I was recently horrified to discover the moldy innards of my 14-month-old daughter’s beloved bathtime rubber duckies. I pride myself on being incredibly anal (to the point of near obsession) about regularly cleaning her toys and the mats under her play area so I was upset that mold got the best of me. That the bath toys had to, in turn, suffer a terrible fate as they were immediately banished to the bottom of the closest trashcan. As I flung the ducks over my shoulder, I did my best to distract my daughter who loves her rubber duckies so much, I bought her a rubber duck-themed smash cake for her first birthday. I then began to analyze all of the toys, squinting and pulling them apart as I searched for other signs of mold. Then I decided, there has to be a better way. Bath toys that don’t breed mildew must exist. Turns out they do! But also turns out, I can do a better job of preventing the mildew from forming or getting rid of it once it does. Read on for a great list of Mom 101 tips to prevent mildew in bath toys and for suggestions of bath toys you can buy that will be mold-free.
1. Don’t buy bath toys with squirt holes, crevices or any type of lil’ opening! The holes are where it “all happens.” Especially if you don’t clean the toys regularly (see #2). If you don’t want the hassle of mildew forming inside the toys (like what happened with my daughter’s rubber ducks!) the answer is simple: don’t buy toys with holes. End of story. Keep in mind, however, that if you buy water proof books and other items with crevices and openings, mildew can still form. It’s important to clean all bath toys regularly. (Again, see #2.)
2. If you do buy bath toys with squirt holes, crevices or any type of lil’ opening, you can clean them (without using bleach! to prevent mildew from forming. (Note: I suggest throwing away toys once the mildew is already there.) Clean the toys weekly in one part hot water, one part distilled vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. Vinegar dissolves soap scum while dish soap removes dirt. Soak the toys for 10 minutes and use an old toothbrush to help clean them, if necessary. Rinse the toys in warm water and let dry completely.
3. Store the toys properly As we all know, it’s easy to get lazy after giving your baby a bath. It’s been a long day and sometimes the last thing you want to do is deal with cleaning up. But it is key! After each bath, squeeze the water out of the toys, then store toys in a way that allows for proper drainage. Letting the toys dry in a well ventilated bathroom or room is also key.
4. Consider these bath toys & toy organizers:
- Disco Tub Lights
- LadyBug Pod
- Hevea Natural Rubber Pond Bath Toys
- Colin’s Bath Book Puppet Bathtime Buddy
- Greensprouts Sea Friends Bath Toys