woman cleaning wooden baby toys with cleaning concentrates

How to Clean & Disinfect Baby Toys With Natural Products

Last Updated: May 5, 2022

You can’t escape germs entirely, but you can make sure your baby’s toys are as clean as possible. The best part is it’s way easier than you think! Learn how to clean baby toys naturally with our quick and easy guide.

Fact: Baby toys get dirty and germ-infested way too easily. And because babies love to put anything and everything into their mouths, it’s important to keep their toys super clean and to disinfect ‘em regularly — and naturally!

Need a few pointers? We’re here for you. Read on for answers to commonly asked questions, toy cleaning tips and tricks, plus our three favorite cleaning and disinfecting methods so your little one can play safely and germ-free.

Illustration of two orange gloves to wear while cleaning baby toys.

Things you'll need to clean and disinfect baby toys:

How to clean and disinfect baby toys

Illustration of water drops

How to clean baby toys by boiling

This method is ideal for toys that come into contact with your baby’s mouth because it doesn’t require any cleaning products. The beauty is in simplicity with this one: the water simply boils away any germs and bacteria that are present, leaving your tot’s toys clean and germ-free.

Keep in mind that soft plastic toys are not suitable for this method. You can however, boil items like pacifiers, hard plastic toys, silicone toys, baby bottles, and other items that won’t start to melt or release chemicals when heated.

How to do it:

  • Step 1: Boil a large pot of water.
  • Step 2: Turn off the heat and submerge the toys.
  • Step 3: Wait for 5-10 minutes before removing toys with tongs or a similar utensil.
  • Step 4: Place on a cooling rack and air dry before use.
Illustration of washing machine

How to clean baby toys in the dishwasher

This method is perfect after a long hard day! It works for all non-electronic toys, especially hard plastic toys that are heat-resistant like toy cars and plastic blocks. Be sure to use a natural dishwashing detergent to prevent any harsh chemicals from getting onto the toys.

How to do it:

  • Step 1: Place the toys in a mesh bag to ensure they don’t slip down through the rack.
  • Step 2: Place the bag on the top rack of the dishwasher to minimize the effects of the water’s heat.
  • Step 3: Wash on normal cycle (preferably the sanitize cycle), using only a small amount of dish detergent.
Illustration of a washing machine

How to clean baby toys in the washing machine

This method is ideal for plush, stuffed toys. You can also wash hard plastic toys that are small in size as long as you put them in a mesh bag, pillowcase, or something similar to ensure they don’t rattle around inside the barrel of the machine. Don’t forget to check any labels for specific instructions before washing.

How to do it:

  • Step 1: Check the labels on toys for specific care instructions.
  • Step 2: Place the toys in the machine with a bit of natural laundry detergent.
  • Step 3: Wash and dry on a normal cycle.
  • Step 4: For extra safety, pad the machine drums with towels.

Baby toy cleaning tips & tricks

Can you use vinegar to disinfect baby toys?

Don’t get us wrong, vinegar is a wonderful multi-purpose cleaner, largely due to its acidic properties, and we recommend it for almost everything. As a disinfectant though, it has limited effectiveness — ergo, it’s not a great way to clean baby toys because there’s a risk you could leave behind a host of unwanted ickiness.

How do you clean baby toys with batteries?

Unlike other toys, toys with battery packs can’t be submerged in water. The easiest way to clean a battery operated toy is with the help of a natural disinfecting wipe. You can also make a cleaning solution using water and a small amount of dish soap, and use a washcloth dipped in this solution to scrub the toy clean.

How do you disinfect wooden baby toys?

Wood is naturally antibacterial, but it is also porous. That means that while it repels bacteria all on its own, it could still absorb dirt and other grime. If the toy is super dirty, wipe it down with a couple drops of natural dish soap in warm water and a microfiber cloth. Natural disinfecting wipes are another great way to clean toys, plus they’re easy and convenient to use.

Are disinfectant wipes safe for babies?

Natural disinfectant wipes are a great choice for baby toys because they don’t contain harsh ingredients or gnarly chemicals. Look for disinfectant wipes that use plant-based and eco-friendly ingredients, as they’ll be the gentlest on your wee one’s favorite toys.

Looking for more cleaning how-tos and other sustainable swaps you can make at home with little ones around? Grove has you covered with our buying and cleaning guides. And let us know how if you have any cleaning questions (or share your own tips using #grovehome) by following Grove Collaborative on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

If you're ready to take on germs, shop Grove Collaborative's cleaning essentials for the cleaning tools to tackle the job and keep the kids safe.

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Ready to tackle the dirtiest spots in your home? Grove Collaborative has you covered with Clean Team. Each week, we’ll do a deep dive into how to clean a different place or item in your home. No spot is too small — and we’ll tell you how to conquer them all, naturally.