Cleaning Methods For Preventing Moldy Bath Toys
Recent studies about mold and other organisms on common bath toys, coupled with the gross and worrisome pictures circulating the mommy blog spheres on social media, are probably making you a little more wary of what toys your child plays within the bathtub. Even though bath toys are constantly bombarded with soap and water, recent studies show that they can easily become breeding grounds for mold and other unwanted organisms.
And it doesn’t really matter what type of toy your child enjoys playing with, either. Because these toys sit around in warm water and often air dry in a hot humid bathroom (or even sit for days in a puddle of water), all bath and shower toys are susceptible to mold and mildew over time. While most children’s immune systems can handle the pathogens that grow on these toys, certain populations are more likely to experience adverse reactions: newborns and infants, children with allergies, and children with compromised immune systems. Therefore, it’s important for parents to clean those bath toys as often as they clean their little ones!
Here are some simple ways you can keep your child’s beloved bath toys clean and safe:
1. Choose toys that don’t attract mold as easily.
A simple fix you can do is to choose bath toys that are easy to clean! Rubber ducks are notorious for mold buildup because of the small hole on the bottom. “Squirter” toys do the same thing. Opt for things like plastic boats, floating spheres, and water wheels. You can even just let your little one play with some plastic measuring cups and empty plastic storage containers, as these can be easily thrown into the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
2. Disinfect toys with a bleach solution.
You can make your own bleach solution at home by using a 1:10 ratio of bleach to water. Let the toys soak for a while in the bleach solution, making sure the bleach enters every part of the toy that comes in contact with water during bath time. Rinse the toys thoroughly with warm water, and allow to dry completely before use.
3. Run the toys through a dishwasher cycle.
We know that moms are busy - so using the dishwasher is a great parenting hack for cleaning those pesky toys! Always check the toy’s instruction manual first, but you can run most toys through the dishwasher with a hot water cycle. You can even throw your baby’s silicone bibs in there while you’re at it!
4. Clean the toys with vinegar.
Bleach can be pretty tough because of the harsh chemicals, so if you want to protect your nose and your eyes, you can always clean with vinegar instead. Allow toys to soak in vinegar for a period of time, and then wash in warm water and air dry. Vinegar isn’t as effective as bleach, but it sure is a lot safer.
5. Sanitize and sterilize with boiling water.
If you want to clean bath toys without using chemicals, you can boil them to sterilize them. Fill a large pot with water, allow it to come to a boil, and add toys in with a pair of tongs. The toys only need to stay in the boiling water for a few minutes, and then they can be removed to air dry on a towel. This is a helpful method because you can wash so many different types of toys this way, including foam bath toys.
6. Close any holes on bath toys.
If your child loves playing with bath toys that have holes in them, you can prevent water from getting on the inside by hot gluing the holes shut. This will still allow your little one to play with his beloved toys, but without risking water buildup causing mold and mildew over time.
7. Use disinfectant wipes to scrub toys.
If you need a quick fix, you can wipe down toys with disinfectant wipes and allow them to dry between bath times. The downside to this method is that the wipes only reach as far as you can, and toys with holes that allow water inside cannot be adequately cleaned this way.
Bath time is such a fun ritual for babies and young kids - but it’s important to practice safety when it comes to the toys you use! Let them enjoy their bath time favorites by sticking to a cleaning schedule and tossing any toys that are starting to get mold or dirty buildup! Following the tips listed above will make bath time safety a breeze!
Parenting is awesome. Sleep is overrated. Every day is an adventure.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez
I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.