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 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!
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.
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.