Babies interact with their environment through touching and tasting. However, as a parent it is crucial to guard them against the spread of germs and disease. When it comes to toys intended for a baby’s mouth, hygiene and safety are extremely important for parents, just like me.
When parents realise the amount of germs and bacteria toys can accumulate, the first question they will ask is how to clean toys. This is an even bigger problem for parents who have little babies whose immune systems are weaker and less developed.
CLEANING VS. DISINFECTING - WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
Before you begin cleaning your baby’s teething toys, it is important to understand the difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitising. Cleaning removes germs by using soap and water to wash away any surface dirt, however, disinfecting kills most germs on objects like baby toys and can stop germs from reproducing. It is important to remember that cleaning should always come before disinfection, you can do this by cleaning any visible dirt from a baby’s toy, then rinse with water and apply disinfectant.
HOW TO CLEAN TEETHING TOYS
1. BOILING HOT WATER
This is a traditional, tried and tested method, safe for the little ones. To kill the germs, boil the toys in water for about 5 minutes and allow the toys to cool completely before giving them back to the baby. This method works well for hardy plastic teething toys and wooden teething toys; however please check product labels and tags before attempting to boil toys to ensure the toys can withstand the heat without melting.
2. BAKING SODA AND WATER
Baking soda and water are also safe options. For this method, make and use a mixture of water and baking soda to clean or wipe any dirt off the toy. Once the toy is rinsed and cleaned, the teether can be used again by the baby.
3. WHITE VINEGAR AND WATER MIX
Although this option might not smell the best, it is one of the safest ways to sanitise teething toys for babies. To create a natural cleaning product add the same parts of water and white vinegar together. It will clean the toys without worrying about any toxic residue left for the baby to swallow. To sanitise toys using this process, simply add the vinegar and water mixture to the cloth and wipe the toy clean, or allow the teething toy to be washed in the mixing bowl before it is dried and returned to the little one.
Usually, it is not recommended to clean teething toys using a dishwasher. However, all of Matchstick Monkey Teethers are dishwasher safe. Yet, it is important to note that some dishwashers may leave unwanted soap that the baby could ingest, so make sure to double check the teething toy is thoroughly cleaned.
5. STEAM AND COLD WATER STERILISATION
An electric steam steriliser can also be used to kill any germs. Simply pour a small amount of water into the steriliser, put the cover and watch the water turn into steam! It should be noted that only some teething toys are suitable for sterilisation, however, all of Matchstick Monkey Teething Toys are suitable for steam and cold water sterilisation.
6. MATCHSTICK MONKEY TEETHING PRODUCTS WITH BIOCOTE®
At Matchstick Monkey, some of our teethers (such as the Mini Monkey Teether, the Animal Teethers and Monkey Teethers) all contain BioCote® Antimicrobial Technology. We add BioCote® during manufacturing of our teething products to prevent the growth of bacteria and microbes on the surface of the product.
BioCote® is not just a coating which can wear off, but it lasts for the entire time your little one will be using the teether - which is great news! However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean the product - yet it does allow the teether to be kept cleaner than other teething products.
Keeping everything clean is not easy and is often quite difficult. However, considering how much teething toys are handled by your child, it is crucial to take some time to clean and disinfect them whilst avoiding harsh chemicals such as bleach, as any remaining residue can be toxic. As parents, it is important to sanitise teething toys on a regular basis, so that your little one is kept healthy and happy!