The adorable little yellow ducky, the set of plastic stacking cups and those water-squirting toys all keep your baby busy during bath-time! While they might delight when it comes to splashy fun, they can also pose a danger to your child. Even though tub toys are typically made from water-resistant materials, not cleaning them properly may result in mold, bacteria growth and that totally gross slimy film that can quickly go from inside the toy to your little one’s face with one squeeze.
Your child’s spent the last 20 minutes splishing and splashing with you by her side. The boats have been floated, the aqua animals have been sunk and the rest of the bath toys are soaked on the bathroom floor. You towel your tot off, get him dressed and completely forget about those still-wet playthings that you tossed aside after draining the tub. Don’t assume that because those toys were submerged in sudsy warm water that they are just as squeaky clean as your child. The thin layer of water that’s now standing in or on those toys isn’t going to stay fresh for long.
The longer that water sits, the more likely it is that bathroom bacteria, mold and other slimy substances will grow on it. If you get in a cycle that includes taking the tub toys out and hoping that they’ll air dry before you toss them back into the bath the next day, you may notice a not-so-nice looking coat of brown or green gunk growing. When your child picks these toys back up and puts them into fresh bath water, she’s also putting all of those gross germs in too! A seemingly innocent splash can then turn into a wave of sickness that spreads from the toy to your child through her nose, mouth or even a cut in her skin.
What can you do to protect your little guy or gal from gunky tub toys? Start by drying them off completely after every bath-time. This means using a towel (or paper towels), and not just letting them drip dry. Dump or squeeze any remaining water out as you dry the toys. To get a better clean mix ¾ cup of bleach with one gallon of fresh hot water. Soak the toys for at least five minutes in the solution. Thoroughly rinse them with clean water and dry them out again. Make sure to get all of the bleachy water out of the toys, especially those that squirt. Keep in mind, you may not always be able to see the mold. Any toy that squeezes or has a hole may still harbor slime inside. If you’re concerned about using bleach on products that your child plays with, go with a more natural option. Sanitize completely chemical-free with the germ-killing light of the UviCube. You can also use one part vinegar to three parts water to clean out the toys. Like the bleach solution, thoroughly rinse the mix off after washing.
A simple rinse off doesn’t always do the trick when it comes to scummy surfaces. When a soak still leaves behind grime and gunk, use a wash cloth or an old toothbrush (do not reuse the toothbrush for anyone’s teeth afterwards) to scrape away the stuff on the surface. The bristles of a slim toothbrush can get into the cracks and crevices, swiping away the germs that a rinse still leaves behind.Sometimes there’s no coming back from a bad bath-time cycle. If your routine hasn’t included tub toy cleaning on a regular basis, toss the playthings. Visible mold, mildew and discoloration that doesn’t respond to your sanitization efforts means that the toys need to go.