Spring Cleaning

Whether or not the Groundhog sees his shadow, you may be starting to think about spring, and spring cleaning.

According to eHow.com, you can place hard, non-electronic plastic toys in the dishwasher. Running plastic toys through the dishwasher on the top shelf will disinfect toys. Opt for the sanitize mode on your dishwasher if possible. Smaller plastic toys can be put in a lingerie bag before placing them on the top shelf. Because of the high heat in the dishwasher, they do not need a bleach solution.

Alternately, wash hard, plastic toys in mild soap and water with a scrub brush. Rinse well. Then, soak the toys in a mild bleach solution (1 tbsp. bleach to each gallon of water) for 10 to 20 minutes to disinfect them. Rinse well, and allow the toys to dry.

To disinfect the surfaces of plastic or other hard items, make a bleach solution of 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of clean, cool water. Wash the surface areas of the toys, tables or play areas with this solution, and then rinse with clean water to remove the remnants of the bleach solution and let dry.

Place small stuffed or plush toys in the washing machine at least once a week with a mild detergent unless the cleaning instructions state that the toy should be surface cleaned only. Be sure to choose a hot water cycle. Air dry or tumble dry.

For larger stuffed animals, place in an airtight bag and let it sit for several days. If there are any bugs or mites in the toys, the lack of oxygen will kill them. You can also throw bigger stuffed animals in the dryer on the hot cycle before placing them in the bag to speed up the process.

To clean wooden toys, use a solution of 10 parts water to 1 part bleach. The toy should be wiped down with a damp rag soaked in the solution. Dry the toy immediately to avoid having the wood absorb excess moisture.

Beverly Schuckert, RN, BSN
Assistant Nurse Manager

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