Toys used in the bath seem like they would never need an additional washing, but continuously being in a moist, warm environment can make these toys a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Usually, bath toys are fine on the outside, but toys that get lots of water inside them, like rubber duckies and squeaky toys, can grow mold on the inside. Cleaning them every two weeks or so can help prevent this.
General Cleaning and Mold Prevention:
Soap and water are fine for the outer surfaces that can be scrubbed, but those squeaky toys with a small hole in them need something a little stronger to get the places you can’t reach.
First, scrub the toy’s outside with an old toothbrush or dish scrubber (potato scrubbers work great!), then make a cleaning solution with one of the methods below.
Vinegar: Fill your bathroom sink (or large bowl) with water and add 1 cup white vinegar. If the toys are beginning to have a mildew smell, you can use straight white vinegar without any water. If you choose not to dilute the vinegar, we suggest wearing gloves as vinegar can irritate skin.
Bleach: Mix ¼ teaspoon bleach to 1 quart cool water. If the toys are already growing mold, scroll down to see ways you can use that might let you save the toy.
Hydrogen Peroxide: You can use Hydrogen Peroxide straight from the bottle without diluting it, but we found that using a 50/50 mix of Hydrogen Peroxide and water every two weeks works just fine, too.
Suck up the cleaning solution into the toy several times, squeezing out as much as you can between each round. On the last round, let the solution sit inside the toy for a few minutes before squeezing out. Leave to dry someplace that has a breeze. A windowsill works great, but if that’s not an option, turn on the bathroom vent, or place the toys in front of a fan. Increased air circulation will help drying process, which will in turn help keep down the chance of mold.
TIP: Bath toys can last longer if they are given chances to fully dry out. If possible, store bath toys in a hallway or someplace outside the bathroom. If there isn’t extra storage room, try keeping the toys in a mesh bag and hanging them up on a towel hook when not in sure. Storing them in a hallway or somewhere outside of the bathroom can help with this.
If you find that your squeaky bath toys start growing slime that can’t be gotten rid of, there may be a way to save them. Try cutting an X where the hole is so that you can fit a toothbrush into the toy. If scrubbing the inside of the toy still doesn’t get it fully clean, it may be time to retire that toy from bath time. Making it an outdoor toy gives kids the chance to play with it while hopefully decreasing the chance that anyone drinks the water from inside the toy.
Glue can be put over the hole in squeaky toys to keep water from getting inside them in the first place. Use a hot glue gun, or some water-proof caulk and seal over the hole. The toys won’t be able to squeak, but they also won’t grow anything inside them.
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