We’ve all been there…. you’re giving your little ones a bath, playing happily, when suddenly there are little black particles floating around in the water. What is it? Chances are if your children are playing with rubber duckies or other squirting bath toys, it’s mold. Gross. So, now what do you do? Well, first, quickly finish washing your kiddos and then it is time to clean bath toys. Mold is generally not harmful, however, it could be if anyone has a mold allergy or is immunocompromised.

Cleaning bath toys for toddlers without harsh chemicals or bleach, natural bath toy cleaning

Cleaning Bath Toys Without Chemicals

Once your children are clean and dry (and perhaps tucked into bed so you can work in peace), it’s time to clean bath toys. Bath toys with tiny holes in them are often able to suck water in, but it’s really difficult to get all of that water back out. This warm, wet environment is the perfect place for mold to grow.

If the bath toy in question is not particularly important to your child or was just a cheap carnival prize, it might be best to toss that toy in the garbage. However, if that rubber ducky is simply your child’s FAVORITE, or was a more expensive bath toy, don’t despair. You CAN get bath toys clean without using bleach!

Clean bath toys using vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, boiling water or a dishwasher

1. Clean Bath Toys with Vinegar

Vinegar is a great alternative to bleach. It has some antibacterial and antiviral properties, and is pretty good at killing mold as well! To clean with vinegar, mix a gallon of water with ½ cup of vinegar. Immerse your bath toys in this solution for one hour. Then, scrub the mold off with a brush and rinse. After that, be sure to dry thoroughly! For squirting toys, be sure to suck up the vinegar solution several times, and squirt it back out.

2. Clean Bath Toys with Hydrogen Peroxide

You can follow a similar procedure with a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. Soak the bath toys for an hour or so, making sure to suck the solution into the toy and squirting it back out. Again, take care to dry the clean bath toys thoroughly.

3. Clean Bath Toys with your Dishwasher

Another cleaning option: run those bath toys through the dishwasher! This *may not* get all the mold out of your rubber ducky, but it does a decent job. If your dishwasher has a sanitize setting, this is an additional measure to kill mold and mildew. Ensure your bath toys are on the top rack to minimize the risk of melting and look at individual toys to find out if they are dishwasher safe.

4. Clean Bath Toys with Boiling Water

One final option: you can boil your bath toys in hot water. This can be time-consuming, depending on how many bath toys you have, but it works! Be sure to use tongs to suck up and squirt out the boiling water. After that, air dry for 24 hours or longer. Voila! Clean bath toys. You did it.

5. Consider Avoiding Squirting Toys All Together

The easiest thing to do to prevent mold growth in your child’s bath toys, though, is to avoid toys that squirt! Let’s face it, it can be annoying to deal with water all over the floor anyway. The absence of squirting bath toys helps prevent mold growth AND preserve your sanity. If you already have bath toys with those tiny holes in the bottom, we have a trick using glue to plug the hole ! This will prevent water from getting in those toys, and therefore, prevent mold growth.

After you have clean bath toys, hang to dry in breathable storage to minimize mold regrowth.

6. Use Breathable Storage for your Freshly Clean Bath Toys

In addition, it’s also a good idea to invest in a breathable storage space for your clean bath toys! Mesh bags work great for this kind of task. They offer the double duty of safely storing toys up and out of the way in the shower, as well as offering plenty of airflow to help toys dry out between uses. Now you can breathe easy because the mold is gone, and once again you have clean bath toys, good as new! Good luck, mama.

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Stacy grew up in Minnesota but spent the next several years of her life traversing the globe, temporarily setting down roots anywhere and everywhere. Stacy is extremely passionate about the world of adoption and foster care, having spent a year in Uganda adopting her oldest daughter in 2008. Stacy married her husband Jesse in 2011, and they moved to Oklahoma City to grow their family. They currently have three children; a 12-year-old girl, a 6-year-old boy, and a 1-year-old boy. Though she will be parenting for the rest of her natural days, she deeply appreciates the age differences between her kids. Stacy obtained a Master’s degree in child psychology in 2007, but currently uses it only on her own children! A stay-at-home mama since Baby #3 was born, Stacy has stayed busy keeping her children alive and relatively entertained. She loves her little crazy crew fiercely and uses writing as her creative outlet. When she’s not chasing her kiddos, Stacy is likely traveling or daydreaming about traveling. She also enjoys coffee shops, copious amounts of “cop drama” shows, and perusing Pinterest for ideas that have little chance of ever getting done. But they’re good to have. Just in case.

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