When it comes to bath time, you can’t beat squirting rubber duckies and other toys to keep baby occupied long enough for you to do the sudsing and scrubbing. But, with all the hubbub around baby bottles and other plastic items, it’s important to consider your bath toys.
Bath toys and books made with PVC (#3 plastic) may expose kids to lead and other neurotoxic heavy metals and phthalates. Phthalates soften plastics so they are more flexible, but they have been linked to problems with reproductive development including early onset puberty and premature births. A recent study by US PIRG, found that 83 percent of the baby items they tested, including bath toys, tested positive for phthalates — even some toys that claimed to be phthalate-free.
Bath time may not seem like a long enough time for this to really matter, but consider that other sources of these toxins are in common household items such as shower curtain liners and even baby washes and laundry detergents where phthalates are used to make fragrance last longer. It’s important to reduce this exposure wherever possible.
Finding less toxic bath toys in mainstream stores or websites can make washing a wiggly baby seem like child’s play. For some reason it seems that the manufacturers have not caught on that this is a bragging point to help sell their toys. But they are out there. A surer bet is to look on websites that specialize in eco-friendly products. On these sites you can find PVC- and phthalate-free bath toys including some that are cloth such as puppets designed for the bath.
Cleaner clean bath toys
Riley’s favorite bath toys are three phthalate-free, squirty dolphins. So they’re clean in terms of toxins, but two nights ago I noticed brown flakes coming out with the water. Gross. Mold. I had meant to wash her bath toys once every other week, but I didn’t do it even though it takes next to no time at all. Now I see why it’s important to make time to clean the bath toys.
Here’s how to keep your bath toys clean and mold free.
Plastic bath toys:
- Soak them in water and a ½ cup white distilled vinegar for every gallon of water for at least 10 minutes
- Rub them with a sponge to remove any grime and rinse
- Let them dry completely
If you’ve already got mold like I do, here’s how to kill it:
- Soak toys in straight vinegar overnight
- Scrub with a sponge
- Rinse and let dry completely
For mold growing in squirty toys:
- Squeeze all the water out and submerge in straight vinegar
- Squeeze to fill the toy with vinegar
- Let soak overnight to kill the mold
- Squeeze out the vinegar and refill
- Repeat until you no longer see debris squirting out
- Let dry completely before using
- After each use, squeeze out all water and leave out to dry
So invest in cleaner bath toys to keep bath time safe and fun. Then follow these easy steps to keep the toys clean and mold-free.