Properly cleaning and sanitizing toys in a daycare center is extremely important to keep staff and children safe. Toys that are played with and chewed, sneezed, and slobbered on by young children should be cleaned frequently to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria that can lead to illness, especially in young children whose immune systems aren’t strong enough to fight off infections.
In its most recent blog, the facility supplies experts at A.G. Maas, one of the Midwest’s largest and most reputable janitorial and furnishing supply companies, discuss tips for properly sanitizing toys in a daycare.
How to Clean and Sanitize Toys in Childcare Settings
Almost all toys can be washed by hand, and some can also be cleaned in the dishwasher or washing machine. In the following section, we’ll discuss how to clean different types of toys.
Cleaning Plastic Toys
Plastic toys such as Legos and figurines make up a large part of any daycare’s toy selection. When hand washing plastic toys, be sure to scrub them with soap or detergent and warm water to remove grime, saliva, and dirt. This should be done thoroughly to remove germs. The next step is to rinse the toys of germs, dirt, and soap to create a clean surface.
It’s important to take the final step of sanitizing and disinfecting toys before they are available for children to play with again. Sanitizers are a great way to reduce and kill germs to levels that are considered safe. You can dilute about a half-cup of bleach (per gallon of water) or a non-toxic sanitizer in warm water in the sink and let the toys soak for about five minutes before rinsing and drying. You can also consider adding a half-cup of chlorine bleach to your dishwasher and cleaning and sanitizing them during the cycle.
Cleaning and Sanitizing Porous Toys
Porous toys such as wooden blocks, board books, and wooden kitchen toys can’t be submerged in water or soaked in cleaning or disinfecting solutions. Although the process will be quite different for cleaning and sanitizing these types of toys, the results should be the same.
First, wipe the toys thoroughly with a hot, soapy cloth. You can also use a toothbrush to dig out any visible dirt and grime in between crevasses. After the toys have completely dried, wipe them with a cloth dipped in a non-toxic sanitizing solution, following the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding how much solution to use. Then use a clean cloth or paper towel and clean water to remove the sanitizer.
Cleaning Fabric Toys
You can clean fabric toys such as stuffed animals by washing them in a hot water cycle in the washing machine and then drying them in the dryer. You can use a sanitizer in the washing machine.
When to Sanitize Toys in Daycares
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed guidelines for when daycare toys should be cleaned throughout the day. Toys should always be cleaned at the end of each day, but most toys should be cleaned according to the following schedule:
It’s highly recommended that cloth toys only be used by one child at a time, or not at all. Be sure to disinfect toys before they are used by another child.
Before and After
A toy which is shared by a group of infants and toddlers should be cleaned before and after it’s used.
If a toy is coughed or sneezed on, or placed in a child’s mouth, it should be cleaned immediately.
Contact A.G. Maas for Cleaning Supplies for Your Daycare Center
Keeping your daycare toys clean is one of the most important functions to keeping staff and children safe and healthy. If you’re struggling to keep your daycare center stocked with the right amount of cleaning supplies, contact A.G. Maas today. We can perform a facility audit to determine the right amount of cleaning supplies and have them delivered to your business regularly to ensure you never run out of what you need.