Can You Put Toys in the Dishwasher to Sanitize and Dry?

Last Updated on April 13, 2022 by

Can you put toys in the dishwasher? Knowing how babies toss toys into their mouths, you want to be ahead of the germs by keeping the toys clean. And with your compact countertop, portable or full-sized dishwashing machine around, you can automate the process.

Toys you can put in the dishwasher must be marked “dishwasher safe”. Select baby care cycle or heavy cycle to give the toys hygienic clean and manually air dry or use the machine’s automatic air dry. Heated dry may degrade, or in extreme cases, destroy the toys.

Your dishwasher will clean the toys but not all toys can go into it. Even some plastic toys will melt, especially if you toss them in the lower rack exposed to the heating element.

Can you put toys in the dishwasher?

You can put dishwasher-safe toys in the dishwasher, select the baby wash program or cycle to get rid of germs. Dishwashers also clean quickly and hygienically.

The toys may appear clean and harmless but are soaked in bacteria, and only regular cleaning keeps germs from breeding. According to WebMD, germs capable of causing flu and colds breed on toys.

A dishwasher will give the toy the needed cleaning and even sanitize it using the sanitize option. As mentioned earlier, you want to use the baby care settings specifically designed for baby toys and other baby dishwasher-safe items.

Read also: why exactly is a dishwasher giving greasy dishes?

You would also need a good detergent to enhance the dishwasher. Suppose you have a Bosch dishwasher, go here for recommended Bosch dishwasher detergents.

Meanwhile, we find this video further explanatory regarding how useful a dishwasher can be for cleaning toys:

Toys not to put in dishwasher

Generally, all toys not marked “dishwasher safe” should not go in the dishwasher. Some baby toys to keep out of the dishwasher include the following:

  1. Toddler toys with push button

If your baby’s toy has push buttons, that should not go in the dishwasher. The spray arms can detach or permanently damage the buttons, rendering the toys useless. Moreover, such toddler toys have spaces in them, soapy so water will stagnate inside.

  1. Toys made from wood

Generally, water causes wood to weaken, rot and fall apart, giving way to mold growth. Wooden toys are porous, and so contact with the heated dishwasher water can cause them to crack. This is one of the reasons many utensils are not made with wood.

The lifespan is, thus, degraded, and the toy will split sooner following the cracked points. Even a coated wood toy can only survive for too long.

  1. Toys with batteries or electric

Even after removing the batteries, a battery-operated toy should not go in the dishwasher. The copper materials within are porous, and the next time you replace the batteries, they fail. Like battery-operated toys, any form of electricity linked to the toy makes it unsafe for dishwasher.

  1. Plush or stuffed toys

Stuffed toys are typically toy dolls with outer fabric made from textile and stuffed using a flexible material. They are also called cuddly or soft toys.

This category of toys should not be loaded into the dishwasher because a dishwasher is not designed to wash fabric. If you still prefer a machine wash, it can go into your washing machine.

Read also: the type of washing machine you need for white clothes

  1. Rubber toys

A dishwasher is not also designed to clean rubber. Moreover, harsh dishwasher detergent will make the rubber dull and degrade faster.

Your dishwasher is built to heat water. Read here how it heats water for your dishes. Unfortunately, the heat is not rubber-friendly, so your toddler’s toy could be destroyed or made to degrade quickly.

For these toys that cannot be loaded into the dishwasher, you want to give them a simple wipe. You could mix distilled vinegar with warm water to also disinfect the toys. After cleaning, allow the toys to air dry.

How do you wash baby toys in the dishwasher?

For your dishwasher safe toys, you want to know how to get them properly cleaned in the dishwasher. Follow the guide below:

  1. Verify the dishwasher safety

Most of the time, baby toys without the dishwasher safe mark do not go in the dishwasher. Some toys may be safe for dishwashers but not indicated. To be on the safe side, only load toys the manufacturer declared safe for the dishwasher.

Check the product tag or label. If the toy arrives with a manual, that should tell if it can go into the dishwasher. Otherwise, search the manufacturer’s website or give them a call.

  1. Start the baby mode or program

Unfortunately, not all dishwashers support baby care. To know if yours features baby care, refer to the product manual or search the manufacturer’s website. The simpler step is to check the button labels on your dishwasher.

If interested, here are the best dishwashers we reviewed that can wash baby toys well enough.

Baby care is also called heavy mode on some dishwashers. It heats water to 167 degrees Fahrenheit temperature to thoroughly clean toys and other baby items.

Some dishwashers further generate steam from the water temperature used on the toys, baby bottles, and more.

  1. Add the toys to the racks

The toys need to be loaded into specific suitable rack locations. Consider the following when loading your baby toys:

Bigger and tougher toys can go into the bottom rack. The dishwasher heating element is located at the bottom, so you need a toy that withstands the heat. If the manufacturer specifies recommended racks other than the top rack, do not toss it in the top rack.

Medium-sized baby toys can go into the middle of the dishwasher. Smaller toys will fall through the spaces. As such, load them into the silverware holder with smaller spaces to keep the toys from dropping to the bottom.

Meanwhile, endeavor to take care of your racks as they can be costly to replace.

  1. Fill the detergent or pod reservoir

Buy an efficient detergent to improve toy cleaning. Apart from avoiding low-quality detergents, harsh detergents should also be avoided, they can degrade the toys quickly.

A plant-based detergent without phosphates, chlorine bleach, or dyes works excellent for toy cleaning. Look out for the certification of the detergent before purchase.

Pods take longer to dissolve and may not even be recommended by the dishwasher manufacturer.

  1. Sanitize and air dry

You can optionally sanitize the toys after the cleaning cycle. Depending on the dishwasher model, this may be called Sani wash or Sani rinse.

The sanitize cycle takes longer, typically adds up to 1.5 hours, and kills 99.9% of bacteria breeding in your baby toys. It heats to 140°F to 150°F temperatures capable of eliminating most viruses. Not all dishwashers feature sanitize cycle.

The final step is to dry the toys. Dishwashers typically feature dry methods, including condenser dry, heated dry, and auto air dry.

Air dry is the recommended dry option if your dishwasher features automatic air dry. It does not add pressure on the toys but takes longer to dry. Auto dry uses your room temperature to dry toys.

Buy this powerful dishwasher with the air dry option now.

If there is no automatic drying method, manually air dry the baby toys. Do not use heated dry since it applies heated steam pressure on the toys. Moreover, heated dry is not very energy efficient, meaning more money on the bills.

Dishwasher for toys

This final section features our recommended dishwasher with baby care settings. If you plan to replace your old dishwasher with your baby in mind, this is the dishwasher you need to handle the toddler’s toys:

NOVETE Compact Dishwashers with 5 L Built-in Water Tank & Inlet Hose, 5 Washing Programs, Baby Care, Air-Dry Function and LED Light for Small Apartments, Dorms, and RVs

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Like you, NOVETE has your baby in mind. This dishwasher model is designed with the following features:

5 wash cycles (+baby care)

This portable NOVETE dishwasher packs 5 wash cycles, including baby care/heavy, soft, normal, fruit, and speed. The baby care, also called, heavy mode, heats at 167 °F to hygienically clean your baby toys and bottles.


This dishwasher holds 4 place settings, large enough for your baby’s toys. Whether you go on a camper/RV or boat expedition or live in a dorm or small apartment, this dishwasher fits perfectly well.

Dry mode

Although specifically excellent for your dishes, this unique dry feature uses 60-minute hot air for drying. It starts automatically after a cycle like the baby cycle. Use it sparingly when cleaning toys.

Water supply sources

You have 2 options – water tank and faucet modes. The water tank is a built-in 5-liter water reservoir while the faucet mode requires hooking a water inlet hose to the machine. This small tank saves lots of water.

What we like:


This NOVETE dishwasher model uses 72-hour auto ventilation that can sanitarily store your baby toys after cleaning.

Panel control

This dishwasher features a LED touch LED panel control that displays dishwasher status. You can also tell the water level from the indicator.

What we don’t:

No water filtration

Due to its size, this dishwasher uses a top-placed grate to prevent objects from dropping into the built-in tank. It does not feature a water filtration system. Ensure to change your dishwasher filter this often.

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