How to Safely Clean Bathtub Toys

Bath toys are a great way to engage children and encourage them to stay in the bath (and want to get in it in the first place). The problem is that they tend to get dirty. All that dirty water, soap scum, and filth have to go somewhere. 

Dirty bath water can lead to issues such as mold and bacteria build up in and on your bath toys, so it’s a good idea to inspect your bath toys each week and regularly clean them. 

Below, you’ll find a few simple ways to clean your bathtub toys.

Cleaning bath toys with vinegar

  1. Create a Vinegar Solution – Start by combining two parts of water with one part of white vinegar. The vinegar naturally dissolves the dirt, so there’s no need to worry about soap.
  2. Remove Extra Water – Most bath toys have a small air hole on their surface – generally on toys like rubber duckies you’ll find this hole on the bottom that gives off a sound when squeezed. It’s fun for kids, but that hole also lets in water, which encourages the growth of mold and bacteria. Make sure to squeeze out any excess water from the toy.
  3. Soak in Vinegar – Let the toy soak in the vinegar solution for up to 20 minutes. The solution should get into the inside of the toy. Give it a good scrub using a small brush and rise the toy in water before allowing it to dry.

Cleaning bath toys with a dishwasher

  1. Check the Toys Specifications – Before washing toys in a dishwasher, always check first that they can be washed inside of one. Dishwashers operate at high temperatures so as to destroy bacteria. Not all toys are made dishwasher safe, so check out the product’s specifications.
  2. Remove Excess Water – Squeeze the toy to let out any excess water and allow it to dry out. The toys should be as dry as possible. This will help reduce any moisture in and on it
  3. Put the Toy in the Dishwasher – You can put toys in a plastic basket or a lingerie bag to better protect them in the dishwasher if they are small or have loose pieces. Be sure to keep them on the uppermost shelf.
  4. Add a Cleaning Agent or Soap – Toys can be washed with regular detergent, dishwasher capsules, or a natural solution. Create a natural solution by coming three parts warm water with one part white vinegar.
  5. Turn on the Machine – Set the machine to the warm cycle and let it get to work. Avoid using an extra sterilization setting as these are very high temperatures, which can damage the toys. Allow the toy to air dry on a towel before letting your kids play with them again.

Cleaning bath toys with chlorine bleach

  1. Check the Toys – Give the toys a once over for mold. Chlorine bleach is a good solution to sanitize toys and remove mold. Be sure to be careful not to use too much bleach, though. Also, avoid using this method too much. Use it only if the toys are visibly moldy.
  2. Prepare the Solution – Prepare the chlorine bleach cleaning solution by combining a tablespoon of chlorine bleach and a gallon of water. Diluting chlorine bleach like this will minimize the risks.
  3. Soak the Toys in Solution – You have two choices for soaking the toys. Either put them in a tub with it or spray the toys with the solution. Be sure to give the toys a squeeze to get the solution inside the toy too. Leave the solution for a few minutes and then move it to a solution of ½ a cup of bleach and a gallon of water for fifteen minutes.
  4. Rinse out the Toys – When you’re done, just rinse toys with regular clean water. Be sure to squeeze them a few times and rinse out the inside of the toys too. You might not be able to see bleach, but you can still smell it. Keep going until the smell has gone and allowed the toys to dry completely.

Proper storage is key

As well as taking time to clean toys, be sure to store them properly to prevent mess and build-up of bacteria in the first place.

Remove water from toys and let them dry out after use and store them in a box. Keep the box outside the bathroom, so they get a lot of ventilation and natural light. Consider purchasing a bathtub organizer or storage unit.

Best of luck!