Playing with toys in the tub can make bath time fun but whilst rubber ducks and plastic boats might look clean on the outside, they can be hiding a nasty surprise on the inside.
Mould in bath toys and bacteria build-up are an all too common occurrence as the toys fill with the soapy, used bathwater and are left in the humid bathroom environment once bath time is over. Pair this with a lack of air circulation and it makes for the ideal breeding ground.
Don't worry though, we have compiled some tried and tested methods for cleaning bath toys so that you never have to fear when your little ones reach for their favourite bath time plaything.
Why Mould Is A Problem
Mould is problematic for a variety of reasons. It can cause respiratory issues, provoke allergies and cause eye and ear infections. While mould can affect anyone of any age, it can be more serious for those with weaker immune systems such as children. As children also tend to place bath toys in their mouths and squirt water from the toy that can already be carrying bacteria, it is best to tackle mould as soon as you spot it.
They say prevention is better than cure, and that is certainly the case with keeping bath toys clean. To stop mould forming in the first place, we have a few top tips that can keep toys clean with minimal effort.
Many bath toys, especially squeaky ones, feature a tiny hole on the bottom which although fun to squirt water out of, provides the perfect entry point for murky water to get into the toy. This water is difficult to remove and creates the perfect conditions for mould to grow. One way to stop water getting into bath toys is to simply plug the hole with hot glue to create a watertight seal.
After a bath, storing toys correctly can also really help keep mould at bay. Take each bath toy out of the tub and squeeze as much water out as you can. Dry each one thoroughly and then make sure you leave them with the hole facing up in a netted bag or a slatted storage tub to allow water to evaporate. You can even make this a fun part of the bath routine and get your children to join in!
If your rubber duck has greying feathers or you have a mermaid with a discoloured tail, then this is indicative that mould has already started growing inside the toy. All is not lost, however, as there is a range of natural ingredients and cleaning solutions that you can use to get them back to being mould free bath toys.
Bleach: As a known mould buster, bleach is an effective bath toy cleaner. All you need to do is leave the afflicted toys soaking in a bleach bath overnight and this allows the bleach time to get inside. Use four teaspoons of bleach for every litre of water, ensure that you rinse the toys thoroughly several times after bleaching, and leave to dry before their next use.
Vinegar: If you don't want to use bleach, white vinegar is an excellent natural cleaning agent. Mix approximately 120ml vinegar into 4.5 litres of water and leave the toys soaking for about an hour. Then, scrub them to loosen the mould before rinsing and leaving to dry.
You might be wondering how to clean bath toys using your household appliances, but there are ways! Popping them into the dishwasher kills mould and bacteria lurking inside to leave them sanitised and clean. It is recommended you place them on the top rack and use your regular detergent.
You can also use your washing machine to clean bath toys. Place the toys you want to clean in a mesh laundry bag, ensuring they have enough room to move and then run a standard cleaning cycle. Make sure that the temperature isn't too hot though - no one likes melted ducks!
When To Clean Bath Toys
How to clean bath toys, and how often to do so depends on how much they are used but a general rule of thumb is to give them a clean once a week. A key aspect of keeping them clean, however, will be making sure as much water as possible is removed from each toy after use.
The best way to clean bath toys will be down to personal preference but with the tips and tricks you now have up your sleeve, we are sure it will be a quick and simple task.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it's important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
Kidadl is supported by you, the users. When you buy through the links on our site we may earn a commission.
All prices and product availability were correct at the time of publication.
We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.