01 July 2014

Kill viruses on wooden toys by freezing them

If you've ever witnessed the single-minded furvor with which some toddlers play with their Thomas the Tank Engine train sets, this hack merits a spot in your regular rotation.

From Alexandra Isenberg on Instagram:

Best way to clean wooden toys (especially during cold season!) is to freeze them overnight. Wiping them works for dirt, but freezing them kills germs.

Why not throw the entire collection into a freezer bag and let them chill out together?

Thank you, Alexandra!

UPDATE: After some focused Googling (which I apologize for not having done BEFORE publishing this hack), I learned that while freezing kills dust mites and viruses, it does not kill bacteria. So, this hack might slow the spread of cold and flu germs, but it's not a method of sanitation.

Big thank you to Katherine in the comments for the reality check.

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Your comments

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I'm not sure this one actually works. If freezing doesn't kill germs in food, I doubt it kills germs on toys either. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/04/04/176242166/freezing-food-doesnt-kill-e-coli-and-other-germs

Katherine: Thank you so much for the comment. I really should have looked into this more closely before posting, and I appreciate that you let me know. I've update the post with this info!

Thanks for the advice, both pieces. I had never thought of freezing toys to kill anything on them, and it's good to know that the freezing method is different from sanitizing. But killing dust mites is mighty handy, since I have two kids with dust allergies. So that's a great tip that might help with their beloved stuffed animals--pop them in a plastic bag in the freezer for a while, and they can sleep with their "pets" again!

Kendra: Freezing stuffed animals and other softies to kill dust mites is accepted practice. So is throwing them into a hot tumble dryer.

As it happens I had no idea you could kill dust mites in the freezer, and I have an allergic husband. So it's a full circle of advice today! Thanks Asha and Kendra!

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