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Late last year, my husband and I watched a Netflix Documentary called ‘The Human Experiment’ which showed how bad chemicals can be in our lives and how they have got into our homes without us thinking twice about it. Since then, I made a new year’s resolution to cut out as many chemicals as possible. It’s easier said than done, but I’m enjoying experimenting with new products and even making some of my own. I thought I’d share how I’m cleaning my children’s toys now without using chemicals.
Steam Cleaners have come down in price a lot recently and they are easy to pick up in places like Dunnes or Powercity. You fill them with cold water, plug them in and when it has heated up, it shoots out steam onto the item that you are cleaning. The force of the steam and the temperature mean that dirt is removed and bacteria and germs are killed. You can’t use a steam cleaner on all toys. Avoid using it on any battery operated or electric toys. I find it works really well on large plastic toys (where paint cannot chip) like plastic sit on cars, slides, walkers, buggy handles and shelving in the toy room. It’s best to use a steam cleaner when your children are sleeping as the steam can burn badly and you wouldn’t want your child being curious around your cleaner in case an accident happens.
Soft toys, blankets, and rugs always went into my washing machine regularly. I’ve stopped using shop-bought laundry detergent and replaced it with this chemical-free recipe which I’ve found is working equally well. Teddies and rugs get drooled on and have snot rubbed on them regularly. Where possible, I try and dry them outdoors.
When I finished my last bottle of Anti-Bacterial spray, I kept the bottle and filled it with one part vinegar, 10 parts water and some drops of essential oils to mask the vinegar smell. Vinegar kills germs and is great at removing stains and stickers (leave on few a few minutes before wiping off). I know the smell will put some people off trying it, but honestly, after you add a few drops of your favourite essential oils, you’ll hardly smell the vinegar at all. I spray it onto the toy and then just wipe the toy with a clean cloth.
Some toys like Duplo bricks, small plastic or metal cars (without batteries), Lottie Dolls and ball pool plastic balls are difficult and time-consuming to clean. I throw them all into the bath. I fill the bath with hot water so that all the toys are covered with water. Add some vinegar to the water to kill the germs. After swishing them around for a few minutes, I let them sit for 5-10 minutes. Then I lift them out onto a bath towel and carefully fold the towel so that I can carry them outside, to dry in the sun.
I have purchased dishwasher powder that is chemical free. Now I’m happy to wash toys on the top shelf of my dishwasher and the great thing about this way is that the steam dries them. For smaller items like Lego pieces, I put them all into a pillowcase (or if you had a net laundry bag, you could use it), fold over the flap of the case, so that toys don’t escape from the force of the water and place the pillowcase on the top shelf of your dishwasher.
I’d love to hear any other ways in which you clean your toys without chemicals, so if you have some tried and tested methods, please comment below and we’ll all benefit from each other.