Toys are extremely important to your baby’s development as playing with them is the first learning curve they come across. Be it building blocks, a doll, or a stuffed animal, they teach a baby so many wonderful skills that will help them in countless ways. Kids are natural explorers, everything is new and they're eager to learn. And as we all know this process of investigation involves a lot of touching and well, tasting.
Toys accumulate a variety of nasty things over time; from dust, to grease to horrible bacteria. If not cleaned timely, these things can be quite worrisome. Besides, even if you do clean them regularly are you ensuring that the products you use aren’t leaving any toxic residue? But don’t worry there are ways to be sure that you’re keeping your child safe from horrible pathogens and terrible toxins.
First things first, you need to be sure what you’re bringing home doesn't have these chemicals lurking in them - phthalates and cadmium.
Phthalates are most commonly found in soaps and everyday cleaning products, which makes your cleaning products just as harmful. It is linked to various diseases and hormonal problems. In the case of toys, they’re often used to soften plastic to make it flexible. If these products are exposed to heat, and your child happens to put them in their mouth, there is a slight chance phthalate will be ingested.
Cadmium is present in a lot of kids’ toys because it is mixed with paint and plating of toys. Cadmium is also a known carcinogen and can hinder the growth of a child’s brain.
There are many reasons why such harmful chemicals go into your child’s toy, it can range from cost effectiveness to difference in international laws when it comes to the use of certain ingredients - what may be illegal in India might not be so in say, Indonesia. And if the toys are imported, no one can know for sure what has gone into them. This information gap, along with safety and the idea of sustainability is the reason why 21st-century parents should seriously think about switching to eco-friendly habits and baby safe cleaners right from the word go. Investing in eco-friendly toys for your child is the best way to ensure they aren’t exposed to harmful substances.
Coming back to cleaning, let’s see how often you should be washing your baby’s toys.
Depending on the kind of toy it is, the material, and how often it is touched or chewed on, should you consider the frequency? If they’re made of plastic, wood, or your baby’s favourite rubber duck, make it a once in a week affair. If they are lying on the floor a lot or are chewed on often, 1-2 days is a necessity. Now we know those stuffed toys and their special nighttime blanket can take ages to dry, and we’d hate to see their sad faces when they can’t find their favourite teddy even for a day, so we suggest you clean them once every 2 weeks at most. Unless of course teddy takes a long trip outside the house in which case, it is due for an instant bath.
Wooden Toys / Eco-Friendly Toys
Your building blocks or rocking horse are often made of natural wood, and we always prefer them over plastic for various reasons
However, cleaning toys made from wood needs care. You don’t want to get the wood too wet, as it can warp as it dries out. Also wood is a porous material, so moisture can get trapped and become a source of mould and can eventually start rotting. They should be wiped down with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water, left for a few minutes. Use a damp cloth instead of rinsing it directly.
Koparo’s Chemical Free All-Purpose Cleaner also works wonders on wood and doesn’t spoil it. A spray of the cleaner and a good wipe with a cloth will clean those wooden toys well.
Fabric toys can take ages to dry but they’re also the ones that can easily collect an alarming amount of dust. Always check the label of the stuffed toy regarding what to use while cleaning, to ensure you only expose it to the materials mentioned. Some will go through the laundry and others won’t.
If they can be washed in your machine, use a soft laundry detergent for the same. If not then follow these steps
- You’ll require a microfibre towel and Koparo’s Natural Dishwashing Liquid and some water
- Dip your towel in a solution of 10-15 drops of natural dish soap and warm water.
- Nicely scrub the toy with the wet towel, ensure every nook gets addressed. Rinse out the cloth, dip in solution and scrub until the entire area of the toy gets cleaned.
- Leave out in the sun to airdry
Bath Toys or Silicon And Rubber Toys
Bath toys, as the name goes require a regular bath of their own. For starters, it’s constantly exposed to moisture which means the rubbery material commonly used in bath toys is prone to mould and other icky build-ups.
Fill a bucket with hot water and some Baby Safe Dishwashing Liquid, and leave them to soak for an hour. Scrub with a dish brush, rinse well and leave out to air dry.
Ensure the toy is switched off and the battery is removed. Use the Natural All-Purpose Cleaner and spray it on a microfibre cloth. Use the dampened cloth and wipe the toy well.
You can use a cotton swab to reach all those tiny crevices where dust and germs may accumulate. Wait at least 10-15 minutes, until the toy is completely dry, to reinsert the batteries.
Now that the toys are all clean, let the playtime continue with joy!