Here is a glimpse into how I [try my best to] keep my kiddos' toys clean.
When attacking this project...
...First, I go through our main living areas and grab up any toys that can safely be cleaned in the dishwasher, and I literally run a load of toys through my favorite appliance. (If only I could find a way to successfully do laundry using the dishwasher. Just kidding...kind of.) In addition to - or instead of - I may also fill a bathtub full of soap and water or vinegar and water, and wash a round of toys that way - laying them out on a towel to dry.
...Second, I go through and wipe down any toys - large or small - that can not be submerged in water. When doing this, I have used a variety of different methods: Lysol wipes, hot soapy or hot vinegar rags, water/bleach spray solution, etc.
While going through these steps, I will typically find broken items/worn out toys that need thrown away or donated. I will also usually spot some toys that need to be put away/rotated out simply because my little ones have grown tired of them. See the following post for how we handle that: Keeping Toys Organized & Rotated. This is also when I change batteries in toys that need new ones. (I will stop right here and declare for all to hear: I DETEST battery-operated toys. Thank you for listening.)
If the thought of periodically cleaning your kids' toys causes you to break out in hives, here are a couple of things to consider: Your kids - no matter the age - can most definitely help you with this task! My 2.5 year old helps me - He has his own rag, and he is expected to help me from start to finish. Yes, he may need consistent instructions and redirection, but I have to remember that my children are in training. They will not learn to do these types of things if they are not given the opportunity. Kids are fully capable of reaching any realistic expectation you set for them. So with that being said, put your kids to work. These toys belong to them. Help foster a healthy respect for things by teaching them - at an early, early age - to take care of their stuff. One other thing to consider is that "Less is More!" For more inspiration on this topic, check out Ashley's thoughts at The Vanilla Tulip. She has four kids and is full of great tips for "living small" in all areas of life - especially when it comes to kid stuff!
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like to read Keeping Toys Organized and Rotated: