Best way to clean toys at school, nursery etc?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 11-08-2005, 01:04 AM - Thread Starter
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I am concerned about the use of clorox wipes to clean all the toys at our church nursery. While I appreciate them being cleaned to help reduce the spread of germs. Especially toys that go into the mouths of toddlers. I questioned the director and she said it is safe. I cant help but think there is a residue of the bleach and other chemicals on the toys. Does anyone have any info on this type of thing.

Also they are considering getting play food for the kitchen sets in the toddler room. Kids putting the food in their mouth is a big concern. They WILL do that so it is a matter of what material (wood or plastic) will be a better choice for cleanability and good quality. I would love some feedback on this.

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#2 of 8 Old 11-08-2005, 01:19 AM
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I run a kids after school arts program. We have many different ages and the younger ones tend to play with the toys much of the time. The way I clean them is to put them in a big plastic tub and poor boiling hot soapy water over them and swish it around. As soon as it's cool enough to put my hands in, I get in there and sort of wash in the hard to get places and any place that looks like it's getting dirty.

A little bit of germs wont kill them and is probably OK but I can only handle a little before they get the big wash. I use a biodegradable soap. The same that I wash my dishes with. I prefer wooden toys but they are expensive so we do have some plastic. The wood cleans up as good as the plastic.
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#3 of 8 Old 11-08-2005, 02:20 AM
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I've heard that tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant. You can buy spray bottles of it at places on the internet such as:

or you could probably just make your own in a spray bottle and give it to the nursery workers every month to use. Google tea tree oil and you will find lots of info you could share with the church leaders.

As for cleaning play food, I just put in the dishwasher on a not hot wash. Regular wash, not hot, because the plastic is compromised if it is washed with hot, hot water and becomes toxic. I got a lingerie cleaning bag from the market, the kind you wash your bras in, and use it for the really little things (top rack).

As for wood toys, do you need to wash wood toys? Wouldn't it ruin the wood? I have no clue.
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#4 of 8 Old 11-08-2005, 05:54 AM
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When I worked at preschools we sprayed clorox water, very diluted on tables, chairs etc. It does evaporate fairly quickly so much so that the water is spose to be chnaged on a daily basis. This is a state mandat to do this. I worked in one place where they had a flat sort of dishwasher tray that you could place otys on and run them thru the dishwasher that was convenient.
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#5 of 8 Old 11-08-2005, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info so far. The church has considered buying a small dishwasher just for the nursery area. The diswasher in the kitchen is huge and wouldnt be cost efficient to run a few toys thru. At what temperature does the heat make the toys toxic? Anyone have a link to info about that topic. We couldnt run wooden foods thru a dishwasher, correct? Still trying to decide between wooden and plastic play foods.

So, pp do u think the current method they are using of clorox wipes is safe and not leaving residue on the toys?

Thanks again
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#6 of 8 Old 11-08-2005, 11:53 AM
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The bleach dissapates quickly. If they do use bleach, I wouldn't want them to use when the children were there. But there is no harm to a child picking up a toy that was wiped clean with bleach a week ago. Or even a day ago.

Bleach is used because it's effective and cheap.

Washing toys in a dishwasher is also effective. but not always available .

A toy that a kid sneezed on and left in a damp church basement is going to be disgusting. The thought makes me crazy. And water table toys--ick ick ick. If those are not cleaned and the water changed the same day--ewwww.
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#7 of 8 Old 11-09-2005, 01:16 AM
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Regular bleach does dissipate quickly. But, I don't know what all is in those Clorox wipes. I bought them once (I was seriously grossed out because we discovered we'd had a rat *shudder* in our kitchen and wanted to clean everything...) The canister said that if they were used on food preperation surfaces, the surface needed to be rinsed afterward. I don't know what, other than bleach, is in them, but I wouldn't use them on things that will be chewed on. I would rather use real bleach diluted in water.
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#8 of 8 Old 11-09-2005, 02:14 AM
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gosh, I'll try to look around for them, but we use some wipes in my district that are "safe" (honestly, I have not looked at the ingredients list, so don't hold your breath). They are approved anyway, by some unknown group of them that approves things for kids and they have been substituted for the bleach wipes. I'll see if I can get my hands on a container for you.
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