Baby Teether Maintenance 101: Cleaning Tips Every Parent Should Know

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Learn to sterilize baby teethers: boiling time, cleaning tips, when to replace, and wear signs. Keep them safe and clean with our guide.

Why Maintain Baby Teethers?

It is important to properly maintain baby teethers to prevent buildup of dirt, mold, and bacteria that can pose health risks. Teethers are often put in baby’s mouth, sometimes dropped on the floor, and can collect saliva, milk or food residue. Without regular cleaning, this creates an environment for microbes to grow.

Some key reasons to maintain baby teethers:

  • Remove dried saliva, milk and food residue – These provide nutrition for mold and bacteria if allowed to linger.

  • Prevent buildup of dirt and grime – Teethers can quickly become dirty with regular use. Allowing dirt, dust or lint to remain can be unhygienic.

  • Stop growth of mold and mildew – Moist, porous teethers provide ideal conditions for mold to form if not cleaned.

  • Kill harmful germs and bacteria – Cleaning kills microbes that could cause illness if transferred to the baby’s mouth.

  • Eliminate foul odors – Built-up organic matter can create strong, unpleasant smells.

  • Keep teethers safe for baby – Cleaning ensures teethers stay free of contaminants and safe for a baby to chew on.

  • Extend lifespan of teether – Regular maintenance keeps teethers in good condition for longer.

How Often to Clean

It is recommended to clean your baby’s teether daily. Teethers can harbor bacteria and become unsanitary very quickly since they are constantly being put in a baby’s mouth and exposed to saliva. Even if the teether does not visibly appear dirty, it is best to wash it after every use to prevent the spread of illness-causing germs.

Cleaning daily is especially important once your baby begins teething between 3-6 months old. Extra drool during this stage can allow more bacteria to accumulate on the teether’s surface. A good rule of thumb is to clean the teether at least once per day, and more frequently if the teether becomes dropped on the floor or exposed to anything dirty. While it may seem tedious, taking a minute each day to wash your baby’s teether will go a long way in keeping it sanitary and safe for your little one to chew on.

Cleaning Methods

There are a few effective methods for cleaning baby teethers to remove germs and bacteria:

Dishwasher

Many baby teethers are dishwasher-safe, making this an easy cleaning option. Place the teether on the top rack of your dishwasher and wash with hot water. Avoid using harsh detergents. The heat of the dishwasher along with the cleaning cycle is sufficient to sanitize the teether. Allow to fully dry before giving back to baby.

Boiling Water

Bring water to a rapid boil in a pot on your stove. Remove from heat and immerse the teether fully in the hot water for 5 minutes. This heat kills bacteria. Remove and allow to air dry.

Bleach Solution

Make a sanitizing solution by mixing 1 tablespoon of unscented bleach per 1 gallon of water. Fully immerse the teether and soak for 5 minutes. Remove and rinse thoroughly with clean water to eliminate any bleach residue. Allow to fully air dry before next use.

Cleaning with Dishwasher

Using the dishwasher is an easy and effective way to thoroughly clean your baby’s teether. Simply place the teether on the top rack of your dishwasher. Be sure to use the hot water setting, as the high heat will kill any bacteria or germs. Do not use dishwasher detergent or rinse aid, as the residual soap can be harmful if ingested by your baby. The hot water cycle alone will wash away saliva, milk residue, and any other buildup. Allow the teether to air dry fully before giving back to your little one. Dishwashers provide a deep clean for teethers in an easy, hands-off way. Just be sure to inspect the teether afterwards to ensure no small parts have come loose during the cycle. With this method, you can keep those favorite teethers looking (and feeling!) like new.

Boiling Water Method

Boiling is an effective way to sanitize baby teethers. Fill a pot with water and fully submerge the teether. Bring the water to a rolling boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes. This boiling time ensures any germs are killed.

After boiling, take the pot off the heat and allow the teether to remain submerged until the water has fully cooled. Do not remove the teether while the water is still hot as this can warp or damage the teether. The cooling process can take 30 minutes or longer depending on the volume of water.

Once fully cooled, remove the teether from the water using tongs and allow to air dry before returning it to your baby. Do not dry with a towel as that can reintroduce germs.

Boiling is a chemical free way to sanitize baby teethers while ensuring no residue is left behind. As long as you allow the teether to fully cool in the boiled water before removing, this method is safe and effective.

Bleach Solution

Bleach is a common household disinfectant that can be used to thoroughly clean your baby’s teether. Make sure to use regular, unscented bleach containing 5.25% sodium hypochlorite.

To clean with bleach solution:

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of bleach per 1 gallon of cool water in a clean container. Use a ratio of 1 tbsp bleach to 1 gallon water.

  • Place teether in the diluted bleach solution and allow to soak for 10 minutes.

  • Remove and rinse thoroughly with clean water. Allow to air dry completely before giving back to baby.

  • It’s important not to soak longer than 10 minutes, as extended soaking can damage the teether. The bleach solution should not be reused after soaking the teether.

Bleach sanitizes by killing 99.9% of germs and bacteria. However, be sure to follow safety precautions when using bleach by wearing gloves and avoiding mixing with other household cleaners. Only use in a well-ventilated area.

Cleaning Hard-to-Reach Areas

Babies often get into the smallest crevices of teethers with their saliva and tiny fingers. Make sure to pay extra attention when cleaning hard-to-reach areas of the teether. Using a small bottle brush is an easy way to scrub inside openings. The bristles will get inside small holes and grooves. Q-tips are also handy for getting into tight spaces. The cotton tips can dig out gunk in detailed motifs or texture. Gently twist the q-tip around to loosen anything stuck inside. Take your time and carefully clean every nook and cranny of the teether. Taking these extra steps will help remove built-up germs and bacteria. Your diligence will keep the teether fresh and safe for baby to chew on. Thorough cleaning is key, so don’t forget those hard-to-reach spots!

Drying and Storing

After cleaning the teether, it’s important to let it fully air dry before storing. Don’t put away a damp teether, as this can allow mold and bacteria to grow.

Find a clean, dry location where you can let the teether sit out until completely dry. This may take a few hours. Ensure the teether is no longer wet or damp anywhere before storing.

Once fully dry, place the teether in a clean bag or storage box. This will help keep it free of dust and other contaminants when not in use. Avoid storing it in the same bag or box as other used baby items before cleaning.

Proper drying and storage is key to keeping your baby’s teether clean between uses. Always check that it’s completely dry and store in a clean container. This will help maintain the teether’s safety and longevity.

Safety Precautions

It’s important to always check baby teethers for any signs of damage before each use to prevent injury. Carefully inspect the entire surface area, including any handles, rings, or textured surfaces. Look for any cracks, chips, tearing, or punctures in the material. Discard any teether immediately that shows signs of wear and tear. Even minor flaws can pose a safety risk to a teething baby who will chew and suck vigorously on the teether. Damaged areas may break off into small pieces that could choke or harm the baby if swallowed or cut the baby’s mouth.

 

Tags :
chewing toy,dummy,soother,teether
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