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How to clean bath toys

Even bath toys can get dirty (and moldy), but these expert tips can help you keep rubber ducks and other tub toys squeaky clean.
Baby on bathtub
“We recommend toys without holes in them because water gets stuck inside and it’s really hard to clean it out," Sarah Paiji Yoo told TODAY Home.Orbon Alija / Getty Images

Some kids inexplicably hate baths. Or they fear the water. Or they simply refuse to follow the basic rules of human hygiene and revel in their own filth. If any of these are your crosses to bear, you need to load up on bath toys. Choose ones made from a single piece of silicone, rubber or plastic, without any holes in them, so water won’t get trapped inside. Because trapped water leads to mold, which is something you absolutely do not want.

But even if you stock up on the creme de la creme of bath toys, you do need to wash them. Experts, including those at the residential cleaning service The Maids, recommend cleaning bath toys once a week.

How to clean bathtub toys

“If you can boil the bath toy, then boil it. Or run it through the dishwasher. You can also scrub it with dish soap and water, using a toothbrush,” cleaning expert Sarah Paiji Yoo, co-founder and CEO of Blueland, a New York City-based startup that makes direct-to-consumer eco-friendly cleaning products, told TODAY Home. “We recommend toys without holes in them because water gets stuck inside and it’s really hard to clean it out. I would recommend rubber or silicone because they’re easier to boil or dish wash.”

But let’s say you don’t own a dishwasher, or simply feel weird about using the same appliance to wash rubber ducks and drinking glasses.

How to clean bath toys with vinegar

Regalo, which manufactures baby products, recommends that you clean bath toys with a solution of water and vinegar.

  1. Mix a gallon of water with one-half cup of distilled white vinegar.
  2. Immerse the toys in the solution for an hour.
  3. Scrub the toys using a toothbrush.
  4. Rinse the toys with water, and dry them thoroughly.

How to clean bath toys in the dishwasher

If you'd still rather use your dishwasher, it's easy and safe.

  1. Place the toys on the top rack so they don’t melt or otherwise become malformed.
  2. Set the dishwasher on the sanitize setting, if available.
  3. When done, dry them thoroughly.

How to boil bath toys to clean them

You can also clean your children's bath toys by boiling them.

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Throw in the bath toys.
  3. Boil them for 1-2 minutes. Note that most plastic will not melt in boiling water.
  4. Use tongs to remove the toys from the water and squeeze out anything trapped inside.
  5. Let them dry.

This article was originally published on May 3, 2021.