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The wide range of items and materials used in toys makes all-encompassing advice impossible, but Don Aslett, author of The Cleaning Encyclopedia: Your A to Z Illustrated Guide to Cleaning Like the Pros, offers the following simple guideline when shopping for toys: “If it’s not cleanable, don’t give it to a kid.”


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Buy only machine-washable stuffed toys; some carry a label marked “all new material.” If anything on the toy is long enough to get twisted in the agitator, first place the item in a mesh bag. An old pillowcase will also achieve the same purpose if tied loosely at the open end.


Many plastic and flexible rubber or vinyl toys can be cleaned and disinfected in the top rack of a dishwasher. Use plenty of warm water, hand dishwashing liquid and a sponge to clean such toys by hand. Rinse completely and allow to dry. Abrasive pads and strong or gritty cleaners can damage many such toys. Use an old toothbrush gently instead.


Items that cannot be immersed in water — anything that runs on batteries or is made of wood, for example — should be wiped clean with a soft, damp cloth. Add a few drops of rubbing alcohol to remove any marks or tough stains.



Additional references:

Consumer Reports editors, How to Clean and Care for Practically Anything

Jeff Bredenberg, editor, Clean It Fast, Clean It Right: The Ultimate Guide to Making Everything You Own Sparkle & Shine


Toys:  Created on November 3rd, 2009.  Last Modified on November 3rd, 2009


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