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I am sure every mama has experienced it, when you give your child a nice shiny new toy and instantly it is covered in mud/food/juice/slobber/poop, and all that you can do is sigh at the mess, because you know it's not worth your time trying to immediately clean that no longer shiny new toy. I usually just hold my breath and count to ten, telling myself that it doesn't have to be perfect because it's not MINE, it's HIS! Once a year (or maybe every 3 months really), it's time for Spring cleaning again, and there is one area that I always seem to forget when I am cleaning the rest of the house…those dirty food encrusted toys that my child leaves lying ALL OVER THE PLACE!!!
Start by cleaning up the room first
It's time to clean all of those toys, but how do you do it when there are SO MANY that have accumulated over time? I broke mine down into toy types to make things easier. Before we begin, you should probably start by cleaning the bedroom with the help of your kids, of course! This entire process is kid friendly so get them involved! Put everything in its place, make the beds, throw away all of the accumulated trash, remove the dishes, and vacuum their room. When the room itself is clean when you start this project, it makes for a much easier time.
Wooden toys need special care and attention. They are usually made and built to last for year and year, but only if you take care of them properly. You should NEVER completely submerge or soak wooden toys, and they should NEVER go into the dishwasher. Be sure to avoid bleach and other harsh cleaners as they will destroy the wood. There are two different ways that you can clean the wooden toys:
- All-Purpose Vinegar Cleaner – 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water. Vinegar is a natural disinfection and kills 99% of bacteria, 82% mold, and 80% germs. You can optionally add 10 drops Lavender essential oil or 10 drops lemon essential oil .
- All-Purpose Castile Soap Cleaner – 1/4 cup liquid castile soap to 1 quart of water and put it in a spray bottle. You can optionally add 10 drops Lavender essential oil or 10 drops lemon essential oil OR use Dr. Bronner's citrus castile soap that is already scented with essential oils!
After cleaning wood toys, they also need to be wax or oiled so that they do not lose all of their moisture, dry out, and crack. You can use coconut oil or a beeswax to do this. By taking care of your wooden toys, you can help them to live for years and years after they are played with.
PLASTIC FIGURINES/PLASTIC TOYS THAT CAN GET WET/BATHTUB TOYS
This one is REALLY SIMPLE!!!!! Put all of these toys into the dishwasher, pour 2 cups of vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher and run it on wash! It's that EASY! If you feel they need a little bit MORE than that, then add equal parts washing soda and baking soda into your soap container (or add your automatic dishwasher soap to the soap dispenser)
STUFFED ANIMALS AND OTHER STUFFED TOYS
If a spot cleaning is all that the stuffed toy needs, then lightly spray the stuffed toy and wipe down with an old wash cloth. You should set it out in the sunshine to further disinfect and dry out. Make sure that they are dry all the way through so that mold and bacteria does not grow inside of the stuffed animal. If they need more than a spot cleaning, you can put them in pillow cases and throw them into the washing machine with natural homemade laundry soap and even some vinegar during the rinse cycle (I always add it to the spot that the laundry softener is supposed to go), as long as all of your stuffed animals do not have any batteries in them nine times out of ten they come out perfectly fine. You can dry them in the dryer, but on a low setting if you do.