On the good list

The 10 Best Cleaning Toys For Toddlers Of 2023

Here's the gear that will keep your preschooler happily occupied.

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It’s a known fact — to all parents of toddlers at least — that many toddlers really love to clean. They may not be very good at it, and obviously we don’t want them using actual household cleaning products, but it’s undeniably sweet. In the blink of an eye, your formerly-unhelpful infant has grown into a wild, yet eager-to-please little helper. Kids want to feel like they contributions are valuable and what parent doesn’t love to encourage that instinct?

The holiday season is upon us, and if you are sitting there asking yourself if it’s weird to give your kid a broom for Christmas, we’d like to assure you that it’s not weird at all. In fact, numerous kids’ toy makers know that your kid loves to clean and wants to do all the grown-up tasks they’ve spent their earliest years watching you do. From tasteful wooden sets for those of us still clinging to a soothing aesthetic to all-plastic everything, color-changing wildness for those of us who’ve embraced the chaos, these 10 cleaning toys for toddlers and little kids will bring lots of joy to your home this holiday season. Whatever your budget, and whatever your kids’ preferred cleaning jobs, there’s a toy on this list that’ll hit the spot.


Melissa & Doug Deluxe Cleaning & Laundry Play Set

If your kid really loves to clean — no, like, really, seriously loves it — you might just want to go all out and splurge on this deluxe set from Melissa & Doug. For $109, it includes all of the beloved toy makers’ cleaning toys; the laundry set, and the mop, broom and brush set. It’d make a great Santa gift, if you’re still hunting for your big showstopper.


Casdon Toys DC24 Dyson Ball Toy Vacuum

One of the best things about this little Dyson vacuum is that it actually cleans, which makes it stand out a bit from the toddler cleaning toys crowd. Sure, it doesn’t pick up a ton of stuff — do not expect your kid to actually be able to vacuum the living room — but they’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment when they go to empty the little dust tray and find that it’s full. It’s well-made, too, and will last through quite a few hand-me-downs.


Melissa & Doug Laundry Basket Pretend Play Set

If only they could actually help with all of the laundry they generate. But, at least this little laundry set gives them something to do while you pop in yet another load. We assume there’s not a lot of ironing happening if you’ve got a toddler at home, but the work of ironing is one that little kids seem to really love.


Pottery Barn Wooden Cleaning Set

Ahh yes, the tasteful set. If you long for a toddler cleaning set that could living in your living room without making your eyes bleed, this soothingly-hued Pottery Barn one might just be for you.


JoyStone Color Changing Play Kitchen Sink Toys, Children Electric Dishwasher Playing Toy with Running Water

They had you at “running water” and “color changing,” right? Clearly someone at JoyStone understands small children. As one reviewer put it: “This sink is nothing but great. Bright colors, smooth surfaces, sturdy parts. Great for kids age 1 to at least 10. Any kid with an imagination would love this.” Sold.


KidKraft Laundry Play Set Children's Pretend Wooden Stacking Washer and Dryer Toy with Iron and Basket

We love the pastel colors of this seriously gift-y laundry set. Sure, it’s a bit pricey, but we have a feeling this is a cleaning-related toy with real staying power. Toddlers will enjoy it, but it also feels like a centerpiece toy that will be a playdate staple for years to come. Plus, it would make a big splash as THE Santa gift of the year.


A Less-Expensive Play Sink With Running Water

If you’re not ready to spend $40 on a pretend sink, this $20 version might be more your speed. Kids love to play with water — perhaps as more or more than they love to clean — and this little sink does the job. Plus, we love the navy and orange combo — it’s not all-beige everything, but it’s not eye-poppingly loud, either.


Melissa & Doug Spray, Squirt & Squeegee- Pretend Play Cleaning Set

What is it about spray bottles? While you could just literally buy your kid a spritzer and they’d have hours of fun, this complete “squirt and squeegee” play set is a bit more gift-worth than just a random squirt bottle. Will a pretend Comet-esque bottle keep them out of your actual can of Comet? Probably not (that should still be locked away and out of reach). But they will have a blast with it nonetheless.


Zero Waste Cleaning Set

This surprisingly attractive wooden cleaning set from Etsy seller CloudRinjani that has almost 1000 positive reviews is only $25, so it’s a great alternative if the Pottery Barn version isn’t in your budget, or if a darker wood suits your style a bit better. It’s also handmade from natural materials: teak wood, coconut fibers and husks, and cotton. Metal screws hold the pieces together.


Learning Resources New Sprouts Clean It! Toddler Playset

This set is sort of a no-brainer starter set. For $25, your kid gets a hand-held vacuum, a few bottles, and some scrubby brushes. It’s colorful, inexpensive, and will probably provide years of amusement.

No, you’re not out of your mind — your toddler really likes to clean. Reclaim your broom and buy them one of their own this Christmas. They’ll love it, promise.