How To Clean Your Children's Toys

Cleaning your child's toys will help remove germs, soiling and prolong their life cycle. Different types of toys require different methods of cleaning, depending on their composition. Here we will share with you some cleaning tips for three common toy types - wooden, plastic and stuffed toys.

Cleaning Wooden Toys

For toys made of wood (including Plan Toys made of Planwood), use a damp cloth to carefully wipe away built up dirt and grime and then wipe dry with a smooth dry cloth. Cloths with rough surfaces should be avoided, particularly if your wooden toys have a painted or lacquered surface. Place the cleaned toys outside in the sun for a short period to sanitize. (Never leave your wooden toys outside for extended periods or expose them to inclement weather). For wooden toys that have a printed or lacquered surface, wipe dry with a smooth soft cloth only.

Wooden toy ice cream machine play setBunny rocker and bead frame wooden toy

Cleaning Plastic Toys

Ideally plastic toys should be cleaned weekly.

If your plastic toys are water-tight (sealed) and do not incorporate batteries or electronics they can be gently washed in warm water with a mild detergent and then carefully dried with a soft cloth. You can then place the cleaned plastic toys outside on a mild day for a short period to sanitize.

Never place your plastic toys in the dishwasher (unless recommended by the manufacturer). High temperatures reached by dishwashers can cause warping and shrinkage. Never leave your plastic toys outside for prolonged periods or directly expose them to the sun or inclement weather as this can cause warping, fading and structural damage.

For plastic toys that are not sealed or contain batteries and electronics, washing can result in permanent damage. Water or moisture trapped inside plastic toys may also promote the growth of mold or fungus. Plastic toys that are not watertight should never be immersed in water. To clean these types of toys use  a damp (not saturated) cloth to carefully wipe away built up dirt and grime and then wipe dry with a smooth dry cloth. Battery and electronic plastic toys should not be placed outside to sanitize.

Plastic toy bucket water play set

Cleaning Stuffed Toys

Stuffed Toys should be regularly cleaned as they can attract dust mites, the cause of some common allergies in children. Before cleaning your stuffed toys, manufacture sewn in labels should be checked for any specific care instructions. (Sewn in labels are usually located on the bottom of your stuffed toy). In the absence of manufactures recommended care instructions, we advise surface washing only, using a mild (non-toxic) soap and rinsing clean with cold water. To help return the fur on your stuffed toy to its former glory, it can then be carefully dried with a hair dryer using little or no heat. If you hang the toy on the washing line to dry instead of using a hair dryer you may find that the fur becomes stiff. Using a hair dryer on a cool setting helps to separate and fluff the toys fibers, reducing stiffness.

For significant soiling incidents that can not be resolved with surface washing, a gentle machine wash on a cool setting may be necessary. This should be a last resort care option. When machine washing is necessary we recommend placing your stuffed toy in a hosiery bag before placing in the washing machine. To help return the fur on your stuffed toy to its former glory after washing, it can then be carefully dried with a hair dryer using little or no heat to separate the fur fibers. The toy should then be hung for several days in a sheltered breezy area to solarize and completely air dry. Do not directly expose your soft toy to the sun or leave it outside for extended periods as this will result in material fade and fiber deterioration.

Gorilla soft stuffed toyBumbly toffee colored Jellycat bear soft toy