Cleaning Bath Toys

Updated on March 16, 2008
S.B. asks from Pickerington, OH
50 answers

Does anyone have a suggestion on the best way to clean bathtub toys. My son loves playing with toys in the tub but it seems they always have mildew inside. We have avoided him playing with them for the time being until I can figure out a solution. I make sure I always drain the water out of them and we store them in a mesh bag for additional draining. I don't want to use any harsh products because my son still chews on everything. Any suggestions would be great?

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So What Happened?

I tested a few suggestions. I washed all of the toys in the dishwasher. That did not help with removing the inside mildew. I then put half of the toys in bleach water and the other half in vinegar water. The vinegar water mixture also didn't remove all of the mildew, but the bleach water mixture removed all of the mildew stains. I plan on sealing the toys with a glue gun now that they are all clean.

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S.B.

answers from Toledo on

Honestly nothing really works well enough. I finally gave up the endless vinigar solution and tried bleach only to worry about it not being rinced out well enough. I decided to toss the ones with mildew and go to the dollar store for more. Once every two months or so I just replace. I know this is not very eco friendly however it worked for my balance of time and money spent on safe toys. Don't feel bad, just replace them. It takes too long to get them clean enough.

1 mom found this helpful
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V.E.

answers from Indianapolis on

I would like to know that answer as well!! I have put them in a hot wash with bleach,I dont think it really worked?

1 mom found this helpful
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L.K.

answers from Fort Wayne on

Vinegar!
Great for cleaning just about anything... safe, nontoxic, and good for the environment. You can't go wrong! Try googling "uses for vinegar", you'll have a lot of results!

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T.G.

answers from Columbus on

Safe and Natural cleaning solution:
1C Hot Water
1C White Vinegar
1/2 C. Lemon Juice (Real Lemon in the juice isle is cheapest way)
1 Drop Dish Soap
Put ingredients in a spray bottle.

To clean toys that have mildew now:
Run Tub 1/4 full (about 2 inches deep) of hottest water your tap will run. Add 2 C vinegar 1 1/4 C lemon juice and 3 drops dish soap. Put all your toys in. Let bath come to room temp.; drain.
Make a paste with baking soda and water and srub toys that still have mildew.

I do the later in my tub every few days - and we never have a mildew or soap scum problem (other than on a defective toy duck that water got inside it and I couldn't fix that one, so I threw it out). Doing it every few days keeps us from every having a problem w/ mildew or soap scum in our tub or on toys and I rarely need to scrub.

Hope this helps!
t

3 moms found this helpful
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C.B.

answers from Lafayette on

i've worked in the medical field for 10 yrs now & the best thing i can tell you is to let the toys that can't get water inside soak in a 5 gal. bucket after you place the toys in it, fill it with water to 2 in below the rim thenput 2 cap fulls of bleach for 2 days, then let them air dry. as for the toys that can get water inside trash them..if you could look under a microscope & see everything nasty swirling around in them, you'd lose your lunch. also, i know he might like playing in a bubble bath, but hold off on the bubbles until he's ready to get bathed & finished playing..new studies have come out that have shown bubble baths for girls, boys, men, & women can cause all kinds of infections of the skin, such as eczema, yeast, & so on. good luck.

1 mom found this helpful
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A.N.

answers from Cincinnati on

S.,

Below is off of www.qznaz.com. I agree with rinsing the bath toys and letting them dry. However I don't agree with using bleach. I work with an International Wellness store and one of their amazing products is Sol-U-Gard Botanical. This is the first Botanical Disinfectant to be approved by the EPA. Sol-U-Gard can be used in a wide variety of places and is effective on hard non-pourous surfaces including childrens toys. If you are interested in more information I can email you a product brochure. I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.

A.

www.qznaz.com
After researching the mold/mildew issue for some time in an effort to avoid using chlorine bleach (for environmental reasons), I've concluded that the only answer to mold/mildew is bleach. Chlorine bleach is sure-fire; hydrogen peroxide might work if it's high-strength. I'd soak the toys in a bleach solution for as long as it takes to get rid of the mold/mildew. (You may need to use an old toothbrush to get into crevices.) Then I'd rinse the bath toys carefully, and air them in the sun, before giving them back to the children.
www.qznaz.com

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K.F.

answers from Indianapolis on

Seems to be nothing you can do for the squirties--which they love! I just buy cheap ones and toss them when they start to mold. Otherwise, keep to toys that don't have one small drian hole like the squirties,ones that are more open like plastic boats, cups, funnels, even the cloth bath toys that you because they seem to dry ok (plus you could toss them in the washer). Try for ones that are one piece of molded plastic and aviod ones with one or a few small holes for draining--they're the ones that tend to mold no matter what you do.

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K.N.

answers from Cleveland on

the dishwasher or the washing machine should both help out some but really if they can get water inside them you are going to get mold, i finally broke down and let my kids have plastic kitchen items to play with because at least they couldn't get moldy.

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M.M.

answers from Cleveland on

I was thinking the same thing with the toys and tub. I was just using soap and water. I found an organic cleaner for the tub with no chemicals.
M.

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J.O.

answers from Cleveland on

I scrub the tub out and then usually fill the tub with hot bleach water after , once a week and let his toys soak for a while and then rinse them throughly it keeps them clean and also sanitizes the tub at the same time.

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N.R.

answers from Elkhart on

At our house, I have had some luck with soaking the toys in a vinegar/water solution before throwing them in the dishwasher or washing machine. At least for me just throwing them in the dishwasher isn't enough to get that mildew off.

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T.M.

answers from Terre Haute on

I know you said no harsh products but I use bleach too. I fill the sink with hot bleach water and soak them. I go in every so often and suck the bleach water up in them and squirt it out several times just to make sure the insides get clean. I shake them with the solution in them too. Then rinse and done. Hope this helps. Shannon

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A.S.

answers from Evansville on

I run mine through the dishwasher on the top rack.

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4.

answers from Toledo on

Sturdy Fisher-Price toys can be run through the dishwasher! It doesn't hurt to give them a scrubbing first with dishsoap and water.

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C.K.

answers from Evansville on

If you mix a little bit of any type of vinegar with hot water and then suck it up into the toy, shake and rinse once a fortnight this should eliminate a huge build up of mould. Bleach and water would be best but rinse rinse rinse! Mould on a small scale will not be harmful. All the best and good luck!
Courts

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T.S.

answers from Columbus on

I usually put my daughter's bath and other toys in the dishwasher. She also has the foam tub letters, I just let those soak in dish soap for an hour or two.
Hope this helps.

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R.M.

answers from Indianapolis on

I would try soaking them in water with white vinegar added. See if that will work. I need to do this also for my sons toys.

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S.K.

answers from Cleveland on

let me know what you end up trying b/c i;m having this same problem. and i don't want to use bleach or anything toxic. my son puts everything in his mouth. and i don't want to throw away all the toys

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C.D.

answers from Cincinnati on

Step,
You can put them into the dishwasher if you have one or
once a week put into bleach sudsy hotwater just make sure
you rinse them good before the baby plays with it.

C. Delomas
[email protected]____.com

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M.L.

answers from Cincinnati on

I heard that a vinegar/water solution does the trick. Vinegar kills the mold and does not have the harmful chemicals of bleach. Just soak them overnight every couple of weeks or so.

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M.L.

answers from Fort Wayne on

I would either soak them in a bleach and water solution, or (what I would do) run them through the dishwasher.

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L.G.

answers from Cleveland on

Since he can live without them temporarily, I would soak them in chlorine bleach water (as long as their not spongy). Then rinse them throughly several times and then soak them in a bucket of hot water. Finally, let them air dry. He should be fine putting them in his mouth after that.

Think about it, if you have City Water there will be diluted amounts of chlorine in it. Also, if you were to go to a city pool and he drinks the water by mistake - there are higher levels of chlorine in that. He'll be fine. Good luck!

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K.B.

answers from Cincinnati on

I have turned to the more hard plastics for bath toys like boats and such to use....they don't get as yucky as fast. :) For the smaller ones that hold water more, we buy from the dollar store and only let him have a few at a time. When they get yucky, I throw them out and get more out.

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F.M.

answers from Columbus on

State daycare licensing requires water toys, such as bath toys, to be soaked in water with a few drops of bleach. It will not harm your son as no residue is left behind. In addition, it will help to break up the mildew inside of the toys. It is truly the only safe alternative for ensuring cleanliness. In the future, I would recommend that parents consider only bath toys that do not have small squirt holes. It is hard to get ahead of the mildew no matter how diligent you are about hanging them to dry.

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J.T.

answers from Dayton on

Usually I recommend cleaning any and all toys in a bleach water solution and then you can rinse them really good to get the bleach off of them and lay them out to dry. I have heard of some people who run their toys through the dishwasher, but I have not tried that one. Hope this helps.

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C.D.

answers from Canton on

We use Shaklee's Basic H to clean everything. It's great on the toys and as with all our products, it's non toxic.(Oprah has featured our Get Clean Products on her show 4 times in the last year) Once a week or so I use Shaklee's Basic G (germicide) to prevent the mildew, etc. We are Shaklee distributors if you would like a sample to try. ###-###-####)

C. dutka

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S.L.

answers from Indianapolis on

I'm with the moms on the bleach water, I even do that with the shower curtain (those things are loaded with germs!), the liners you can replace for a few dollars but actual nice shower curtains can be a little salty on pricing.

Soak in hot water with some chlorine bleach, I squeeze the toys to make sure the water gets inside, and rinse them real well.

I have found that almost every bath toy that my son has had has this problem, you just have to clean them frequently to keep the mildew from growing. He has never been bothered by the bleach, just rinse real well and there should be no worries

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B.M.

answers from Lima on

The mildew never ends. I have gone through so many bath toys due to the same problem. I also put them in the dishwasher. You can buy soft toys (like the rubber duckies) that are not open at the bottom (so water can not get in). I have found that my girls love the different size cups and they also do not hold water. Good luck toy hunting.

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K.W.

answers from Cleveland on

This is tough one as we had one that put everything in the mouth, also! Assuming you're talking about the animal, squeezy type of bath toys and the like that are not one solid piece or are one piece but have a hole in the bottom....there's no way to avoid that unless you put them in a pillow case and throw them in the dryer. Even still, that's a lot of time and $$ spent on drying little toys. We resorted to keeping a stash of extras from the dollar stores and replaced them every few weeks. Another thing that worked for us was playing with stacking cups or even just regular, short plastic cups to fill each other, which also helped getting used to having hair washed and water in the face (I've had many cups of water dumped on my head so show that it is okay! ;) ) as well as the scrubbie net sponges that have the animals on the top and puppet washcloths. All those can be thrown in the dishwasher/washer/dryer.

Good luck.....it isn't really a bath unless you get to play. I believe that fun baths really do make for a children that aren't afraid of the water....we have a five-year-old "fish"!

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D.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

When they get mildew and mold in them throw them away. Bath toys aren't that expensive and it's not safe.

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C.P.

answers from Indianapolis on

I am from the UK but I managed this for my grandchildren by putting the damp toys in what we call an "airing cupboard". This is usually where the water tank is and is a very warm cupboard for the laudry. This dries them totally with no residue water left

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R.G.

answers from Cleveland on

I've found if I run them through the dish washer with or with out soap and let them dry it seems to help. Put them on the top rack of the dishwasher, otherwise the heating element may melt them. Once they are dry, I lay them out and give a light spray with Lysol. By evening bath time they are ready to go. I do this once a week some times every two weeks seems to keep them pretty clean. Hope this helps. Also, if you don't have a dishwasher you can put them in boiling water for a few seconds pull them out and put them in a dishdrainer to be sure all the water is out they dry rather quickly. One last tip- If you use sponges to wipe down your counters etc. you can put them in the microwave for 30 sec this kills all the bacteria.
R. G.

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J.V.

answers from Columbus on

If you have a dishwasher, I would use it! I periodically through my daughters toys in the top rack of the dishwasher. Teething rings, hard plastic toys, and bathtub toys. It seemed to always work great!

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J.O.

answers from Cincinnati on

Soak your bath toys a couple times a week in cider vinegar and water. Cider vinegar is great used on any mildew areas inside and out. I keep a spray bottle of water and vinegar and spray bathtub, walls in the bathroom, outside on walls that mildew etc. You can even spray the toys after each use. They will dry, the vinegar smell will fade and the vinegar is harmless. It will not leave a taste afer it drys.

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M.M.

answers from Indianapolis on

At the end of the bath we add dish soap to the bathwater and let them soak in that while we dry and dress the kids. Then we rinse and set them out to dry. We haven't had a problem with mildew yet!

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I.P.

answers from Columbus on

If you take a hot glue gun and seal the holes on the toys then the water can't get in and they won't get mildew in them. My son didn't really care if they squirted when he was younger so it worked for us.

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N.E.

answers from Indianapolis on

I stick mine in the dishwasher at least once a week.

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S.L.

answers from Cincinnati on

I am a mother of 3 boys and have never found a great solution other than bleaching them occasionally. You might try a hydrogen peroxide/water mix if you want something more gentle. My best advice is don't use any tub toys that have holes in them! Stick to things that pour like cups and small pails.
Hope this helps you!
S.

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K.K.

answers from Indianapolis on

Hi S.!

I stopped using those toys completely the first time they felt slimey. I now buy the tub crayons and that keeps my daughter busy for the entire time.

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C.M.

answers from Indianapolis on

I know exactly what you are talking about....I found the best product that is not harsh and takes care of the mildew is a product called L.O.C. If you want more information on it just message me and I will get it to you right away.

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M.H.

answers from Cleveland on

The first suggestion I have is to remove them from the mesh bag! We also use to stored my son's bath toys in a mesh bag. We started storing them under the sink in an open plastic bin with holes, after thoroughly drying them. We haven't had mildew issues since. If there is mildew inside of them it may not come out and you might be best off to through them away. We boiled them in HOT water on the stove and some came clean and others didn't. We also ran them through the dishwasher. Hope this helps!

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L.M.

answers from Cleveland on

If they are the squeezy toys, the best solution is to squeeze all the water out of them EACH time they are used and let them dry. Not fun! But it solves the problem. I would only use a limited amount of bleach once or twice a month if you feel that is needed.

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S.M.

answers from Columbus on

clean with vinager, then rinse with hot water before letting baby plays with them

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T.J.

answers from Cincinnati on

I got rid of all the toys that are squeeky or you can squeeze.....they all hold bacteria inside....the black and even clear mold/bacteria can cause boyles on their little butts. So I only allow my son to play with hard toys...little miniture Diego and Dora...etc...animals....etc. Then I just soak them with Bleach on a regular basis....right in the tub.

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M.N.

answers from Cincinnati on

We have used Soft Scrub (without bleach)by Dial and limited the toys to ones that do not collect water inside them. You can scrub the ones you have with an old toothbrush then rinse thoroughly. That is what my preschool also used (but it was a few years back). I still use soft scrub for my daily kitchen counter cleaning and to scrub corelle/corningware baked on foods.

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J.M.

answers from Toledo on

I used to run them through the dishwasher every once in a while when my kids were little. You can try to soak them in a bucket of peroxide, too! Sometimes you just have to replace them once it is inside it is hard to clean out.

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D.H.

answers from Cleveland on

I have had the same problem. What I have found to work is putting the toys in the dishwasher or I use bleach water and then let them air dry. If I can't get all the mold out of the squishing toys I end up throwing them away and I also use toys that can't get water inside. I hope this helps!

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S.D.

answers from Indianapolis on

2 suggestoins:
1) Clorox's new anywhere cleaner or new rgeen cleaners
2) mouth wash!

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A.K.

answers from Youngstown on

Honestly, when you get that mildew junk in there, it is best to just toss and start over. I know, pain in the butt, but I have read lots of articles about bath toys carrying nasty stuff that the kids can catch because of the mildew and mold.

Someone once told me a clorox/bleach mixture possibly, and ones that don't have holes...to get mildew..maybe in the dishwasher where they can get cleaned at a high temp.

I hope this helps!

I.B.

answers from Saginaw on

Hi, I had issues with these things too. I haven't really heard of children getting sick from their bath toys, and I know for a fact that a lot of people don't ever worry about the mold in these toys, but I think it's pretty yucky.

I just wanted to say in response to the folks who are suggesting "throw them out when they get gross"- What about the day before you look at them and say "ew"? I suspect those things are pretty gross before you can actually see all the grossness.

I liked the idea of sealing the hole with a glue gun. I think I'll try that... :)

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