Has your child's teddy bear attended one too many tea parties? Could those muddy action figures use a bath before returning to combat? Different playthings require different kinds of care, so follow our tips to prolong the life of your child's favorite toys.
Stuffed animals. When your child’s favorite lion, tiger, or bear gets dirty, place it in a lingerie bag or pillowcase that’s knotted shut and wash on gentle with a liquid laundry detergent in a fun, invigorating scent, such as Tide Gentle. If hand washing is recommended, wet a washcloth with water and mild soap, rub the fur gently, and wipe clean with a damp cloth. Tumble dry at medium heat, or allow to air-dry in the sun. And be sure that the stuffed toys dry completely, to prevent mildew from forming.
Wooden toys. Avoid soaking wooden items in water. Instead, wipe all trains, pull-toys, play fruit, and dollhouse pieces with a damp cloth, then dry well with a soft cloth. For stubborn marks, add a drop of dishwashing liquid to the cloth and rub gently before rinsing with a clean, damp cloth and drying.
Action figures. Gather action figures, pretend tools, and other plastic toys in a sink or tub filled with warm water and a few squirts of fresh-scented citrus liquid dish soap, Submerge toys and agitate for a few minutes, then rinse well and dry with a soft cloth or towel. Keep an old toothbrush on hand for scrubbing hard-to-clean crevices.
Vinyl dolls. To clean vinyl baby dolls and fashion dolls alike, gently rub with a damp cloth. Wash dirty tresses with shampoo, and tackle tangles with conditioner and a fine-tooth comb. For marker or crayon smudges on a doll’s skin, rub with a paste made from baking soda and a few drops of water, then rinse well and dry.
Tub toys. Every few weeks those rubber duckies and plastic submarines may need a scrub of their own. In a sink or tub filled with warm water and a few squirts of liquid dishwashing soap, agitate the toys and rub clean with a soft cloth, then rinse well and allow to air-dry. If mold is present, scrub the toys with kosher salt and a bristle brush, and then soak overnight in a bucket filled with water and vinegar. In the morning, simply rinse and dry the toys in preparation for their next splashdown.