While plastic toys are durable, resilient and often brightly colored, they aren't nearly as much fun to play with if they smell. Plastic is a porous material so it's easy for dirt, germs and odors to become trapped within it. Sometimes a simple washing is all that's needed to eliminate the smell, but not always. For stubborn smells that take hold of helpless plastic toys, a safe and nontoxic approach is in order.
Things You'll Need
Bleach-free dish soap or mild liquid hand soap
Clean cloth or sponge
Wash the toys with warm, soapy water. For toys that have batteries or are electric and cannot be washed, wipe them off with a cloth dipped into soapy water rather than submerging them in the sink. Use a second damp cloth to eliminate soap residue.
Set the toys outside in the sunshine. Sunlight not only helps the toys to dry, but helps to eliminate odor. Let the toys sunbathe for three to four hours.
Bring the toys inside and use your nose to see if the odor is still there. If it is, add water slowly into a bowl of baking soda while stirring to create a thick paste.
Dip a cloth into the paste and spread it onto the toys to coat them.
Set the toys in a cool, dry place and leave them overnight to allow the baking soda to solidify and absorb the odors from the plastic.
Wipe away the baking soda in the morning with a damp cloth.
Wrap toys with particularly stubborn odors in newspaper and set them in a cool, dry place for 48 to 72 hours.
If you use a commercial cleaning product, check the manufacturer’s directions and warnings carefully. Harsh chemicals may potentially seep into the pores of the plastic, making it unsafe for small children who often put their toys in their mouths.