Child Safety: Washing Toys to Prevent Germs

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Topic Overview

Why it is important to clean toys and surfaces

Washing and disinfecting toys and surfaces helps reduce the spread of germs.

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


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.


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.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Thomas M. Bailey, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics

Current as ofApril 18, 2016