How to Clean Bath Toys

Tell us if this sounds familiar: The first thing your kids do when you put them in the bathtub is grab their toys and put them directly in their mouths. Initially, you might not think this is much of a problem—until you see your son squeezing his yellow duck and notice mold seeping out of it. It’s gross—and dangerous. Looks like it’s time to learn how to get mold off bath toys.

Why You Should Care About Moldy Bath Toys

Mold and germs on toys can cause respiratory problems, allergies, and other health problems. And while mold affects people of all ages, it can wreak havoc on those with weak immune systems such as children. So if you see bath toy mold, kill it at first sight.

In this study, Michael David, assistant professor at the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Medicine, puts it this way:

“There is likely to be an accumulation of fungi and bacteria inside of bath toys, and some of these bacterial and fungal species are associated with human infections. Whether it’s a wet cloth in the bathroom or a child’s plaything outside, it’s just a matter of time before spores will land on it, and given the appropriate nutrients and water, they’ll grow.”

Mold spores are always floating around in the air and just need the right conditions to thrive. Bath toys, with their squeeze holes that collect standing water, are typically stored in poorly ventilated bathrooms, creating the right conditions mold needs to grow.

How Often Should You Clean Bath Toys to Prevent Mold?

A study by ABC News examined various bath toys sent in by parents and found mold and bacteria on 100 percent of them—and many also had traces of fecal matter. The study tested bath toys made of rubber, plastic, and foam, and found that rubber bath toys are the dirtiest and germiest. Experts recommend that you clean your children’s bath toys at least weekly, and more often if someone in your home is sick.

Luckily, you don’t have to always toss the toys in the garbage bin once you see some greenish-black spots. Here’s how to clean bath toys and make sure your child’s bath is good, “clean” fun.

How To Bleach Toys in the Bathtub

Wear plastic gloves, goggles, and a face mask when you’re working with bleach. To disinfect bath toys with bleach, add 1/2 cup of regular bleach per gallon of water and soak the toys for 10 minutes in the tub. You can also throw in bath mats, toy baskets, rinsing cups, and other bathroom gear for quick and easy disinfection.

Turn on the bathroom exhaust fan, open a few windows, and leave the door open. Head to another part of the house because the bleach solution can irritate your nose and throat. If your bath toys have holes in them so they can squirt water, make sure you fill the toys with bleach water while they’re soaking, too. This will ensure that the inside of the toys gets cleaned— they can harbor mold you may not see!

How To Clean Bath Toys Using Vinegar

If you don’t want to use bleach, vinegar is a natural cleaner and disinfectant and an excellent alternative. Mix 1 gallon of water with ½ cup of white vinegar and let the toys soak in this solution for about an hour. Give them a scrub once the mold is loose and then let them dry. If they still smell like vinegar, just do a simple rise and dry before placing them back in the toy net.

Other Ways To Clean Bath Toys

Plug the Holes

There’s no need to learn how to clean bath toys with holes when you can just plug them! Many bath toys, especially ones that squirt water or squeak, have holes in the bottom, which can be a target for water to enter and mold to grow. Place a dab of hot glue on these toys before placing them in the bath, and you’ll create a water-proof seal on the toy.

Boil Bath Toys to Clean and Sanitize Them

If you didn’t get a chance to seal your child’s toys and want to make sure they’re safe, take the toys and boil them in hot water and squeeze out any of the “yuck” from the insides with some tongs. Let them cool and dry thoroughly.

Stick Bath Toys in the Dishwasher

Running bath toys through the dishwasher also sanitizes and kills any gunk or mold that may grow on both the inside and out. It seems like an overly simple method, but it gets the job done. Squeeze the water out of the bath toys before you wash them so your dishwasher can get to the inside.

Use Disinfectant Wipes

For routine cleaning and disinfecting maintenance, you can keep some disinfectant wipes in the bathroom. After bath time, squeeze out any water inside the toy, and then wipe down the outside of the bath toy and rinse.

How to Prevent Mold in Bath Toys

To prevent mold from forming in the first place, create a healthy environment for storing your child’s bath toys. Consider investing in a tray or rack that will allow the water to drain from the toys, leaving them close to an open window for proper ventilation or using fans and vents to disperse leftover steam from the bath. Anything that dries the toys out will help prevent mold from forming.

Even if you know all the ins and outs of how to clean baby bath toys, sometimes that gunk still won’t go away. When that happens, throw them out. It’s better for your kids to play with new toys than anything that can get them sick.

For your family’s health, why not let The Maids give your bathroom the kind of sparkling clean that gets rid of mold, bacteria, and germs? With over three decades in the business, we know how to get bathrooms, bedrooms, and kitchens clean and healthy. Get your free estimate today!


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