How do I clean bath toys? 13 tips for every parent

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Bath toys make bath time a lot of fun, but do you know that bath toys can be a good source of bacteria and fungi? 

That's something you should pay close attention to when cleaning your toys.

In this article, we'll talk about how to best clean bath toys, what to look out for and how often to do it. 

Clean bath toys well

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Why it is important to regularly clean bath toys

You would think that the bath toys are often in soap and water and are therefore naturally clean.

Unfortunately this is not the case. Especially bath toys with holes deserve your extra attention. 

Fungi and bacteria on the toys

After bathing, a layer of water often remains in the toy.

Together with soap scum and the heat and humidity in the bathroom, this is a great breeding ground for all kinds of fungi and bacteria.

When you consider that children love to put bath toys in their mouths or spray the water jet that comes out of the toys into their faces, it suddenly becomes a nasty idea that these toys may be full of mold!

Play safe in the bath with clean bath toys

Not only is it unsanitary, but some fungi and bacteria can even be pathogenic.

So clean your children's bath toys regularly. After all, you put them in the bath to get clean and not to get dirty!

With the following tips and tricks you ensure that your children always have clean bath toys.

How do I clean bath toys?

Bath toys are best cleaned once a month if you want to be assured of clean and safe toys for your children.

Cleaning bath toys is highly recommended, it is not difficult to do and only takes a little time.

The following tips will help in cleaning and also keeping your children's bath toys clean.

After each bath: rinse and dry the bath toys

Do the following every time your children have played with the bath toy in the bath.

  • After use, you should always rinse the bath toy well with clean water.
  • Make sure to squeeze out all the water if the toys have holes.
  • Then squeeze out all the air from the toy and fill it with fresh, soapy water. Do this several times and rinse the toy with clean water until the water runs clear.
  • Then squeeze out all the water. Dry the toy and place it upside down with the holes up in a cool, dry place. This will ensure that mold and mildew growth is inhibited.
  • One option is to put the toys in the dryer to dry further. 

Once every two weeks: making the bath toys bacteria-free

Once every two weeks you can give the bath toy an extra turn by using a sterilizing liquid.

  • Rinse the toys with fresh, clear water to get all the build-up debris off.
  • Then put the toys in a solution with a sterilizing liquid and water for a few minutes; the toys must be submerged. Scrub the toys with a small brush.
  • Then rinse the toys with water and allow them to dry. 

When necessary: ​​replace the bath toys

In principle, there is no rule on how quickly and how often you should replace bath toys. So the bottom line is that you have to work intuitively.

The moment you notice that the bath toy can no longer be cleaned, the water that comes out remains black and it starts to smell, then it is indeed time for new toys. 

It is important to regularly clean bath toys

Extra tip: avoid dirty bath toys

You can't completely prevent toys from getting dirty, but you can certainly influence that to some extent.

You can always modify the toys a bit to your wishes. 

For example, toys with holes are really the trickiest toys to clean because water enters the toy through the hole and is a source of bacteria.

Adjusting the holes in bath toys

To limit mold formation in the toy, simply plug the hole or make the hole bigger. 

Make the hole bigger

With scissors, cut the hole open further and make the hole a bit bigger.

Big enough to actually get to the inside with a sponge or cloth.

This way you can easily get the water out and you can easily get in it to clean and wipe dry. 

Or just close the hole

Use a hot glue gun to close the hole. Put a drop or two of glue on the spot of the hole and voila your toy is now waterproof.

The only downside is that you won't be able to squeeze the toy that easily anymore, it won't be able to soak up and spray water, and the squeaking sound will likely be lost.

But that's not so bad at all.

The kids might not notice and just believe they don't need our help to splash around and have fun in the bath. 

Look for bath toys without holes

Sex toys without holes are a great solution for bath time.

Don't want the work of messing with a glue gun or don't like to cut into the newly bought toys?

Then feel free to read our article about it the nicest bath toy without holes.

What should I clean bath toys with?

With or without holes, we still have to clean all bath toys regularly, because in the long run it will all get dirty.

You want the bath toys to be clean, but you also want them to be safe to use. So what should you use to clean bath toys?

Avoid using abrasive or strong cleaning agents

Caustic cleaning agents such as bleach are not ideal.

Keep in mind that your little ones often tend to put the toy in their mouth and chew on it.

As a precaution, it is therefore preferable not to use corrosive cleaning products.

These can not only be unsafe for health, but will also affect the lifespan of your bath toys.

Corrosive substances can cause discoloration and the toys can crack after a while. Not very useful!

Safe solutions for cleaning bath toys

So what are good means to thoroughly yet safely clean your children's bath toys?

We have listed several options for you.

Simple vinegar solution

If you go for a simple approach, you use a homemade solution of vinegar and water.

This is a very simple solution and anyone can do it right at home, because you probably have vinegar in the cupboard.

  • Make a solution of 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water. Preferably use warm water.
  • Dip the toys in the vinegar solution for about 10-15 minutes and then rinse with clean water.
  • Then put them on a place to air dry or wipe them dry with a towel. 

Comprehensive cleaning solution

A slightly more extensive method to clean your bath toys is to make a separate mixture to disinfect the toys, especially on the inside.

  • Make a mixture of 2 cups of white vinegar and 5 drops of tea tree oil. Pour the mixture into the toy and let it work for 15 minutes. This will help loosen the dirt on the inside. Then squeeze out the liquid. 
  • After this, make a second mixture of about 2 liters of water, 8 tablespoons of mild dish soap, 3 cups of vinegar and 5 drops of tea tree oil to clean the outside. This concentration works well to get the outside clean. Adjust the ratio according to the amount of toys. 
  • Put the solution in a plastic container, put the toys in it and close with a lid. Shake the bowl back and forth a few times until it all starts to foam and all toys are covered with foam.
  • Open the tray and feel the toys to see if the dirt has come loose. If they are still dirty, shake the tray a few more times. Then rinse the toys with clean water and let them dry.
  • Don't forget to give the toys with holes a little extra attention and squeeze out all the water. 

When should you clean bath toys?

Your children will have a lot of fun with bath time and even more so with their favorite bath toys.

Once every two weeks a good turn

Taking the time once every two weeks to get all your bath toys clean and fresh is not too much effort at all.

Do not think that they will stay clean if you let them soak in a solution of soap and water.

Seated water is a good source for germs and you don't want this. 

Regular and thorough cleaning of the bath toys will result in you not having to worry about dirt, fungi and bacteria. 

Always rinse and dry thoroughly after each use

There are two weeks in between washes and the toys are likely to be used almost every day.

For this period, you simply do some intermediate maintenance by rinsing the toys enough with water, squeeze well and dry them every time after bathing.

You then safely store the toys in a dry place where they can further air dry.

You prefer not to store them in the bathroom, because that space is very humid. 

Replace the toys when necessary

If you have had the big clean-up and you notice that the toys cannot be cleaned, you must take the necessary precautions.

The black fungi do not come off, the water remains black when rinsing and the toy gives off an unpleasant odor.

Then it is unfortunately time to get rid of these bath toys and replace them.

New toys are always a welcome surprise for your children and with this nice bath toys they will soon forget the old one. 

Safe and clean bath toys

It doesn't really matter what you let a child play with in the bath. They have a lot of fun with a pitcher or a bucket.

As a parent, make sure that your children are always safe in the bath with the necessary supervision and that the toys they play with are safe and clean.

Also read: this is the nicest bath toy from baby to toddler


Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.