Caring For Outdoor Toys in the Summer

girl smiling in front of KidKraft outdoor playhouse

Between the heat, the sun, and the extra play, your kid’s outdoor toys may need a little extra TLC in the summer. Here are our best tips for keeping them safe, clean, and damage-free all summer long!

How to Store Outdoor Toys

Proper storage is the best way to keep your outdoor toys in great shape and avoid the wear and tear that comes with the summer sun. Plastic toys in particular can be faded by sunlight and weakened by extreme heat.

  • Whenever possible try to keep outdoor toys in a dry, shady area when not in use such as your garage, shed, or covered porch. Just be sure they aren’t stored near dangerous chemicals.
  • If toys have been stored for a long time, double-check for any bugs or spiders and wipe them down before use.
  • No space in the shed? Outdoor storage boxes are a great solution for weather-proof protection and easy access to your kids’ favorite toys.
  • For large toys that can’t be moved like swing sets and playhouses, try to install them in shady areas whenever possible, and opt for durable materials that can handle the summer heat.

How to Clean Outdoor Toys

Wooden toys

Wood is naturally antimicrobial, so it’s a low maintenance material that’s less prone to mold and bacteria than plastic outdoor toys. Large wooden toys like playhouses and swing sets can usually just be cleaned with a garden hose and spray nozzle. If some dirt and grime have built up, try a scrub brush and a bucket filled with a 1:4 solution of gentle soap (like Castile or dish soap) and water.
See all of our tips for cleaning wooden toys here!

Plastic toys

Most plastic outdoor toys are easy to clean but can be prone to mold growth, so be sure to keep them dry and properly stored when not in use. Some small toys may be dishwasher safe. For everything else, soak it in a 1:4 mixture of vinegar and water as needed (the kiddie pool is great for this!). Spot clean larger toys with the same solution and rinse with a garden hose. For especially grimy spots, try a scrub brush with dish soap or baking soda paste, or a Mr. Clean magic eraser.

Water toys

From water tables to kiddie pools, any outdoor toy that involves water is especially prone to grime and mold. To prevent mold build-up, try to ensure toys are completely dry before storing them away. Pour out as much water as possible, leave the toy in the sun to sanitize and dry, and then store it out of the elements. then At the first sign of mold, clean the toy with a 1:4 solution of vinegar and water. If mold persists, it’s probably safest to discard the toy.

How to Keep Outdoor Toys Safe During Yard Maintenance

Summer is the peak season for lawn care and weed and insect control. Make sure all outdoor toys are stored safely out of the way when chemicals of any kind are being used in your yard. If you have large outdoor toys that can’t be moved, such as swing sets or sandboxes, take extra care to only use products that are safe for kids, follow all label instructions, and avoid contact with the toys as much as possible. Even most kid-safe products will recommend that children avoid the area until the product has dried.

Ultimately, a little dirt isn’t the enemy when it comes to outdoor toys. But proper storage and a little maintenance will help you avoid mold, sun damage, and extreme grimy buildup, prolonging the life of your toys and keeping playtime safe and clean (well...clean-ish anyway).