How to Sterilize Books and Toys"

Updated on December 30, 2008
M.D. asks from San Mateo, CA
11 answers

Hi! I have been given a large bag of various toys (plastic-all sizes, some stuffed animals-all sizes, and board books) from a relative who used to be a caretaker at a daycare. Being a first time mom, am a little leary of giving these items to my son without sterilizing them somehow. I have a small machine for dry steaming some small items but not for this many and size. I want to be able to use the books too, but obviously my son wants to put them right in his mouth. Any ideas moms on how to clean these? Thanks!

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K.W.

answers from San Francisco on

Clorox makes a baby safe liquid cleaner, I would wipe them down with that and let them sit for a few days to really dry.

Good luck
K.

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A.P.

answers from San Francisco on

There's a couple different ways. First is you can spray lysol disinfectant spray all over and allow it penetrate and dry. The items that you think he'll probably put in his mouth can be rinsed with water after. Next is to all the items in a bin or even in a bath tub with clorox bleach and water> 1 pt clorox and 9 pt. water. Or the hard way would be to clean each item individually with an antibacterial cleaner. It's really great that you thought to disinfect them before your baby uses them because there could be a lot of lingering things, such as menoccal (menegitis) and that's very dangerous! good luck

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S.M.

answers from Redding on

Hi M., I use the Sol-U-Guard Botanical Disinfectant from Melaleuca. It is the only Botanical Disinfectant approved by the EPA for use in hopitals and daycares. It kills 99.99% of germs, incluing strep, staph, ecoli, salmonlia, and HIV. It is eco friendly. I also use Touhg and Tender, it's general all purpose cleaner that also comes in wipes, safer and better than the clorox wipes. All thier products are eco friendly and are super concentrated to help u save $$ and they last longer! It's $1 to join do the month of DEC. Hope this helps. you can check out thier site for all thier products at www.melaleuca.com Also check out www.saferisbetter.com/lovebeinghome happy New Year!

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T.M.

answers from San Francisco on

M.,

To disenfect my children's toys, I use clorox's anywhere spray. It is safe to use around children and pets. I usually use it after play dates and during my weekly cleaning. I spray the area, and let it sit on the item. After approximately two minutes, the item is safe to be used and played with.
- T.

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C.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I'm a germaphobe too. This is what I have done for my children. I throw stuffed toys in the washer and dryer. So far, they have all survived. Depending what kind of plastic toys they are, I've washed them in the dishwasher or thrown in the washing machine in a lingerie bag and then air dried them. Otherwise, I soak them in a dishpan of water with a little bleach. Be sure to rinse them and dry them. The books, I would not give to my child until they are old enough to not eat them. That will be soon enough, and it's a shame for a child to ruin a good book! Just read them to him (what all babies love most) for the next few months. With library books, I just take a wad of papertowel, douse it in rubbing alcohal and wipe down the surface of the book covers. My husband laughs at me, but honestly, it takes a second and some of the well loved books are pretty grubby. Good luck.
C.

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C.A.

answers from San Francisco on

I boiled water in a large pot and put some things in that. I'm also a "if it fits in the dishwasher, put it in the dishwasher" kind of person. As far as books goes, I use the Clorox anywhere stuff and spray that on it and wipe it off, then wipe with a damp paper towel (with just water on it) and then let it air dry for a couple days. I leave it open standing up and rotate it sometimes.
Stuffed animals go in a pillow case in the wash, and I soak it over night first.
I try to be green and get stuff off Craigslist, or from friends, but other peoples "funk" grosses me out =O)

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S.R.

answers from San Francisco on

White vinegar is a great disinfectant, and eco-friendly too, if you can stand the smell. You can make your own disinfecting wipes by wetting a paper towel or cleaning cloth vinegar. Just wipe down the board books and let them dry. Washer and dryer for the soft toys; vinegar, soap and water, dish washer, or boiling water for the plastics. Clorox sprays and wipes are pretty terrible for the environment, so I try to avoid them.
-S.

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K.H.

answers from San Francisco on

I have been stuggling with this issue for some time. How to disinfect current toys and toys given to us.

I use soap and water or vinegar to wipe down books (the vinegar smell disappates when dry) and a soak in hot water with soap for plastic toys (but you might want to check to see what chemicals they might have - especially old toys(lead/arsenic/mercury/PVCs) by checking the healthytoys.org webiste. Not all toys are listed, but they have a growing database.

A friend of mine uses a steam cleaner a couple of times a week to disenfect all her son's toys, especially since they do a nanny share a few days a week.

Regarding the clorox wipes that many people have suggested, you might want to take a look at the following weblink.

http://www.cbc.ca/consumers/market/files/home/cleaners/in...

It mentions that when measuring volatile organic compounds (VOCs), Clorox Wipes came in at more than 1,000 ppb. Lysol Disinfecting Spray was much higher — around 1,200 parts per million, or 1,000 times higher than the Clorox.

I personaly don't use clorox or bleach because of the unknown long-term effects these have particularly on developing children.

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D.J.

answers from San Francisco on

So.. plastic toys can go into the dishwaher, they can be disinfected there.. I've used those bleachwipey things on board books, you just have to not overwet... and why not just chuck all the stuffies in the washer? Good luck
D.

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C.F.

answers from San Francisco on

we were given bags of toys as well. i put all the soft toys in the washer/dryer and i used the clorox anywhere spray for the hard toys and let them air dry. only one toy was ruined in the wash so it was tossed. i figured to have it all clean and only damaged one item was worth it. good luck.

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N.C.

answers from Sacramento on

Wash with warm water and soap. I also wipe toys down with lysol wipes.