7/16/2012

How & Why to Clean Bath Toys!

We have tons of bath toys and have made a habit of squeezing the water out of each one after each bath but they still get disgusting.  My kids started breaking out in a little rash after their baths and someone mentioned it might be because of mold in their bath toys.  I gathered up all the toys and cleaned them really well and threw a couple of the really nasty ones away. No more rashes!!


I wondered what method of cleaning bath toys worked the best and so I tried a few.  Here is what I tried and how it worked:

Vinegar Cleaning
Vinegar is a wonderful natural disinfectant and is safer than bleach and so I gave this a try first. I mixed 1/2 cup of white vinegar with a gallon of water and let the toys soak for an hour.  I scrubbed the toys down with a sponge and squeezed the water out of each toy and let them dry. This released some of the mold but not all of it so I repeated it again with the same results.

Bleach Cleaning
 I also soaked the toys in 3/4 cup of bleach with one gallon of water. I let the toys soak for an hour, scrubbed them down and squeezed the water out and let them dry.  This seemed to release more mold than the vinegar.  I rinsed the insides of the toys multiple times to rinse the bleach off. 


 These next couple photos are gross but I wanted to show what was in the bath toys.

 This photo shows what came out when I squeezed the bath toy after cleaning....YUCK!

Some of the toys didn't seem to get clean, this is what they looked like after I cleaned them. obviously threw these away.

After spending a couple hours cleaning these bath toys I put a  little bit of glue on the holes of each toy to prevent water from getting in them and me from having to clean them again.  This has been wonderful!!! It has now been 3 months and the glue has successfully stayed on all but one bath toy.  This is seriously the best thing you can do...I would do it as soon as you get a new toy and then you won't even have to worry about cleaning the toys!


FYI: I cleaned 20 bath toys.  I ended up throwing 3 away because I couldn't get the inside of them as clean as I wanted them.  I then glued the holes on the remaining 17 toys. It has been 3 months and I have only had the glue fall off of 1 toy! 
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94 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this blog. Very helpful!

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  2. Anonymous7/17/2012

    great idea!!

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  3. Puffle7/17/2012

    What glue did you use? Can't wait to try this :) thanks!!

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    1. It's not mine but it looks like a regular hot glue gun you can get from any craft store.

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    2. Anonymous7/17/2012

      I always heard that bath toys help build the immune system of a child. Anyone else ever hear this?

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    3. Anonymous7/19/2012

      If it builds the immunity that's just NASTY!!! I've never heard that. You wouldn't want to live in a house full of mold because of what it can do to your lungs so why let your kid(s) swim and suck on mold?
      Heck let them suck on the grocery cart too

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    4. http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:9TUK300pJQYJ:www.lifewhile.com/family/3899140/detail.html+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

      About the building immunity. Had to use the Google cache, as the direct link isn't working.

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    5. That doesn't work either

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    6. I'm not sure about the building immunity part. I haven't heard of it but I wouldn't bank on it. While some germs and bacteria is natural, I don't think you would ever want to ALLOW germs/bacteria grow in an effort to "build" your child's immune system. My suggestion is no.

      I found some more really fun and playful bath toys for kids. You gals should check them out. Some of them are too cute! Whoops, almost forgot to throw in the link. Here it is:

      http://www.tradewindsimports.com/blog/entertainment/make-a-splash-with-these-cool-bath-toys-for-kids/

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  4. Which cleaning method did you like best?

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  5. I always used to put them in boiling water. The yuck came out really easily and the rubbery plastic was made really soft so it was wasy to squeeze the mold out of even the more stubborn toys. Just be careful not to burn yourself. I got in a hurry and squeezed some water out when it was too hot before. :(

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  6. Gosh, I just put some new bath toys in the tub tonight!! Wish I had glued them first - must do this tomorrow!!

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  7. Anonymous7/19/2012

    I wash our bath toys in the dishwasher. Works great!

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  8. Absolutely genius, thank you for sharing...but I'm a bit scared to see what our toys might look like inside. :/

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  9. Awesome idea, thank you for sharing!! Going to glue the new bath toys we just bought this weekend :)

    www.lilmsadventures.blogspot.com

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  10. Thanks for all the great comments and thanks to those who stepped in to answer questions.

    I did use just a normal glue gun. Some of the bath toys have bigger holes and so I glued those in two steps- I filled the hole with glue, let it dry and glued it again.

    I have tried washing bath toys in the dishwasher as well as boiling them, both worked. My favorite way to clean the inside of bath toys is to let them soak overnight in a tub of bleach. You want to make sure the toys are filled with water while they are soaking. Also, be sure to rinse them really well.

    When it comes to cleaning bath toys I really would just skip the whole cleaning step and glue them because it saves so much time and worry.

    Yes, bath toys do help the immune system of a child along with many other things but the mold can be dangerous and so it is important to clean that out.

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  11. Anonymous7/21/2012

    What about squirting toys? Should I glue them shut or keep them able to squirt?

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  12. That is totally up to you. I glued all of the bath toys and then purchased a few new swimming toys...I didn't glue them because my boy loves to squirt em.

    You can find lots of bath toys and pool toys for around $1 so if they get gross and you don't want to deal with cleaning them you can always throw them away.

    You can also glue them and if you want to use them for squirting later just peel the glue off.

    If you do decided to glue them just be sure to glue both holes. The idea is to keep the water out of the toy.

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  13. Anonymous7/23/2012

    After having too many "code browns" in the tub I have our collection of about 25 rubber duckies in the sink getting cleaned then they will be glued shut! Now I don't have to worry about the mold or the "brown" getting inside when she doesn't get to the toilet quick enough. Now I will just have to wipe down the outside and keep going! :) Thanks so much for such wonderful ideas!

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  14. Thanks! This is a great idea!

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  15. Put them in the dishwasher!

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  16. Please, please don't just throw them away. I know they are cheap but the cost of a landfill full of toys is not! And yes for easy upkeep just grab them once in a while (I do it once a month) when you get the dirty washcloths out of the bathroom and put them in the laundry (washer not dryer)! They will stay nice and clean and you don't have to glue them. My baby loves that they squirt! The dishwasher would work too. I don't have one. I got my bath toys out of a big box of toys and things sitting by the dumpster at the dump and I let my baby suck on the grocery cart handle too... He is 14 months and has been sick 2 times. One low-grade fever and one week-long runny nose. I think we as a society have forgotten how immune systems work.

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    1. Anonymous9/06/2012

      Another idea for getting rid of the toys that are too far gone to save is just to recycle them. I agree with you on the landfill situation! I recycle everything humanly possible!! You are also right about people have forgotten how the immune system works! Sheltering children from germs will actually make them prone to getting sick! However, I'd advise wiping down the area around your son in the cart if you don't all ready. Most grocery stores provide cleansing wipes for just that. My friends nephew got deathly ill from from chewing on a shopping cart! Thousands of people touch them and only God knows what some of them have!

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    2. Anonymous9/06/2012

      Another idea for getting rid of the toys that are too far gone to save is just to recycle them. I agree with you on the landfill situation! I recycle everything humanly possible!! You are also right about people have forgotten how the immune system works! Sheltering children from germs will actually make them prone to getting sick! However, I'd advise wiping down the area around your son in the cart if you don't all ready. Most grocery stores provide cleansing wipes for just that. My friends nephew got deathly ill from from chewing on a shopping cart! Thousands of people touch them and only God knows what some of them have!

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    3. Anonymous9/06/2012

      Love your post ladies!

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    4. Anonymous11/27/2012

      Society hasn't 'forgotten' how immunities work, we've just learned more about them.

      Infants have incomplete immune systems. Exposing them to germs does not help 'build immunities' as many people claim. It isn't until they are older toddlers that they begin to develop complete immunities. Before that time, they simply get sick and do not benefit from it. (Meaning they can get the same exact illness again, and just as intensely.)

      Additionally, mold and mildew are not the same thing as viruses or bacteria. It is now thought that repeated exposure to certain molds at an early age can actually make a child more susceptible to an allergy to that particular mold and asthma later in life.

      Whenever people talk about the old days and how things were handled, I'm always surprised that they assume people had as many luxuries as we do today. Kids simply didn't have a bunch of bath toys which could accumulate mold and germs back then. They made do with less. There just is no comparison.

      I would suggest that if you do not want to continually throw away items like this you may want to avoid purchasing them in the first place because they certainly have a life span.

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  17. Melissa7/28/2012

    Ok I found this on pinterest & I was the happiest person ever when I seen your idea. We bought 3 different sets of bath tub style toys at Disney World this year for my 3 year old daughter. She loves them but I was too scared to let her take them in the bathtub because of the mold issue. We spent too much money on them for them to get moldy inside. I eventually let her take her little mermaid & flounder one to the pool. I hate worrying about them getting moldy inside if she happened to get one in the tub so as soon as I seen this I grabbed my glue gun & her 3 bags of toys & went to work. She helped me out by handing them to me & thought it was cool to watch...they are all glued & ready to go!! She's excited to take them in the tub tonight. Thank you!! It's such a brilliant idea!

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    1. Anonymous7/30/2012

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  18. So glad you found it and that is helped. It has given me some peace of mind too!

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  19. This is genius, I love it!!! I'm totally repinning this!

    Anna
    www.askannamoseley.com

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  20. Anonymous8/24/2012

    OMG WOW. Thanks so much for the hint to glue them! I would have never thought of that and I always worry about my baby girl getting that mold. I remember my toys getting moldy when I was little, and that glue tip will definitely ease my mind A LOT!!

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  21. Anonymous9/06/2012

    What did the rash look like?

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  22. It almost looked like a heat rash...

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  23. Anonymous9/09/2012

    I loved seeing this pin cause my son loves rubber ducks and we just replaced the last batch of ducks. So when we bought new ones we got a glue gun and glue hoping that he leaves the glue in.

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  24. Anonymous9/11/2012

    My son gets the rash! I clean and squirt out the toys regularly, so we will be using glue from now on as clearly I'm not cleaning them well enough! Thanks for the tip! The most simple ideas are sometime the hardest to find :-)

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  25. Building up immune systems are one thing, but letting your child suck on a grocery cart handle that THOUSANDS of people have touched is ABSOLUTELY disgusting. Do you have any idea how many men have used the bathroom and not washed their hands!!! Seriously.

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  26. I have also had an idea similar to this, I sealed up our dozens of rubber duckies with food safe grade silicone caulking, same idea, different product, same fantastic results!

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  27. Anonymous10/16/2012

    How can you tell if their is mold in the toys. I have soaked my childs toys in bleach several times just because I know its possible to get mold but I haven't seen any brown spots on the toys. I am just worried that I am missing a lot of mold that may be inside the toys. I would hate to scrap all his toys and start over.

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  28. If you can't see it, that's a good thing:) I couldn't always see the mold from the outside but when I would squeeze the water out of the toys at the end of my kiddos bath I would see tiny dark specks come out with the water...I soon found out those specks were mold.

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  29. Anonymous10/17/2012

    Thanks for.this post. I.was.about.to throw out all the.bath toys!! I will try.cleaning.them first!!!

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  30. Anonymous10/17/2012

    Just an idea, if disposing of the toys, your local animal shelter would love them! And keeps them out of landfills! (goes for stuffed animals too!)

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  31. Thanks for sharing these tips!!

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  32. I did the hot glue in my dd's toys this past week, and the glue is already started falling off someone them. What temp glue gun did you use? I'll never understand why they leave the holes open for bath toys.

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  33. I am not sure the temp of the glue gun I used...it's a smaller glue gun used for crafting so I am sure it's not a super hot temp. I did do layers of glue in the bath toys with bigger holes. They have held up really well...most of the toys have the original glue from before I posted. I am not sure what to suggest except: maybe try layering the glue. Good Luck!

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  34. BRILLIANT! Can't wait to give my sweetie her bath toys back! =) Thank you soooo much! =)

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  35. Thanks for the tips! :)

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  36. I had to figure this out the hard way too. I didn't think of gluing the holes (duh!), but I did start shopping for bath toys without holes in them. They do exist: foam toys, hard plastic toys, and even found some duckies! Happy searching!

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  37. Cleaning the bath toys is SO very important but I would caution anyone against using bleach. No matter how many times you rinse the toys and no matter how hot the water is, that bleach is now a permanent part of the toy and likely will go right into your little one's mouth.

    There are a germicides on the market that do NOT use chlorine or other bleaching agents and they are safe and approved by the EPA. I think the glue is a great idea to keep water out, but I would worry about it coming out of the hole and being swallowed.

    The best bet is to buy toys without any holes to begin with. Funny how our parents didn't worry about these things when we were kids. Good luck!

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  38. My SIL plugged up the bath toys using clear silicone caulk. No issues with it coming off. Works with the Little People toys so that the kids can take them in tub too.

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  39. Our local public swimming pool has cut much bigger holes in the bottom of their toys, about 3/4" diameter. This allows the kids to still play squirting games, experiment with making them sink or float, etc. I decided to try it myself, and it has worked brilliantly - not only are they much easier to clean when needed, but the water inside drains out without me having to squeeze it out, and the inside dries naturally, so no mould has even grown. I highly recommend it!

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    1. I would have never thought to do that...what a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

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  41. I got a few of these for my kids after I saw the black stuff squirt out of their toys... http://www.amazon.com/Sassy-Stay-Clean-Silly-Squirts-Water/dp/B004AHMCNM/ref=sr_1_37?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1361162818&sr=1-37 ...they actually come apart so you can clean them out really well. But I like the idea to glue the ones that don't come apart!

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  42. Thanks for this post. I was debating about vinegar or bleach and it's great that someone else has tried both!

    I am also glad so many other people who replied mentioned landfills. Most plastics can be recycled. And now, I'll start thinking about animal shelters too :)

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  44. Jfyi, when you use bleach to get rid of mold, it simply 'bleaches' the mold. Meaning it is still there but you cannot see it. You need detergent to properly clean mold.

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  45. I love the idea of cleaning the bath toys but there is no way in hell id let my babies suck on the shopping cart handle. Real nice way to get them stuck with some nasty disease like hep or something that's just wrong on so many levels. How do you know someone didn't just take a crap without washing their hands, grab a cart, put it back and now your babies sucking on it ? Gross !!!!!!

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  46. Brillant! I sent this to my daughter for my Grandsons bath toys!

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  47. Great tips! Thanks! I'm going to try the glue trick. ~Jamie w/ craftjunkie444.wordpress.com

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  54. I put ours through the dishwasher!

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  57. Thank you so much everyone this is really helpful. all I have are the squirt toys and my son loves them but they get so gross. I'm going to try to vinegar since it is safer. but has anyone tried bleach and vinegar together?

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  58. Thanks for your wonderful post, As a parents at least we need to know how to clean our children toys i proper way, Before I look for best toys for 2 year olds for my son I try to find out how to clean those and google bring me here to you post.

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  59. I am so glad I found this. My mom gave us tons of rubber uckies and they all have gotten nasty and moldy of like the 30 we had I think we only have 10 left. I love the hot Glue idea. Going to start doing that to all the toys!

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  60. If you’re in doubt of any unpleasant growth in your house, you should simply assume there is a problem whenever you see mold or smell mold odors. Testing should never take the place of visual inspection (which is recommended) and it should never use up resources that are needed to correct moisture problems and remove visible growth.
    People used to think that molds were harmless but it isn’t. The fact is, some molds produce a toxin called aflatoxin (toxic and among the most carcinogenic substances known) that causes illness and death in people.
    Sometimes, mold growth is hidden and difficult or hard to locate and find. In such cases, carefully conducted sampling and visual inspection may help determine the location of contamination. However, mold testing is rarely useful for trying to answer questions or inquiries about health concerns. For more information, see mold testing services

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  67. If you don't want to glue them when you soak them just squeeze them in the water solution to suck it up in them so more solution has a chance to clean!

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  68. About gluing the hole shut. Y is the hole there in the first place? Is there some reason u need the hole?

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  69. For some of the toys that I couldn't get all of the mold out of, I ended up using them as decoration in my daughter's bathroom. She loves to look at them on the shelves when she is taking her bath. I think i will try boiling them and putting tacky glue in the deep grooves of the toys when I first get new ones next time. Those always seem like the toughest parts to clean. But I definitely like to recycle things for other purposes and hate throwing stuff away! Thanks for all of these great ideas! I hope this helps some of you all too!

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  72. Yuck mold! Sealing toys is the best option. There are ways to eradicate the mold too. I find cleaning bath toys gross, but necessary.

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