Cleaning for your baby can be very stressful, especially for first time parents. Here are a few tips on how to clean the most commonly used items in a nursery room.
Hard Plastic Toys
Most hard plastic toys that do not have an electronic component or delicate items are machine washable or dishwasher safe. They are perhaps the easiest to sanitize. When using a dishwasher, make sure the toys are on the top rack. If possible, select the sanitizing cycle in the dishwasher. This way, the toys are exposed to high heat, which is one of the most effective ways of killing bacteria and viruses. Caution: the toys will be very hot after the cleaning cycle, so please remember to let them cool down before handing them to your baby.
Soft Plastic and Rubber Toys
Soft plastic and rubber can melt in high heat. Therefore, dishwasher is not an option for sanitizing these toys. Several disinfecting methods to consider are: rubbing alcohol, soapy water and UVC sanitizers. Soapy water is a good way to remove dust and dirt, but requires the longest drying time comparing to the other cleaning methods. When using liquid rubbing alcohol on toys, dilute the alcohol with water to mix a 50/50 solution. Spray the solution on the toys and wipe them down. Let the toys air dry before giving them back to your kid. If you are pressed for time, then the quickest way to sanitize these toys would be to use a UV sanitizing wand. The wand uses ultraviolet light to attack the genetic material of viruses and bacteria, and the sanitizing process usually takes less than a minute. No heat or chemical is used during this process. Therefore, right after you finish sanitizing the toys, your baby can play with them again immediately.
Bedding and Mattress
Infants and toddlers spend half of the day or more sleeping in their crib, so it is important to keep their bedding and mattress fresh and clean. Bedding should be laundered once a week, or immediately after an “accident”, such as a diaper overflow, excessive drooling or throw-up. To clean the mattress, let’s start with a vacuum. First, vacuum the top of the mattress and underneath it, to clean up any loose debris: hair, biscuit crumbs, dust etc. Then, if your baby’s mattress is waterproof, simply wipe it down with baby wipes or alcohol wipes. If it is not waterproof, you can use a mixed solution of ½ tsp. dish soap, ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide, and ¾ cup water. Spray the solution on the mattress or use a soft cloth dipped in the solution to wipe down the mattress. Let it air dry before putting the bedding back on.
The diaper pail is a breeding ground for bacteria. Here are a few tips to keep bacteria growth and the unpleasant odor under control. Take the trash out every other day even if the bag is not full. Sprinkle some baking soda at the bottom of the diaper pail or put the baking soda in the bag. After your little one gives you an extra pungent dirty diaper, you can sprinkle a bit more baking soda in the bin with the diaper. To clean the diaper pail: bring it outside and spray it down with a hose. Scrub it with soap and water or use bleach if necessary. During the hot summer, you can open up the diaper pail and leave it under the sun for a few hours. The high heat and UV radiation from the sun will keep the germs at bay, as well as the smell.
First, check the labels. The cleaning instructions will vary depending on whether the stuffed animals have delicate parts, the materials, or the size. (Think Costco’s giant 93” teddy bear) If the instructions advise against machine washing, then spot clean toys with laundry detergent and water. However, if a stuffed animal gets too dirty, you might want to consider taking the risk and use the washing machine to sanitize it. Some toys will turn out fine despite the warning.