Go Green with Toy Cleaning: Natural Disinfectant Ideas
Leave out those toxic disinfectants when cleaning your children’s toys such as bleach and detergent. Formulate your own concoction of cleaning substances the natural way that is safe and effective in getting rid of microbes that could harm your child. We will guide you to making your own eco-friendly, safe and non-toxic natural disinfectants to clean your children’s toys, kid’s furniture and entire house with.
There is this 360 turn with the way things were when I was a child. Everything has to be spotless and cleaning using the latest in disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizers. That’s not to say we weren’t clean 30 years back, but we weren’t as fussy over it. I do believe also that my mother probably didn’t have aisles of cleaning products available to her at the local grocery store either. We have become a ‘freaky squeaky clean world‘.
Yes everything should be childproof to ensure that harm is out of the baby’s way however many people still use toxic and poisonous chemicals to clean their baby’s toys but really, these should be kept out of reach not only for children but also for their toys.
Children especially toddlers can’t do away with their toys being put in their mouths. They are known to be “little explorers”. They explore objects that they find attractive like toys by picking them up and putting them in their mouths. This is because the mouth is the center of gratification in children.
Making sure everything on the child’s path is clean is indeed a very painstaking job. You don’t want those microbes to get into your child’s body so you grab a bottle of bleach and start soaking your child’s toys in it thinking that it would get you the job done. Bleach or anything that may contain traces of bleach may give the toy a squeaky clean look but is it safe enough for your child to play with?
You may want to think twice about using bleach and other damaging products like detergents around the house that could be harmful for your child. You may also want to think of the costs of purchasing toy cleaners that claim to have natural ingredients that are safe for toys and children. Although not advertised as bleach, many commercial and off the shelf detergents are very toxic.
While bleach may clean everything in the house, it is imperative to keep in mind that it is not safe on children’s toys or anywhere near where a baby or child plays or sleeps.
Bleach vs. Vinegar.
Vinegar is nature’s disinfectant. Natural, inexpensive and non-toxic and it’s my go to cleaning aid, not only for children’s toys but for my entire house (even washing my clothes, and no our clothes don’t smell like vinegar). The history of its use as an effective disinfectant dates back to that of Hippocrates’ time. He used it for cleaning wounds. Further modern research has proven that vinegar indeed is a potent disinfectant.
Sophie the Giraffe is full of mildew.
Teethers and other plastic and wooden toys can be cleaned by mixing a cup of water and a cup of distilled white vinegar. You may want to place the mixture in an empty spray bottle. To clean your child’s toy, simply spray the mixture onto a clean cloth and rub it on the surface of the toy. Although the smell usually vanishes after it dries on the toy, you may still want to ensure that the your child doesn’t taste the vinegar by rinsing it with water. Unless of course, if your child has a thing for sauerkraut.
A More Powerful Clean
Most plush toys come with instructions on how to properly wash them. But for heavily stained or soiled toys, adding baking soda into 3 cupfuls of vinegar would do the trick. Just make sure the fabric of the toy is made either of cotton or polyester. Tumble dry afterwards on low.
Don’t get yourself shocked by electricity. It is fairly understandable to remove batteries and unplug power cords from power outlets before cleaning the toy. Also make sure that the cloth is not too wet when wiped on the surface of the toy. Moisture could build up from inside the toy and eventually could lead it to being thrown into the garbage. Keep in mind that vinegar has strong acidity levels that could corrode major electrical wiring that keep the toy functioning.
The polar teddy bear is no longer as white as its habitat. It probably has been playing out in the mud for a long time. Give that ecru polar teddy bear a break.
Sprinkle it with lemon juice and hang it out in the sun to dry.
A tip to minimize the strong odor the vinegar gives off. You may want to add some herbs like rosemary that can naturally be found in the garden into the diluted vinegar mixture to neutralize the vinegar strong smell. Adding lavender oil should also do the trick.
“Brew” it with Tea Tree
Tea tree oil, also known as Maleleuca, is derived from the Melaleuca alternafolia plant in Australia. It is known to have germicidal and antibacterial properties, a natural disinfectant to clean your kids toys. Plus, the smell of tea tree is invigorating giving off a fresh and clean smell. Simply add 5-10 drops of tea tree oil to warm water. Wipe it on the toy. Rinse afterwards then wipe dry. Voila- clean and fresh-smelling toy, the best way to clean toys naturally and safely without using any commercial products.
V for Vodka (for cleaning!)
You heard it right. Vodka. I know what you are thinking, “Did she just say vodka for cleaning?” and secondly “isn’t vodka an alcohol?”. Yes and Yes. I know it may seem surreal but it’s true but what you must understand is that we are not saying to clean with alcohol, we are saying to clean with vodka only.
Many people use vodka as a natural cleaning spray around the house, to clean toys, bathrooms, kitchen bench tops and mirrors. Vodka is a natural disinfectant and a great way to clean the non-toxic way. The real challenge there is: Is vodka the same as alcohol? The answer is no. Alcohol contains a compound known as isopropyl, which leaves behind a trace of whitish residue when it dries which is not what we want so don’t go ahead and start wiping everything with alcohol as this is not what we are saying.
Cleaning around the house naturally with Vodka as a natural disinfectant, on the other hand, contains distilled ethyl, which comes from fermenting sugars with yeast and kills off germs instantly on anything. Ethanol is commonly found in alcoholic beverages. And Vodka is an alcoholic beverage. The strong alcohol content in Vodka makes it a suitable ingredient in most sanitizers, making it a perfect disinfectant. Simply pour the vodka in a spray bottle with some water and you’re good to go. Spray it on almost any plastic toy surface. Wipe it down afterwards with a clean cloth to remove any residue.
Cleaning your child’s toys need not to be expensive and tedious. You don’t even need those short trips to the grocery store to get the job done. Just be creative and let Mother Nature help you find the solution.