How Often Do You Clean Your Child's Toys?

Updated on January 12, 2011
K.J. asks from Spring Hill, TN
16 answers

I just wondered how often other moms cleaned the toys around the house and what types of toys (ex. small toys like legos, cars, blocks, and balls; large toys like houses and kitchens; stuffed animals, etc.). For example, I used to clean her large toys more often than smaller toys, mostly because wiping down each individual block along with everything else took FOREVER! When my daughter was a baby, I was very OCD about cleaning her toys all the time. She is now almost two and as she has gotten older plus battling with hyperemisis with our current pregnancy, her toys don't get cleaned as often as they used to be. I know some moms who never clean toys unless they are visibly dirty or sticky while others lysol toys every other day. I was just curious as to what the 'norm' is for cleaning toys.

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answers from Dallas on

I don't know if there is a norm, but I don't clean them unless they're actually dirty. My son is almost 4. I washed his toys a weekly when he was younger, but that was cause he stuck them in his mouth. Washing toys TOO much isn't good for their immune system. Their bodies have to learn to deal with the non-dangerous germs so it's strong enough to deal with the bad stuff.

That said, I'd like to be a little more "OCD" with my cleaning habits (LOL) ; )

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I guess we're just a big lot of non-cleaners! LOL
When my son was at the "everything in the mouth stage" then yes..they were occasionally cleaned but now...he's almost 8...only if they look green & fuzzy! haha

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Lexington on

I would almost NEVER clean my childrens' toys with chemicals! If they need cleaning I use water or throw them in the dishwasher. There's no way I want my kids putting lysol or clorox in their mouths.

That said, if we receive a toy that has been stored elsewhere (eg, we got our exersaucer back from MIL's - unbeknownst to us she stored it in a barn where it got covered in bird poop and was exposed to mice and insects), I will undoubtedly wash wash wash with antibacterial soap and water and spray spray spray......then maybe go back over it with clorox and wash it again with soap and water as was the case with the exersaucer. But otherwise we only clean as necessary and never with chemicals.

However, most of our toys are battery-free as well and can be boiled or put in the dishwasher without issue.

You definitely don't want to be exposing yourself to Clorox and lysol while you're pregnant either! :D

Unless you have playmates that gum your childrens' toys, I wouldn't worry about it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

i only clean when they're visibly dirty/sticky. even when my son was sick, i asked my pediatrician if i should clean his toys so he doesn't reinfect himself with his own germs and the dr said not to worry about it b/c some dirt and germs are good for them plus teh cold virus wouldn't live that long on the toys anyway. so i haven't worried about it since!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I dont clean my boys toys anymore and they are 4 and 17 months unless they are super dirty which doesnt happen. We do clean outdoor toys if they come indoors (some do during the winter). When I did clean them I used my homemade spray cleaner, lysol is horrible for the health of little ones and shouldnt be used in close proximenty to them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I guess I never clean toys unless they look gross/dirty! I never even thought of it. The kids seem fine :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Most moms I know don't clean unless the toys look dirty. The kids are fine.

There's actually research that shows excessive cleaning is potentially harmful. The immune system needs legitimate "enemies" to develop properly, and in a super-hygenic environment there are too few such microbes. So the ambitious immune system, needing work to do, sometimes begins attacking the child, instead, resulting in asthma and allergies.

Further, because it hasn't learned to recognize and mount normal defenses against everyday illnesses, the child is also much more susceptible to every sore throat and gut misery they will eventually contact in the "outside" world.

Finally, overuse of strong cleaning agents can actually cause chemical injury to the child (and other family members). There are astonishing lists of "new" chemical agents in modern household products that are actually toxic, and the full extent of just how dangerous they are isn't even understood yet. But repeated exposures can cause debilitating illnesses, (up to and including respiratory reactions, nervous system damage, cancers and reproductive disorders).

I personally reached my limit about 25 years ago, when I became over-sensitized to just about everything in modern life. Trust me, you do not want to take yourself or your child in that direction. My life is seriously limited since then, and when I do risk going out in public, there are almost always distressing consequences.



answers from Johnson City on

I clean my son's toys approximately twice a year (when I am rotating them). If they get dirty or colored on with markers or crayons, I clean them after the incident happens. Otherwise, I think that disinfecting toys (that haven't been shared with another child or a sick individual) every other day is excessive - especially with you being pregnant. I clean bath toys more often than regular toys, to help cut down on mildew. The "norm" is going to vary from household to household... but if you only have 1 child currently, and you aren't battling sickness - I would cut back on the toy cleaning. I also recommend having someone else clean the toys for you, as to limit your exposure to chemicals and cleaning products.


answers from Seattle on

I have never cleaned my son's toys unless there is something nasty or sticky on them. Guess I just don't really see the point to it. Their toys, their germs...and if their friends come over they are already sharing germs just by breathing the same



answers from Cleveland on

My son is 2 1/2. I cleaned all of his toys on two seperate occassions when he was a baby and put everything in his mouth. My parents and my husbands dad thought it was weird, both said they never cleaned our toys when we were little, ever. Now I only clean them when they are visibly dirty.



answers from Boston on

I never clean toys unless there is a visible layer of grime. If it doesn't bother the kids, it doesn't bother me.



answers from Johnson City on

When my son was an infant I cleaned toys once a week, just becuase he slobbered and teethed on everything. I just felt they were dirty. He is now 4, and I can't tell you the last time they were cleaned.....I just wipe them off when I notice they are dirty or sticky.



answers from Nashville on

I don't hardly clean them unless another child was over and either sucked on them, sick and snotty, etc My kids have their own germs. If they are sick, I clean them but usually not. I guess I never thought about it until now, maybe once every few months would be good. I do, however, clean bath toys every so often b/c of the mold/mildew. I soak the toys in vinegar water or bleach water then rinse. At the preschool I work at we Lysol and clean daily. The small toys you can sometimes put in the dishwasher to make it easier. You can also put them in a small laundry bag and run them through the washing machine.



answers from Huntington on

Hardly ever, unless visably dirty. Most bacteria don't live long on hard, plastic surfaces.



answers from Raleigh on

I am one of those moms that never cleans the toys unless they are visibly dirty or sticky. My son had maybe 2 or 3 colds while staying home with me for over 2 years. He never really got sick until going to school.



answers from Johnson City on

I seldom clean my kids' toys other than to occasionally throw a doll or stuffed animal in the washing machine after one too many trips outside!The only exception is the occasional soaking of the bathtub toys in Chlorox because they get slimy after a while. (I keep them in one of those mesh laundry bags in the tub so they can dry out some between uses, but even with that, they don't always get completely dry.) However, whenever I do soak them, I always wash them thoroughly afterwards and let them dry out completely then before I put them back in the tub. Otherwise, it doesn't get washed unless it's noticeably dirty or unless my kids have outgrown it and I want to pass it on!

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