How To Clean Your Baby’s Toys And Bottles Naturally

By Marilee Nelson |

featured image: How To Clean Your Baby’s Toys And Bottles Naturally

If you have babies and toddlers around, then you know that “I feel like I’m constantly cleaning!” feeling.

From baby bottles to pacifiers, toys to teethers (and everything else they manage to stick in their mouths) it’s up to us to make sure their environment is as clean and safe as possible. 

However, when it comes to little ones with developing bodies and brains, what we clean with is as important as how thoroughly we clean. Which means, we want to avoid using chemical cleaners that could cause harm. 

Now, when we talk about harm we don’t just mean the risks of a baby or toddler accidentally swallowing or playing with a toxic product (although that is more common than you might think). We’re also talking about compounded daily exposure via ingestion, breathing, and touch.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to clean and sanitize your baby's bottles, toys, pacifiers, teethers and more without harmful chemicals! This guide will show you exactly how to do this.

How To Naturally and Safely Clean Baby Toys

There are plenty of ways to clean and sanitize baby toys and other items without harmful chemicals.

Some simple methods include:

  • Using boiling water to clean and sanitize pacifiers, bottles, breast pump accessories, and toys that can stand up to the heat and moisture.
  • Cleaning with vinegar is another safe way to clean (but not disinfect) without chemicals.
  • Disinfecting using vinegar and peroxide used separately and stored in separate bottles. This achieves a disinfectant effect that won’t harm you or your baby. Simply clean the toy using soap and water. Dry. The spray with either the vinegar or the peroxide. Allow to dwell for about 5 minutes. Wipe or rinse off. Repeat with the other product. Rinse. Again, these must be stored in separate bottles and used separately. Otherwise they can create a harmful gas.
  • Use the dishwasher to naturally steam clean heat-resistant items. One caveat: since dish detergent contains some of the most caustic chemicals in existence and is the #1 cause of childhood poisoning in the United States, please use non-toxic dish detergent.
  • Steam cleaning: A hand-held steam cleaner is a fast and convenient way to sanitize surfaces and baby toys. The only downside is the risk of burns, which is a very real risk with little ones running around. If you do choose to use one, never use it while holding/wearing your baby, keep it out of reach of your other children (these are very tempting for children to use because they look really fun), and put out of their reach while they cool down.

What not to use when cleaning baby toys:

Chemicals of all kinds should be avoided in cleaning products intended for baby items—including those found in dish soaps, dish detergent, and laundry products.

Some of the worst offenders to developing babies and children are fragrance, phthalates, bleach, SLS, SLES, ammonia, sodium laureth sulfate, synthetic surfactants, and antibacterials. And this is just a short-list. You can read more details on these in The Most Toxic Cleaning Products To Avoid & Non-Toxic Swaps.

We’d also like to address the issue of whether or not to sanitize/disinfect baby items. 

There is ample evidence that exposure to germs, such as those found in dirt and soil, helps babies and children develop robust microbiomes and immune systems. There is also evidence that over-sanitizing can cause a variety of harms.

However, we must use common sense. For example, newborns and very young babies have yet to develop their adaptive immune response, which means they are more vulnerable to pathogens and harmful germs. 

Thus, it is appropriate to sanitize and disinfect their bottles, pacifiers, toys and more. As a child gets older and develops their adaptive immunity, it’s not necessary to be quite so careful in all circumstances.

But again, commonsense is key. For example, if you drop a pacifier in a public place or you learn that your babies’/toddlers’ playdate from earlier that day has fallen ill, it’s a good idea to sanitize the pacifier, shared toys, etc. 

That said, we’re all for helping our babies and children develop strong microbiomes and adaptive immunity. We accomplish this by breastfeeding, exposing them to plenty of fresh air, having pets around, letting them play in dirt and explore the natural world (within appropriate boundaries)!

Try Branch Basics To Safely Clean Your Baby Bottles, Pacifiers, And Toys

As mothers ourselves, we set out to create cleaning products that were completely non-toxic, but also effective and gentle enough to be used on baby items.

Branch Basics Concentrate can be used as All-Purpose, Bathroom, Foaming Wash, and Laundry solutions. Along with our trusty bestseller - Oxygen Boost - there’s no cleaning job too tough it can’t tackle. Also, our Dishwasher Tabs can be used for all-things baby cleaning in the dishwasher. Each of our products can be used in conjunction with natural disinfecting methods.

To be clear, Branch Basics is not a disinfectant or sanitizer. 

In order to be labeled that way, a product must either be an EPA-registered pesticide or contain at least 62% alcohol. Instead, our Concentrate works like natural soap to remove germs from toys, surfaces and more instead of killing them, like a disinfectant or sanitizer.

Below is how to use Branch Basics to clean all your baby items (sanitize separately using one of the non-toxic methods above as appropriate).

Baby Bottles:

Use All-Purpose, Foaming Wash, or soak in 1 tsp of Concentrate with hot water to hand wash. 

Pacifiers: 

Spray All-Purpose and wipe clean. Bring our Mini All-Purpose spray and dry wipes for on the go.

Toys: 

For non-porous toys, spray on All Purpose solution. Rinse or wipe clean. For porous toys, soak with water and 1 teaspoon of Concentrate. Air dry.

Car Seats: 

Spray with All Purpose and wipe surface.

Cribs + Playpens:

Wet cloth or microfiber and spray with All Purpose to wipe down parts.

Diaper Pails: 

Spray with All Purpose and wipe each time you empty.

High Chairs: 

Spray All-Purpose and wipe all surfaces clean with a damp cloth or microfiber cloth.

Newborn Clothing:

Branch Basics is safe to wash all newborn clothing, cloth diapers, blankets, swaddles and everything else that may touch your baby’s skin. Click here for general laundry instructions.

Enjoy Natural, Non-Toxic Cleaning!

As parents, we only want the very healthiest, happiest, and safest for our babies. 

It may seem like a small thing, but replacing chemical cleaners with non-toxic products gives our babies a head-start to healthier development, immunity, and more. Plus, the entire household will benefit from better indoor air quality as the result of less chemical usage.

If you’re interested in learning more about creating a non-toxic home and nursery, check out Creating a Non-Toxic Baby Nursery and Our Non-Toxic Baby Registry

For more tips and info on how to avoid common household chemicals and create a healthier life, check out our free Toss the Toxins Online Course.

And if you’d like to explore our non-toxic household supplies, check out our collection of non-toxic products here.

Marilee Nelson

Marilee Nelson

Marilee Nelson is an Environmental Toxins expert who has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the chemically-sensitive and chronically-ill. She is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Bau-Biologist and Bau-Biology Inspector and specializes in Food As Medicine. She has helped thousands of families and individuals identify, heal and recover from toxic exposures and is on a mission to revolutionize the way American families view their health.