In this article, we’ll be covering the best ways to clean baby bath toys, including the why and how, so you can have peace of mind that you’re giving your child the safest bath time possible.
You might think that a toy that’s played with in the bath would be clean as it’s being dunked in and out of soapy water. But it’s actually the opposite. A study from 2018 found that bath toys are actually the perfect breeding ground for germs and organisms, not to mention the presence of *ahem* other bodily matter.
If you look closely at your child’s bath toys, you’ll see that they usually have small holes on the underside which are there to ensure water is squeezed out after your kid is bathed. However, water can still be left inside and mould can grow. Have you ever seen black specks floating in your child’s bath water? That will have come from the inside of the bath toy and now your kid is bathing in mouldy water. It’s gross really, isn’t it?
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Why you need to clean baby bath toys
The idea of bathing in mould would fill most of us with dread and disgust. After all, how are you supposed to get clean if you don’t start out with clean water?
Bath toys don’t seem like they’d cause your child’s bath to become dirty, but they’re filled with microscopic mould spores which can aggravate allergies, cause respiratory problems and can cause other health problems in those with weak immune systems, such as children.
Think about the ideal growing conditions for mould: they need warm, damp and dark spaces to thrive. Now think about the inside of a bath toy. It’ll be warm from the temperature of the bath, damp from the presence of water and dark because they’re sealed. It’s highly likely that mould will grow inside at least one of your child’s bath toys or bath mat.
Look at the video below of a rubber duck being cut in half. You can clearly see the mould and bacteria that has been growing inside for quite some time. That’s not something you want your child to put in their mouth or bathe with, is it?
5 best ways to clean baby bath toys
Luckily for you, there are loads of ways for you to clean those pesky bath toys so you don’t have to worry any more. Our best ways to clean baby bath toys are below.
- Dishwasher: One of the easiest ways is to pop them into the dishwasher on a quick, hot cycle. Obviously make sure that they’re in there on their own but once they’re inside and you’ve turned it on, you can forget about them which is ideal for busy parents.
- Vinegar or sterilising tablets: If you don’t have a dishwasher, simply filling a sink with hot water and adding either vinegar (2 cups of white or cider vinegar to 5 litres of water is perfect) or sterilising tablets, the kind you can get to clean baby bottles with. Leave them to soak over night and then let air dry.
- Bleach: Another way is to clean them with bleach. But you need to be careful with this method and make sure that the bath toys are rinsed thoroughly before you give them back to your children. Simply add ¾ cup of bleach to around 4 litres of water and leave to soak for 10 minutes in a well ventilated room. If the toys you’re cleaning have holes in, fill the toy with the bleach solution so the mould can be killed inside as well. Rinse through several times with clean water to get rid of the bleach and they should be free of germs.
- Boiling: Boiling the toys is a good way if you’ve got hard plastic toys. This is another method that will clean the toys inside as well without the addition of bleach. This does mean that the clean might not be as thorough but it’s potentially less harmful. Simply add the toys to a pot of boiling water, leave inside for a few minutes, lift out with tongs and let them air dry.
- Disinfectant wipes: But if you’re strapped for time and don’t want to leave the toys to soak or put them in the dishwasher, cleaning the outside with a disinfectant wipe is better than nothing until you can do a more thorough clean on all of the toys.
How to avoid mould in the first place
As discussed, a lot of bath toys have holes in them. This is where a lot of the mould can start from so sealing up that hole is a good start. Use a hot glue gun to dab onto the hole and you’ll have created a waterproof seal that will stop any water going inside the toy. It’ll stop your child being able to squirt water around your bathroom but they’ll be safer.
Also, get a storage solution for the toys. They usually suction to the walls of the bath and the water drains from the toys while they’re being stored, meaning mould is less likely to grow. This one is ideal because it allows you to scoop the toys from the bath and then attaches to the wall. If you have time, wipe them over with a disinfectant wipe or a spray and cloth when they’re dry.
One of the simplest ways to avoid mould is to not buy toys where water can pool. Rubber ducks are cute but as we now know, they’re ideal for mould. Think hard plastic stacking cups or foam letters and numbers which are ideal for learning with while in the bath too.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of bath toys are easiest to keep clean?
Hard plastic ones are ideal. There aren’t any holes for the water to get into and they can be cleaned easily, even with just a disinfectant wipe. You could also invest in some bath books if you’ve got younger children. Simply hang them over a towel rail when you’re done and wipe down when dry.
What is the black stuff that comes out of bath toys?
The black stuff that you see floating in your child’s bath water is mould, or more specifically, funghi. As discussed above, bath toys are the ideal environment for these organisms to grow and the more you can do to prevent it, the better.
How dangerous is the black mould in kids bath toys?
The small amounts that your child is exposed to during bath time don’t pose a huge risk to the average child. However, this isn’t to say that they can’t or won’t cause harm. They can make an existing condition, such as an allergy or respiratory issues, worse. To minimise this, clean the toys as often as you can and follow the steps we’ve outlined above.
How often do I need to clean bath toys?
Use a disinfectant wipe every time your child has used the toys. Let them air dry and then go over with a wipe or a multi-surface spray and cloth. For more in depth cleaning, using the methods above, we would recommend doing this weekly.
Do I need to get rid of bath toys with black mould?
If you’ve tried everything to clean the toys and you still feel that they’re mouldy or aren’t clean enough, throw them out and buy new ones. But try everything you can first as throwing perfectly good toys away isn’t good for the environment, or your wallet!
Bath time is supposed to be fun, not a place riddled with mould and germs. It’s pretty easy keeping your child’s bath toys clean is you follow one of our best ways to clean baby bath toys. We know it’s another thing for you to add to your never ending list but it’s better to be safe than sorry.