, which is available at restaurant supply places or at janitorial supply places. Bars often use Iodophor to sanitize glasses. Home brewers also use it to sanitize their bottles, so you can buy it at brewing supply places.
All these choices avoid the nasty tasty and smelling residue that chlorine bleach products leave. Good luck, L.

The best thing I have found to use is highly dilluted bleach with water. It is safe after it dries because bleach breaks down quickly after it comes in to contact with organic matter, which is exactly the stuff that you are using it for anyway. You just need a very large spray bottle and 1 capful of bleach for cleaning. You really shouldn't even be able to smell the bleach. I know this is what has been used at the daycare that I used to use and it seems to do the trick and no film.

Peroxide. It's supposed to be way better than bleach.

Hello B., The day cares add bleach to their dishwater. This is what I've used to clean everything. There isn't alot of it in the dishwater, but enough to disinfect. Just take the dishcloth and wipe everything down. Very inexpensive. Good luck.

Try the "Clorox Anywhere" spray.

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