Keeping your children’s toys clean is not only crucial for maintaining their longevity but also for ensuring the health and safety of your little ones. It can be a daunting task, especially given the variety of toys and their different materials. But don’t fret – many toys can be safely washed in the washing machine, making the task a lot easier. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of how to wash toys in the washing machine, precautions to take, and tips for maintaining their condition.
To wash toys in the washing machine, first, ensure the toy is machine washable. Next, repair any loose parts and place the toy in a mesh laundry bag or zippered pillowcase. Use a mild, non-toxic detergent and set the machine on a delicate cycle at 40°C for soft toys or at least 150°F for plastic toys. After washing, air-dry the toys or use a dryer on a low heat setting. For electronic toys, remove batteries before cleaning and only surface clean. The frequency of washing depends on the type of toy and its usage.
Identifying Machine-Washable Toys
Before you toss a toy into the washing machine, it’s critical to identify whether it’s machine-washable. Stuffed animals, soft plastic toys without electronic components, and colorfast fabric books are generally safe for machine washing. Always check the care label or manufacturer’s instructions for any specific washing guidelines.
Preparing Toys for Washing
Preparation is crucial for successful toy washing. Start by repairing any loose parts or tears on the toy to prevent further damage during the wash. Place the toy inside a mesh laundry bag or a zippered pillowcase for added protection. These steps help prevent damage to both the toys and your washing machine.
Choosing the Right Detergent
Opt for a mild, non-toxic detergent that’s free from harsh chemicals. Babyganics 3X Baby Laundry Detergent or Honest Baby Laundry Fragrance-Free are two options that are safe for washing baby toys.
Setting the Right Wash Cycle and Temperature
Use the delicate or gentle cycle at 40°C for soft toys. For plastic baby toys without fabric or porous parts, a wash setting of at least 150°F can kill most germs and bacteria. Always use a gentle cycle with cold water to reduce the risk of damage and color fading.
Drying Toys Post-Wash
After washing, air-dry the toys or use a dryer on a low heat setting. For stuffed animals, gently squeeze out excess water and roll the toy in a clean, white towel to remove moisture. For plastic and hard toys, wipe the toys with a clean, dry cloth.
Special Considerations for Electronic or Battery-Operated Toys
Electronic or battery-operated toys require special care. Always remove the batteries before cleaning and only surface clean these toys, using a cloth dipped in a mild soap solution or a child-safe cleaner. Allow the toy to air dry completely before reinserting the batteries.
Frequency of Toy Washing
The frequency of toy washing depends on the type of toy and how often it’s used. Hard plastic and bath toys should be cleaned and sanitized weekly if they’re used daily. Machine-washable plush toys should be washed once a week if they’re played with daily or slept with.
Washing toys in the washing machine can be a simple and effective way to keep your child’s playthings clean and safe. By following these guidelines and precautions, you can ensure that the toys last longer and remain in good condition. Remember, regular cleaning not only keeps toys looking new but also helps to keep your child healthy by eliminating germs and bacteria.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I wash toys with batteries if I remove the batteries?
No, toys with batteries should not be washed in the washing machine even if the batteries are removed. The interior may still house electrical components that can be damaged by water. These toys should only be surface cleaned with a mild soap solution or a child-safe cleaner.
What if my toy doesn’t have a care label or manufacturer’s instructions?
If your toy doesn’t have a care label or manufacturer’s instructions, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Hand wash the toy using a mild soap solution and let it air dry.
Can I use regular laundry detergent to wash toys?
While regular laundry detergent can be used, it’s recommended to use a mild, non-toxic detergent that’s free from harsh chemicals. This ensures that the washed toys are safe for your child to play with.
What should I do if the toy is damaged after washing?
If the toy is damaged after washing, repair it if possible. If the damage is extensive and cannot be repaired, it may be safer to replace the toy to avoid any potential hazards.
Can I use bleach to sanitize the toys?
It’s not recommended to use bleach as it can be harsh and potentially harmful. Instead, use a mild, non-toxic detergent or a vinegar and water solution for sanitizing.