How to clean baby bath toys (and keep them clean!)

Your baby’s yellow rubber ducky helps them to stay in the tub longer. They enjoy playing with their bath toys. Those fun toys also unfortunately get filthy fast. No wonder, as they’re always wet or in water.

Keeping them clean and germ-free is part of keeping your baby healthy. Cleaning baby bath toys is necessary but also easy to overlook. Babies put everything in their mouths and their bath toys are no exception. No need to let their toys test their immune system.

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I hate to see dirty water or bits of dirt come out when my daughter squirt her toys. That’s because I know that dirt could end up in her mouth. I’ve taken to giving them a good clean once a week to disinfect them.

What can you use to disinfect baby toys? I use an apple cider vinegar solution. You may need to use something stronger the first time you do it.

Before I start, let me say that my ultimate recommendation for bath toys is to change them frequently. Throw them out and get new ones because they’re never expensive enough that you need to keep them for many months and years. For these kinds of toys that cannot be opened up to easily clean with soap, you can never be absolutely sure that they are clean inside. That’s why it’s best to change them often.

Now, on to cleaning methods.

4 ways to clean your baby’s rubber toys for the bath

1. Apple cider vinegar and water

What is the safest way to disinfect baby toys? In my opinion, this would be it. That’s why it’s the best way to sanitize bath toys. Apple cider vinegar is effective but gentle.

It’s what I use on a weekly basis to clean my baby’s bath toys. Some people prefer to use a single part white vinegar and double part water.

Fill a bowl with hot – but not scalding hot – water and drop in about half a cup of apple cider vinegar. Squeeze the toys so that they suck up some of the water to wash the insides as well. (Don’t burn your hands!). You can also fill your sink and plug the hole.

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Leave the toys soaking for up to 30 minutes. To prevent any residue being left by the apple cider vinegar, next, submerge the bath toys in warm water with a drop of dishwashing liquid soap and squeeze them under warm soapy water to wash the insides.

At this point, I use an old toothbrush to scrub them on the outside. I try to fit some of the toothbrush bristles into the holes on the bath toys to clean them as much as I can.

Finish off by rinsing them in plain cold water. Again, submerge them and squeeze to rinse them on the inside.

You may also like: My Baby’s 6 Bath time Staples

I usually lay them on a cloth to air dry overnight. If the radiator is on though, I lay them on that to hopefully dry off the insides even more. If you do this, make sure your heater is not so hot that it will melt your bath toys.

Disclaimer: At no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission for purchases made through links within this page.

2. Bleach

The health and safety risks involved with using bleach are high so proceed with caution with this method.

Wearing gloves, fill a bowl with water. Add no more than a drop of chlorine bleach. It’s all you need.

Put your toys in the solution and suck up some of it into the toys as with the first method above. Give each toy a good shake to get the solution all around the inside. Leave to soak for up to 10 minutes.

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Go on to submerge them each in a bowl of warm soapy water as in the first method. Then using an old toothbrush, scrub each while rinsing them under running water.

Proper rinsing with this method is ultra important as this is bleach you’re dealing with. Continue to rinse until you can no longer smell the bleach. Wash it several times with soapy water before your final rinse, if you need to.

Squeeze out excess water. Lay the bath toys out to air dry or put them out in the sun.

Laying them on the radiator would be a good way to dry your toys out with this method. That’s because the warmth from the radiator will allow any bleach residue (hopefully you should not have any) to evaporate.

When in doubt about how efficient your rinsing was, please just replace your baby’s bath toys. You can purchase a new bunch online by clicking HERE.

3. Dishwasher

Check to make sure your toys are dishwasher safe. I also advice using a cycle that’s not too hot.

I pop the bath toys on the top shelf of the dishwasher on a normal cycle with nothing other than dish detergent. If you’re unsure about how rigorous your machine cycle is, choose a gentle cycle.

4. Denture tabs

This is a cool one I only learned a few months ago. I found out about it via the Today’s Parent YouTube channel.

Denture tabs are so effervescent that they work really well to clean baby bath toys inside and out. You submerge the toys in a large bowl and drop in about 4 denture tabs.

Swish the toys around in the bowl. Squeeze water into and out of them and keep going until you no longer see dirt coming out. Rinse.

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How to keep your baby’s bath toys clean

Cleaning baby bath toys can be a tedious chore. The good news is that you can prevent mold. Minimize the frequency with which you have to clean the toys by using the following suggestions.

  • Squeeze them out after each bath.
  • Dry each one before the next use. It would be helpful to have two batches of baby bath toys to rotate. This way, you give each batch the chance to completely dry out before using them again.
  • Keep them somewhere dry and cool.
  • If squeezing the toys is not your baby’s favourite activity, consider sealing up the holes on them. That was they won’t collect water and get mucky on the insides. If you want to do this, make sure there is no water inside them first.
  • Finally, bath toys without holes or ones that you can easily open up are much less trouble. If investing in new toys, go for ones like these Munchkin toys.

How do you clean bath toys and keep them clean?

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8 replies on “How to clean baby bath toys (and keep them clean!)”

I love cleaning., but I keep avoiding the bathroom. Thanks for sharing this. Bathroom will be my first place to tackle 🙂

Kin Unpluggedsays:

Great – let me know how it goes if you try any of these tips for bath toys.

These are great ways to clean bath toys! Have never thought about using apple cider vinegar. Will give this a try tomorrow, thank you! 🙂

This is fantastic! Keeping bath toys clean have been one of those unspoken mysteries! Thank you for sharing! ???


So important to keep those toys clean.

Omg yes! I always forget to clean them and then get so grossed out when all that gunk comes out!

I usually use vinegar for rubber ducks and toys. I liked your suggestion of drying them which I never do. Thanks for the post.

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