The Best Way To Clean Your Kid's Bath Toys

Anything that lures your recalcitrant child into the bathtub is a bonus. So all hail kid's bath toys. However, that rubber duck, battleship, and floppy book are also a breeding ground for pathogens. Therefore, regularly cleaning those bathing companions is key to having a clean and healthy child. What do all bath toys have in common? They soak in hot water and live in humid bathrooms. Many also have standing water inside, courtesy of holes that enable squeezing, squeaking, and squirting. Bath toys get covered in soap scum and bodily fluids. It is a recipe for a germ fest.

Soiled toys do not have to be a scary prospect. There are steps to prevent the mold's floating black flakes. Parents recommends sealed toys with relatively smooth surfaces. Hard plastic is preferable to flexible, on which fungi and bacteria thrive. Holes can be sealed using hot glue or silicon or can be enlarged for easier cleaning. Chemical and natural cleaners are effective germ killers and toys can be cleaned using appliances, hand-washed, or boiled. Cleaned toys should then be drained, air-dried, and stored outside the bathroom.

Bath toy germs are no laughing matter. ABC 3340 News reported the results of a test using rubber ducks and a block, starfish, and truck. All tested positive for harmful bacteria. Most bath germs won't harm a healthy child, though, and minimal exposure might actually boost immunity. Nonetheless, cleaning the toys daily, and disinfecting weekly, ensures a sanitary and healthy bath experience.

Chemical and natural cleaners

Tainted kid's bath toys are no match for bleach, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, or even dish soap. Bleach is powerful, but should be used with care. Plastic gloves, protective eyewear, and a face mask are warranted, and adequate ventilation is essential. Soak a toy for 10 minutes and drain thoroughly. Beware of damaging fragile toys with bleach.

Vinegar is a less harsh, but also less effective toy cleaner. Toys can be submerged in it for as little as 15 minutes or as long as 24 hours. The Maids recommends a diluted solution of a half cup of white vinegar in a gallon of water. Per WebMD, the acetic acid in vinegar is unable to kill E. Coli or staphylococcus germs but is a potent anti-viral. Kids' toys can be cleaned using a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide, which is effective against viruses, mold, bacteria, and fungi. Dilute it with warm water.

Mum's Grapevine suggests using anti-bacterial and anti-fungal tea tree oil to sanitize those toys. A ratio of 10 drops of oil to four drops of water is advised, to be sprayed on directly. Simply using hot water and dish soap will work to clean toys that are dirty, but not moldy. Going a step further, boiling bath toys is more effective and will clean them inside and out. Hard plastic or foam toys can withstand the hot temperatures, but limit the process to a five-minute submersion. Have tongs handy.

Clean toys using appliances

Appliances and cleansers can team up for a two-pronged attack on toy dirt. Try using a washing machine and laundry detergent, perhaps strengthened with an anti-bacterial additive. Toys should go in a mesh bag, and towels can be added to cushion and quiet. A dishwasher can also serve as a toy washer. Inspect the toy and check instructions, if any, to determine if dishwasher-safe. Put on the top rack because it is cooler, and for draining purposes. WonderBaby asserts that a dishwasher will be effective if any slime or mold is removed ahead of time. Thereafter, a weekly stint in the appliance will prevent a new infestation.

Practically Functional offers an unconventional cleaning method. A steam mop with a detachable water tank can be used as a handheld steamer to sanitize your kid's toys. The water reaches more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit in minutes and converts to steam. Place toys in the sink and, using the nozzle, blast with the hot vapor. Scrub, brush, and dry after. Disinfectant wipes are another implement to use but are limited in that they cannot easily access the inside of toys.

Here are another two ideas pertinent to keeping your kid's toys clean: Regalo Baby points out it may be worth the risk of tears if a dirt and mold-filled favorite is too far gone; it may have to be sacrificed. Another nugget: Bath toy cleaning and maintenance is made easier if you use only one or two per bath.