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It’s that time again: bath time for your toddler. You start by gathering the soap, shampoo, bubble bath, wash cloths, towels, and lastly, but most importantly, the toys.
Kids certainly love their toys at bath time, but this time when you go to grab the toys, you notice there is a little bit of a slimy residue on the toys and black specks near the squeeze spouts.
The toys that have the little spouts, like those adorable little ducks, are unfortunately often not so adorable on the inside.
Just like the walls of your shower/tub need a good scrub every week, so do your child’s bath toys. A 2018 study found that the soft plastic the toys are made of are often a breeding ground for different kinds of mold, bacteria, and mildew.
The study found the source and factors of the perfect breeding grounds were made up of four different things: the flexible plastic that the toys are made of are some favorites for microbial growth, the tap water added to the plastic is great for growing mold and mildew, the bathwater with personal care products and bodily fluids add to the growth, and microorganisms from the environment are the last factor in the bacterial growth.
To clean mold or mildew from your bath toys you will want to use either bleach or vinegar. Both of those are great options for cleaning your toys.
While the mold and mildew in these toys are typically not enough to cause harm or make your child sick, there are still concerns about having toys with mold on or in them.
What happens if they squeeze water into the toy and squirt it outside the tub now getting moldy water on your bathroom floor?
Or even worse, what happens if they squeeze water into the toy and use it as a “drink” and squirt the now moldy water in their mouth?
Knowing all of this about mold and mildew growth in bath toys, is it even possible to keep your child’s toys free of mold and mildew? The answer is yes, and even if their favorite bath toy still ends up with mold and mildew, there are ways to clean and sanitize the toys.
To see the most popular bath toys on the market just click here.
How To Clean Bath Toys With Bleach?
Ideally if you find mold on a bath toy, it should be thrown away; however, there are ways to clean them if the toy is sentimental or something your child can’t live without.
You can clean bath toys with bleach by putting them in a mixture of ¾ cup bleach and a gallon of water. Squeeze toys should be squeezed repeatedly in the bleach water to help clean the inside of the toy as well.
For a squeeze toy, never assume that when it looks and feels clean on the outside that it is just as clean on the inside.
It is recommended in order to properly clean the inside of some squirt bath toys to squeeze the solution in and give it a good shake to make sure the inside gets cleaned also.
Once the solution has been squeezed in and out a few times, the toys should be good to soak overnight. After the toys have had a good night’s bleach bath, you can remove them and let them air dry.
If you no longer see any mold or feel the sliminess, your toy is ready to go.
For squeeze toys make sure to rinse the bleach solution out by repeatedly squeezing in freshwater until all of the bleach water is removed from the inside of the toy.
How to Clean Bath Toys With Vinegar?
Vinegar is a great substitute for cleaning bath toys if you do not like to use bleach.
To clean bath toys with vinegar you can make a solution by mixing ½ cup of white vinegar with a gallon of water and allow the toys to soak for about an hour or so.
Once your bath toys have soaked for an hour, you just have to take the toys out and scrub off the mold and mildew and leave them to air dry.
Once dry, if they still smell like vinegar, just give them a good rinse and let them dry completely before use.
Do Foam Bath Toys Get Moldy?
Foam toys are extremely popular for bath playtime as kids love to rub them on themselves and other toys but can these toys get moldy as well?
Unfortunately, foam bath toys can also get moldy if you don’t let them dry out properly. Letting them sit in a container with other toys on top will especially cause them to mold quickly.
One of the most important things to remember with all bath toys, but especially the foam toys, is that they need to be fully dried before next use or even before storing them.
Not only will mold grow if they just stay in the tub never fully drying, they will also grow mold during the drying process if not done properly.
You can either use your dishwasher or washing machine as a place to sanitize and clean the foam toys, or you can just scrub them with soap and water.
However, if you stack and store them somewhere before they are fully dried, the damp foam will still act as a breeding ground for mold.
How Do You Prevent Mold In Bath Toys?
Now that you know bath toys can be a breeding ground for all kinds of mold, bacteria, and mildew, do you just never buy a bath toy again?
No, there are plenty of different ways to be proactive and prevent the toys from becoming dangerously moldy, slimy, and mildewy in the first place.
One of the best ways to prevent mold with bath toys is to be proactive when you get new toys. You can cut the squirt spout to be big enough to get a q-tip or other cleaning swabs in the toys, and this also helps to make sure that all the water is squeezed out after every bath time.
Another way to be proactive right from the start of purchase of these toys is you can also take new bath toys and take a hot glue gun to it and seal the holes before use.
This helps to prevent any water from entering the toy and the toy from becoming a breeding ground for mold.
After each bath, you and your toddler can “give the toys their bath” scrubbing them with soap and water and allowing them to fully dry overnight. Once dry, make sure to store them in a dry place.
Each week you can also be proactive and sanitize the toys. There are many different variations of sanitization.
You can use either a lysol/water mixture, a bleach/water, tea tree oil/water, or even a vinegar/water solution. Whichever you prefer, you can use the mixture to sanitize the toys and help prevent mold build up.
After each bath time, do not leave the toys in the tub or put them in a bucket near the tub. The humidity from bath time is the perfect place for mold to grow.
The best thing to do is to allow them to air dry separate from each other and away from the humidity.