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Flu season is coming, whether we like it or not. This means that it will soon be time for flu shots, more consistent hand washing, and a scrub down of all the toys in the house. I like to wash toys twice a year, before flu season and after. There’s never a wrong time to do it, though. Especially if you have little boys or girls that like to leave food on the play table or dump milk into inconspicuous containers. Round up the toys, turn on the hot water, and grab some bleach or dish soap.
I clean up my kitchen, counters, and island before beginning. It’s a clean-up day, so expect to clean. If you don’t have as much counter space as I do, clear off a table and whatever counter you have. I lay out several linen dishcloths on the clean surfaces, and fill a plastic tub with hot water in the sink. I like to add about two capfuls of bleach, but I think dish soap works fine, too.
Throw some toys in. Make sure they are all at least covered with the water. Leave the toys in the hot water and soap/bleach for some time. I like to work on laundry or dust while Sergio’s toys are being cleaned. When I return to the toys, I pull them out and rinse them, finally laying them on the dishcloths to dry. This way takes some time because it usually must be done in several batches.
Make sure you are not adding battery-operated toys into the water without removing the batteries. Books and iPads should also be wiped off, and play-doh (one of my favorite toys but probably a trap for bacteria) should be tossed. Put some more play-doh on the Christmas list if it’s a bit hit with your family.
When the toys are dry, toss them into their designated baskets. At this point you can organize the toys, put some aside for future rotation, and toss out broken toys or sets that are missing crucial pieces. I love these baskets for toy storage because they are made from natural resources, are easy to wash and dry (I like to dry baskets in the sun), and are perfect for easy clean-up (just scoop everything into one basket if you want the floor picked up in a hurry).
No matter the kind of toys your child likes, they should be cleaned in some fashion a few times a year. Remember to use HOT water, and rinse well, especially if you are using bleach. Good luck this flu season!