Sanitizing Toys with Vinegar? Tips & What You Should Know


My kid is sick. Since I’m living in a sleepless daze of laundry, dishes and bleach solutions I thought this was a good time for me to share some info on sanitizing with other mamas out there . . . . . . .

Should I Sanitize MY Kids’ Toys?

Yup, probably. It’s up to you how often you do this. The new mom version of me did this every couple weeks. The mom of three toddlers does it…..well…..when it needs to be done.

What You Should Know About Using Vinegar as a Sanitizer

Vinegar is a mild acetic acid.
It cannot sterilize surfaces.
It can be an effective sanitizer for only SOME pathogens if conditions are right –  those conditions are:
1. it needs to be used undiluted
2. it needs to be heated to be effective against germs we are concerned about in the home (listeria, e.coli, etc.).


How to Sanitize your house like a champ

1.     Wash the dirt off (sanitizers can’t work as well on a dirty surface cause they waste their sanitizing power on the big chunks of gunk rather than the tiny cliny germs)
2.    Wash with clean water (sanitizers can’t work as well on a soapy, alkaline surface AKA don’t mix your bleach and soap together, they kinda cancel eachother out)
3.    Apply sanitizer of choice and allow to sit for the recommended time so it can do its job
I like to use unscented household bleach. It’s cheap, easy to mix, can be used at room temperature and is effective at sanitizing.
Mix ¼ tbsp bleach with 1 liter of clean water and make sure it sits on the surface for at least one minute. 
Make a new solution each week or two, as it tends to weaken over time.
It is easy to use when you keep it on hand in a well labelled spray bottle.

4.    Air-dry or wipe with clean paper towel.  You don’t have to rinse off the sanitizer unless it’s recommended as most sanitizers get ‘used up’ and there is little to no residue left.

What to Sanitize

  • The kitchen cutting boards, knives, taps, etc. (especially after handling raw meat)
  • Kids’ hard toys (don’t forget those bath toys too!)
  • High-touch surfaces, anywhere little hands are grabbing (handles, taps, flushers, switches,etc.)
  • High-‘chew’ surfaces, if you are a mom you know that kids chew on weird things like cupboard knobs, crib railings and the dining table.
  • Places where there is poop (change tables, potties, etc)
When to Sanitize:
  • Generally,most public health professionals recommends daily sanitizing
  • When things are ‘dirty’ (like when you cracked and egg an it smeared across the counter, or you dripped some chicken juice onto the kitchen tap)
  • When someone in the house is sick (lots of germs can live on hard surfaces for hours or days)


Effectiveness of Alternative Antimicrobial Agents for Disinfection of Hard Surfaces from the National Collaborating Center on Environmental Health
Recommendations for Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting from the California Childcare Health Program

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