Babies and young kids put their toys in their mouths all the time and can often pick up germs and illnesses from dirty items, especially during cold and flu season.

Reduce your child’s chance of getting sick by keeping her belongings clean and sanitized. Here are some tips to help you out:

Toss hard toys in the dishwasher

Using the dishwasher is the easiest and most effective way to clean and sanitize your child’s playthings.

Unfortunately, you can’t just toss all of your kid’s belongings in the dishwasher. Only hard plastic toys without batteries, music boxes or other delicate items can withstand the heat an intensity of a dishwasher.

Make sure to place all toys on the top rack of the dishwasher and set the machine on the sanitizing cycle. If you don’t have a dishwasher, you can hand wash toys with soapy water. Then sanitize them with a solution of rubbing alcohol and water.

Hand wash soft toys

Soft plastic and rubber toys can melt in the high heat of a dishwasher.

Instead, hand wash these with soapy water. Then use a solution of rubbing alcohol and water to sanitize the playthings to keep them free and clear of any viruses or bacteria.