26 September 2007

How to Clean Toys Naturally


When reviewing our stats to see how people find Eco Child's Play, I've discovered that many parents are looking for ways to clean their children's toys naturally. I thought I would share a few of my tips with you for soft, wooden, or plastic (ugh) toys. My methods are gentle for the earth and your family, as I don't use harsh chemicals like bleach water, yet they may not kill viruses such as HIV and RSV.

Should plastic toys have crept into your home from well-meaning relatives, many of them can be cleaned in the top row of the dishwasher. This is the suggested method in a preschool curriculum I used to follow. This is a simple manner of cleaning them, but it may not lighten your impact on the earth. Washing them by hand in a sink full of soapy water may be a better option.

For wooden toys, I usually just wipe them with a damp rag to remove the dust. If other children have been over, and I am concerned about germs, I will wash them in a sink full of warm water and dish soap. I use Ecover Dishwashing Liquid, which I assume if it is safe enough for my children's dishes, it is safe enough for their toys. Wooden toys should never be soaked in water for long and should be dried immediately, otherwise the wood can swell and the grain may rise to the surface.

For plush toys, I use the hand washing gentle cycle on my washing maching. We have a Maytag Neptune, which is a front loading machine that uses very little energy and water. Even when our hydro is down, I am able to run the Maytag Neptune off two solar panels. Front loading machines are more gentle on items, and I have yet to have a plush toy fall apart when washed in cold water.

Just like every other aspect of cleaning your home, toys can be cleaned naturally. The best part about using natural cleaning products is you don't have to worry about your child being harmed while they help you. Have you seen those horrible images of a boy with terrible rash from a Mr. Clean Eraser Sponge?

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"Play is the highest form of research." -Albert Einstein