Although it seems like a long time to be staying at home in this covid season, parents are finding more and more reasons to keep everything in the house clean and germ-free. After all, a germ-free home prevents bacteria from building up in the first place. But what about harmful germs and toxins that are hidden away from sight like mould in baby bath toys? You wouldn’t think to look in there, right? As long as the outside seems generally clean and free of black spots, parents might not even think much about mouldy bath toys.
Mould tends to thrive in warm and humid environments, so perfect breeding grounds are damp areas like kitchens and bathrooms. It also doesn’t help that it can get relatively humid in Malaysia at certain times of the year. Hence mould can quickly grow on bath toys that are constantly kept in wet environments. And since bath toys are often made with small holes for children to fill up and have fun squirting water out from them, chances are there would be mould hidden inside too.
So why is mould in bath toys dangerous?
Mainly because the mould growing in bath toys contains fungi and bacteria, some of which are associated with human infections. When not properly cleaned, bath toys can be potentially harmful to kids, especially if your baby or toddler spends a lot of time exploring with their mouth.
Unfortunately, mould spores are floating everywhere in the air waiting for the right conditions to grow. Since they love breeding in standing water and poorly ventilated bathrooms, it is no wonder how some of these spores end up in bath toys. Studies have shown traces of all sorts of nasties in these moulds, and while most children have the immunity to fight off the bacteria found in bath toys, infants and those with compromised immune systems may be more affected.
However, parents can continue to keep bath time safe and fun at the same time if they level up their cleaning practices at home. Here are a couple of suggestions on how to remove mould from bath toys.
How to get mould out of Bath Toys
Wash them with Bleach.
An inexpensive and convenient way is to use diluted bleach to disinfect, and you need to use a 1:10 ratio. So you need 1 part bleach to 10 parts water, and the toys need to soak in that solution for about 10 minutes. To clean the insides of the bath toys, just fill them up with the bleach solution, making sure to rinse and dry them out completely to avoid waterlogged bleach that your child could accidentally ingest.
Soak them in Vinegar.
Parents who have qualms with bleach being a chemical that has drawbacks can opt to use vinegar instead. But when it comes to cleaning bath toys with vinegar, experts recommend using it at full strength instead of diluting it. Although vinegar will also do the job, it is not as effective as bleach. Also, you will have to allow the bath toys to soak for a longer period of time to disinfect the toys properly. At least you’ll have peace of mind that any remaining liquid is vinegar which is still a lot safer than ingesting bleach.
Use your Dishwasher.
If you own one, then your life would be infinitely easier because all you need to do is dump all your little one’s bath toys all in the top rack of your dishwasher and run a hot cycle. Great for busy on the go parents who want things done in a jiffy at a touch of a button. Just make sure to double-check that the toys are made out of plastics that can withstand heat and hot temperatures. Not all bath toys can survive the onslaught in dishwashers.
Use hot water.
Of course, not everyone can afford to own a dishwasher at home. So, the more old school way to rid bath toys of mould is to boil them in a large pot of water. All you need is a large pot which most households would have, and this method works great for hard plastic toys, even foam letters and numbers. Just add the toys using a pair of kitchen tongs and push the floaters down, so they are fully submerged. This ensures toys with small holes can get their insides cleaned out too. A good tip is to do a few toys at a time so that you do not run the risk of water overflowing from the pot.
Let the toys soak in boiling water for a few minutes before carefully removing and placing them on a towel to dry completely. Although somewhat troublesome, this is an extremely safe method of disinfecting since you’re only using water.
This method is probably the most convenient, despite it being the least cost-effective. Easy to bring around and whip out for use at any time, parents can also choose from a wide variety of brands depending on whether they prefer organic, non-toxic disinfectant wipes or commercial ones. Despite the convenience, one thing to note is that disinfectant wipes can only clean the outside surface of toys, and you may need to followup with another method to remove mould buildup from toys that have holes where water can get in.
Although mould in bath toys are more likely to affect immune-compromised children, it is still better to have the bath toys cleaned regularly. As parents, we only want to keep our little ones safe and healthy. Despite the pros and cons, depending on which method you use, find one which will work for you so that both parent and child can win: You win peace of mind while your child gets all the fun.