How to: Keep toys clean and tidy

How to: Keep toys clean and tidy

A custom banquette with built-in storage serves as the perfect place to tuck away toys. Author: Stacey Brandford


How to: Keep toys clean and tidy

Follow these tips and tricks for sanitizing children’s playthings and managing the clutter.

Though likely not eager to admit it, many parents don’t wash their children’s toys as often as they should. And who can blame them? These items are typically in such a state of disarray that it’s easier to shut the door (or storage bin lid) and look the other way. When it comes to kids’ toys, cleanliness and order go hand in hand, so find an organizing system that works for your child. Try categorizing by type of activity or colour and use written or photo labels. The key is to incorporate tidying into the daily routine in a playful yet consistent way. As a general rule, all toys should be cleaned about once a month, with additional cleansing when your child is recovering from an illness, after a play date or if a particular item has been soiled.


Child's-eye view
Try to see things from your children’s perspectives. since kids’ reach is quite restricted, arrange their best-loved toys near ground level and less popular items higher up. Also, use closed storage to keep the majority of their playthings out of sight; limiting their options will minimize the mess. Regularly rotate what’s visible and hidden.

Contain the chaos
Creating a dedicated play space is essential to maintaining an orderly home. if you can’t spare an entire room, carve out a corner of, say, your living room, delineating it with a bookshelf and rug.

What's your type?
We break down how to clean toys by material

  • Plastic, rubber and silicone: Most can be cleaned safely in the dishwasher on the water-only cycle. Use the top rack and corral small pieces in a mesh laundry bag.
  • Plush: A hand-wash with warm water and dish soap is always safe. Many polyfilled toys can handle machine washing, but follow label instructions. Between washings, remove dust with a vacuum.
  • Wood: Wood has antibacterial properties, so a good wipe with a clean cloth dipped in white vinegar is sufficient
Check it before you wreck it
Take extra caution when cleaning toys that feature delicate details (such as hair) or electronic components (like batteries and music boxes).

Do's and don'ts
Do: Check labels before purchasing new playthings; choose those that are easier to clean.

Don't: Forget to regularly audit the playroom. Toss out broken toys and donate those in good repair that your child has outgrown.


Be wise: Sanitize
Keep germs at bay with one of these kid-safe spray disinfectants.

1 Doctor approved
A dermatologist and pedistrician-tested fomula made just for little ones. Babyganics Fragrance-free Toy & Highchair cleaner, 500 mL, Bed Bath & Beyond, $6.

2 Multi-purpose
Spray toys, skin or even air to naturaly sanitize; no need to wipe dry. Germs Away mist, 120 mL, Graydon, $15.

3 Made in Canada
This locally made product is vegan and carcinogen-free. Frangrance-free Toy & Surface cleaner, 475 mL, Attitude, $10.


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How to: Keep toys clean and tidy