Bath toys: a mildew colony?
Your children are playing happily in the bath with the rubber duckies, suddenly, after a splash of water; some greyish jellyfish-like fluff appears in the water. Children start to scream! Is it a bug? Is it dirt? What is it?
It is mildew coming from your toy!!!
Bath toys have to be cleaned regularly because mildew grows inside them. It is amazing how fast it grows. If you have bath toys that get filled with water in the bath (like rubber ducks), then you have to inspect the toys and clean them regularly or replaced them if they are not good any more.
What is mildew?
Mildew is a form of fungus, typically grey or white and grows in damp surfaces. Mold is often mistakenly used instead of mildew, however, mold is a different type of fungus, and it is black or green and grows generally in food.
Is mildew dangerous?
Mildew can cause allergic reactions such as eyes irritation, congestion, sneezing or sore throat. It can even trigger asthma. In some people, it can cause skin irritation.
Mildew in bath toys
How to avoid mildew growth in bath toys?
Mildew likes humidity so it is imperative to keep the area dry and ventilated. The following tips are good advice to reduce mildew and mold on bathroom walls and in places where it may not be visible:
- Keep the toy as dry as possible. Rubber ducks and similar have to be squeezed very well so all the water comes out of the hole.
- Keep the toys in a hanging net to drain extra water.
- Keep the area ventilated. Open bathroom windows when possible (depending on weather). Keep the doors open, especially if the bathroom doesn’t have windows. If you have a toddler that likes to enter into the bathroom, keep them away by installing a safety gate.
- Inspect toys and clean them regularly.
How to clean the mildew in bath toys?
First of all, put on gloves. I personally prefer to use the disposable latex gloves so I can dispose of them afterwards to avoid spreading the spores.
Then follow the steps:
- Squeeze the water out of the toy (if it is a floating toy).
- Submerge the toys in a solution of one part of vinegar and three parts of water (according to healthychild.org).
- Soak them overnight.
- Use a small brush to clean the excess dirt.
- Rinse them with water.
- Squeeze the water out of the toy again (if it is a floating toy).
- Dry them thoroughly.
- Keep them in a net.
Finally, wash your hands thoroughly!
Video from healthychild.org about bath toy cleaning
If the mildew resists cleaning
If the toy proves hard to clean, or if it keeps having dark dirt inside the hole where the water is pumped in, the safest way is to replace the toy with another one.