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How to Clean a Baby Bathtub Safely to Avoid Mould and Bacteria

How often do you clean the family tub? After every use? Once a week? As you know, it’s important to keep the tub clear of soap scum, dirt and other kinds of bacteria that can grow. This is equally, if not more important, with a baby bath.

Their delicate skin requires clean water and gentle soap to hygienically cleanse it, but what about the tub they’re bathing in? Keep reading to find out how to clean a baby bathtub thoroughly enough to give you peace of mind.

Table of Contents

Why We Need to Clean Baby’s Bathtub

You might think that a newborn doesn’t get dirty enough to require a full scrub down of the tub each time they use it. And while it’s true that babies don’t get that dirty, think about the types of dirt that you’re cleaning from them – dried milk, sweat, wee and poop to name a few. 

Now think about what kind of bacteria could grow from those. 

We know that bacteria and mould thrive in warm and wet environments which is exactly the type a bath tub provides. Especially plastic baby baths which can stay warm and wet after the water has been drained away.

Mould can also grow from leftover soap scum. Soap might be used to clean your child but the residue it leaves behind can harbour germs, ideal for mould to thrive on. 

It’s pretty disgusting when you think about it, but these are all things that need to be remembered when you’re doing the mind numbing task of cleaning the baby bath.

When to Clean Baby’s Bath Tub

It’s up to you how often you clean your baby’s tub but there is some recommended advice out there.

  • After every use. Give the tub a quick rub down and rinse each time your baby takes a bath in it. This will get rid of any germs that have been left behind after the water has drained away. Any bath toys should also be given the same treatment, it’s no good cleaning the tub but not their toys.
  • Once a week. The bath tub should be given a thorough deep clean weekly. This means using some kind of cleaner (which will be explained later on) and a cloth or sponge. Again, clean the bath toys using the same method, as long as the cleaner you choose to use is safe and non-toxic.

However, if your baby poops in the bath, a deep clean should be done even if you last thoroughly cleaned it the day before. This is just to ensure that the harmful bacteria from poop doesn’t linger and grow in the tub.

cleaning products to clean baby bathtub

What You Can Use to Clean a Baby Bath

The most obvious solution to use is a bathroom cleaner right? There are plenty of non-toxic, vegan cleaners out there so they should be fine to use on the baby bath tub?


Even if a product is labelled as non-toxic, it will still contain chemicals that could damage the sides of plastic bath tub, making it rough and abrasive. Newborn skin is also very delicate so any additional chemicals could cause any skin conditions to flare up which could cause your baby some discomfort.

There are several homemade cleaners that you could use which are easy to make and safe to use.

White Vinegar

If you’ve ever watched any kind of cleaning TV programme or Instagram reel, you’ll know that white vinegar is highly recommended as a cheap cleaner for use around the home.

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water and spray it onto the tub. Leave it to work for a few minutes and then wipe it off before giving the tub a good rinse.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is another inexpensive ingredient that can be used to clean so many areas of the home. Make up the solution using the same method as the white vinegar (replace the vinegar for lemon juice) and use it in the same way too. 

The bonus is that this method smells way better than the vinegar solution!

Baking Soda

There are two ways in which baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) can be used.

Firstly, sprinkle it into the bottom and on the sides of the tub. Work it into the plastic using a sponge or cloth and then rinse it thoroughly.

The second is to make a paste using baking soda and water. Apply it to the tub, leave it to work before rubbing it away with a sponge and then rinsing it away.

Salt and Lemon

Sprinkle salt into the bottom of the tub and add lemon juice. Gently work it into the bottom and sides of the tub before rinsing the mixture away. Be careful not to use coarse salt or rub too hard as this could cause abrasions on the tub’s surface, something you’re trying to avoid.

clean baby bathtub naturally with lemon, vinegar and baking soda

How to Clean Baby Bathtub Safely

If you’re giving the tub a quick rinse after a bath, all you really need is a cloth, water and a towel to dry it off afterwards. Drain any dirty water away and, using clean water, rub down the bottom and sides of the tub. 

Make sure you do this with any bath toys that were used as well. 

Then dry the tub and toys thoroughly with a clean towel before storing them away in a dry place.

For a deeper clean, this can be done whenever but make sure it’s at least once a week. Make up the natural cleaner of your choice, there’s four options above but use whatever works for you. 

Work the product into the bottom and sides of the tub before leaving it to soak for a few minutes. Rinse the product away with clean water before drying with a clean towel and storing in a dry place. Toys can also be cleaned with the same product and rinsed thoroughly before the next use.

If your baby does poop in the bath or you see any suspicious marks or stains on the tub before it’s due a deep clean, pop on those rubber gloves and get scrubbing. It’s important to clean away any bacteria or germs that could become more serious ASAP before it has the chance to breed.

Frequently Asked Questions

keep baby bathtub clean

How Do You Clean Baby Poop in the Bath?

If your baby poops in the bath, don’t panic. Either use a strainer, net or your hand (if you’re feeling brave!) to scoop out the poop and dispose of it. Wash your hands and remove baby, giving them a quick rinse. 

When your baby is clean, dry and dressed, drain the bath and use a cleaner to give the bath a deep clean. 

How Do You Clean Baby Bath Toys?

Treat bath toys the same way as the tub – a quick rinse after every use but a deeper clean once a week. The key is to make sure they’re dry after each use and clean, especially rubber or plastic ones as they provide a perfect environment for bacteria and mould. Read here for a step by step explanation.

How Do You Clean a Baby Bath Seat?

Baby bath seats should be treated the same way as a baby bath tub. The same natural cleaners can be used on baby bath seats so a quick rinse after each use and a deeper clean once a week is enough to keep it free of harmful germs.

How Do You Clean a Baby Bath Sling?

Most bath slings can be machine washed on a cold setting and then left to air dry. Check the product’s instructions though as they can all vary.

The Bottom Line

As a parent, your top priority is keeping your baby safe in the bath. This includes making sure their environment is free from harmful mould and bacteria. Hopefully, you now know when and how to clean their baby bath tub, something which should become second nature to you and make bath time safer and more enjoyable to you and your baby.