Most everyone knows they should wash their baby’s clothes, bedding, and toys. We sterilize the bottles and of course bathe baby himself. But for some reason, we aren’t always mindful that his books might need cleaning too.
If your baby is creating conditions for things to grow in and on the books (and he probably is), then you need to think about baby’s health. Likewise, if there is a sick and contagious someone enjoying a book, you probably want to disinfect that book before you give it to your baby to enjoy. Another benefit of keeping your baby’s books clean is that it can help keep them in good condition so they can grow with your child.
So, what do you do? Unless we’re talking about bath books or cloth books, you can’t wash them in the same way that you would wash clothes or toys.
There are different options for cleaning books and toys that babies put into their mouths, but the most accessible and most affordable way is with a mild bleach solution. Here is the formula you’ll find on most health resources:
Add 15 mL (1 Tablespoon) household bleach (5.25% sodium hypochlorite) to 4 Litres (1 gallon) of cool water.
I want everybody in Books for Babies to know that the books I bring to the group are safe for babies to chew on; I clean all of my sample books after each session. Even so, a gallon of cleaning solution is too much even for me, especially since the solution will only be effective for about a week before you need to mix up a new batch. So if you want to make a small batch, that works out to a little less than a 1/4 teaspoon of bleach in 2 cups of water.
Some final tips:
- Put the solution in a spray bottle to avoid spills.
- Use the solution with a clean cloth to wipe down board books (they’re water resistant, not waterproof).
- Let the books dry before putting them away.
- If you are laundering cloth books, use the delicate cycle and let them hang to dry.
- While it’s true that vinegar and similar cleaners can kill germs, the conditions needed for them to be effective as disinfectants are not friendly to books (see: not waterproof).
Books for Babies Edmonton program schedule: