Chocolate stains on your son’s carseat. Grimy basketball nets. Slimy bath toys. This is the messy reality of parenting. Toys, especially the ones that your kids use frequently, will start to get so dirty that you’re half-afraid that there’s an alien colony breeding in your child’s room.
Here are some tips on how to launder toys and gear. What can you throw in the washing machine? Should you use hot or cold water? Read on and get everything sparking clean in a snap.
Bags and backpacks
You can toss diaper bags and your child’s backpack into the washing machine, if they aren’t multi-colored (the dyes can bleed). Don’t mix them with anything else. They should be put in the front loader, on the gentlest cycle, with cold water. Use all purpose detergent (read our article on making your own organic cleansers).
Tote bags and cloth purses can be washed in warm water, on delicate cycle. However, anything with sequins or embellishments needs to be handwashed.
Laptop and ipad cases that are made of canvas, nylon and microfiber can also be washed in warm water and all purpose detergent. However, don’t wash anything that contains padding: the foam inserts will suck up the water and will take forever to dry. The hidden moisture can also creep into your gadgets—oh no!
If your child’s come back from a camping trip or a sleepover, you probably want to clean his sleeping bag of any residue mud or pizza grease. Wash these in the front loader (definitely not the top loader, since the agitator will break up the delicate seams). Use a mild detergent, especially if you have a down sleeping bag that contains feathers. You can also toss them in the dryer, on the lowest heat setting.
Car seats and high chair covers
These can get really filthy, really fast, especially if your child is just learning to eat. No fear: throw them into the washer with warm water and one and a half capfuls of all purpose detergent. Dry on low for ten minutes before air-drying. Bye, bye mashed pea stains!
You can wash shoes made of canvas and leather, and even rubber shoes that have plastic embellishments. Just use cold water and all purpose detergent. To prevent the laces from getting caught up in the agitator, place them in mesh bags (or remove the laces and hand-wash separately). Dry on low for ten minutes before air-drying.
They can be cleaned with hot water, bleach and mild detergent. Drying or ironing them will further kill the germs.
You can get bath toys super-clean by tossing them in the washer with warm water and all-purpose detergent. Including a towel in the wash will help get rid of the slime, too. Plastic pools and floaties can be deflated and washed too, but use cold water.
Wash stuffed animals in cold water and mild detergent, using the gentlest setting. Dry on low for five minutes before air-drying.
Photo from euphoriababy.com