There is clean – and then there is CLEAN. Bath and pool toys that our tiny ones are playing with should be CLEAN. If they aren’t you just don’t want children playing with them. And without them, bath and pool time isn’t the same!
CLEAN means more than simply rinsing soap, drool or chlorine from the toys. Clean means eliminating bacteria and preventing mold and mildew from forming.
After children have finished playing with bath and pool toys, the best way to clean them – ridding them of bacteria and preventing the formation of mold and mildew that can make children sick– is to follow a few steps using common household items.
Enhance these very basic cleaning steps with we mention to get the type “next-level” clean you need to ensure that your children’s favorite bath and pool toys don’t just look clean but are clean.
• Remove excess water from the toy (squeeze all water out of toys)
• Brush with soap and warm water
• Dry the toy (with towel or air dry)
Next –level cleaning requires more.
There are some options to help with this whether you want to take the natural or chemical approach.
Vinegar and baking soda are your best bets if you want to clean bath and pool toys without the use of harsh chemicals.
Combine 2 parts warm water to 1 part white vinegar to create a solution that will dissolve unwanted dirt or residue due to the vinegar’s acidity. When you have the solution mixed, simply soak the toys in the solution for 10-15 minutes. Be sure that the toys are each totally immersed so that the solution gets inside the toy too.
After soaking the toy scrub the surface of it with a small brush, rinse, and dry it with a towel or set it off to the side to air dry. Always air-dry the toy in the upright position so you minimize the amount of water that remains inside the toys. Once toys have dried, they are ready for play!
Baking Soda Solution
Cleaning pool toys naturally requires something different. If you use chlorine in your pool, the chemical should be enough to keep pool toys sanitized, but if you notice the toys getting a little slimy, it’s probably time to clean them and baking soda is a great natural option.
Using baking soda is similar to the use of vinegar for cleaning. Mix 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1 quart of warm water. However, using this process, it’s best to prep the toys prior to submerging them in the baking soda solution by drying them first before cleaning.
Soaking smaller items will ensure maximum coverage. Larger items, like inflatables, should be wiped on the surface then rinsed. The baking soda and water solution will scrub dirt, algae, and chemicals off of pool toys and prevent mold from forming.
For an even more thorough cleaning, use a mixture of chlorine bleach and water. This will sanitize and clean your children’s favorite bath and pool toys.
This process is great to use if traces of mold are found on bath or pool toys.
For use on bath toys, combine 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water to create the deep cleaning solution. Soak the toys in the solution for 2 minutes ensuring they are submerged. After soaking, rinse the toys thoroughly and let them air-dry in an upright position. Once they are dry, it’s time for play!
For use on pool toys, there is a slight variation on the chlorine solution. Instead of 1 tablespoon of bleach, the solution calls for 2 tablespoons of chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water. Once the solution is ready, dip a brush into the solution and start scrubbing away at the pool toys. After cleaning, rinse the toys thoroughly and allow them to air-dry before allowing children to again play with them.
This solution is great for plastic toys but can also be used on foam pool toys like noodles.
Because foam is porous, bacteria and mold can grow quickly. When you see mold on these toys, it’s time to replace them.
Using National Cleaning processes is best for regular, consistent cleaning, reserving the deep cleaning process using chlorine solution for occasional cleaning when mold, mildew or significant slime is found.
Storing Bath and Pool Toys
Cleaning your children’s bath and pool toys is only part of what you should be doing to prevent mold and mildew growth. Proper storage is critical in greatly decreasing the chances that mold and mildew will grow on bath and pool toys.
Here’s what you should do.
At the end of a splash in the bath or pool, make sure that each toy is:
• Rinsed and rid of any excess water (squeeze water out of toys)
• Completely dry (with towel or set to air dry)
• Placed in a well breathable, low moisture environment
It’s not expensive or time-consuming to keep your children’s favorite bath and pool toys clean. Once you have the items and understand the simple steps to doing it, you just need to create the habit of doing it. The benefits of a healthier bath and pool play environment definitely are worth what it takes!
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