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How to Clean Children's Bath Toys

By Brynne Chandler ; Updated June 13, 2017

Cleaning bath toys that spend hours every week being swished around in warm, soapy water may seem silly, but it’s not. Mold and bacteria can grow inside and on the surfaces of plastic, rubber and cloth bath toys if they are not cared for properly. It’s not difficult to clean children’s bath toys if you make it a part of your weekly routine. Washing bathtub toys might seem redundant, but it’s always the dirt and germs you can’t see that cause the most trouble.

  1. Remove bath toys from the tub as soon as bath time is over. Shake and squeeze excess water out of rubber duckies, squeaky toys and all cloth or stuffed toys.

  2. Set the damp toys out on clean, folded towels and turn on the vent fan or open a window to help them air dry faster.

  3. Fill a bucket or basin with hot water and add white vinegar, aiming for a 2 to 1 ratio of hot water and vinegar. Soak the bath toys for 10 to 15 minutes at least once per week. Squeeze the hot water and vinegar solution up into the toys and slosh it around before squeezing it all out. Rinse the toys well, and let them air dry in the sun.

  4. Clean visible mold off of bath toys by adding 1 tbsp. of bleach to 1 gallon of warm water. Soak the mildewed toys for at least five minutes. Use an old baby brush or toothbrush to remove the mold or mildew, and then rinse the toys thoroughly in clear, warm water. Discard any toys that you can’t get completely clean.

  5. Tip

    Put dishwasher-safe plastic and rubber toys through the dishwasher, and soft cloth toys through the washer and dryer, once a week to ensure that they stay clean. Store bath toys outside of the bathroom so that they are not constantly subjected to moist air.


    Never put plastic, rubber or cloth bath toys in the microwave to disinfect them.

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