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Child Safety: Washing Toys to Prevent Germs

Topic Overview

Why it is important to clean toys and surfaces

Washing and disinfecting toys and surfaces helps reduce the spread of germs, especially in child care settings or other areas where many children are together.

Have a bin for dirty toys that is out of your child's reach. When a toy becomes dirty, such as after a child has played with it and put it in his or her mouth, put it in the bin. If you can't wash the toys right away, set them aside to wash later.

How to clean toys and surfaces

Clean

Scrubbing with soap and water effectively removes germs from surfaces. This method is recommended for surfaces where chemical disinfectants are not appropriate, such as some furniture.

Disinfect

When possible, toys and surfaces should also be disinfected. Dishwashers are a convenient and effective way to disinfect some toys. Chemicals such as ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and bleach are used to disinfect surfaces and objects. You can find a wide variety of products with varying ingredients. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions exactly as printed on the label.

Do not mix bleach with other liquids or cleaners because the mixture can produce a toxic gas. Bleach should be mixed only with water. Keep all chemicals out of reach of children.

Credits

Current as of: February 10, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
John Pope MD - Pediatrics

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