How to Remove Mold from Bath Toys (and Other Plastic Toys)

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about common sources of mold on our blog here at My Pure Environment. But one source that we haven’t talked about, may surprise you. And it’s particularly concerning, because it’s something your children interact with regularly—bath toys.

If you’re looking around right now and noticing that there’s more than one potential source of mold in your home, not to worry. In this article we’ll discuss how to remove mold from plastic toys, and how to get moldy bath toys clean and safe for your little one to play with again.

Mold Growth on Toys

Mold can commonly be found growing in bath toys. Moldy bath toys can be a health risk for you and your children. Many parents don’t realize that bath toys that aren’t water-tight can gather moisture inside. They sit undisturbed for a few days at a time, usually in the dark, and that makes them the perfect breeding ground for mold.

Bath toys aren’t the only toys with the potential to grow mold. Other plastic toys commonly at risk of mold growth include:

  • Teething toys
  • Sippy cups
  • Bottles
  • Pool toys
  • Sandbox toys
  • Snow toys
  • Other outdoor toys

Any toy that’s made of plastic or rubber, and commonly exposed to moisture can become moldy if not regularly cleaned and sanitized.

Moldy bath toys can be an indication of mold elsewhere inside your home. It’s a good idea to consult a professional, for a thorough air quality analysis.

How to Identify Mold in Bath Toys

The first thing you need to do is identify which toys could be harboring dangerous mold. Any toys which commonly get wet, like bath toys or toys that have been left outside, could be moldy inside. Rubber duckies are the most notorious for growing mold.

If you have a teething infant, you’re probably shocked at how much drool they can generate. If your little one is soothing his aching gums on hollow plastic or rubber toys, you’ll want to check them for the presence of mold right away. A popular child’s teething toy made headlines in 2017 when some parents discovered that there was mold growing inside. Any teething toys with openings could become havens for mold growth.

How to Remove Mold from Plastic Toys

If you’re able to take the toy apart, then cleaning it is a breeze. Use an off the shelf antifungal cleaner, spray it on and let it sit for the recommended contact time. Rinse it thoroughly and be sure to allow the toy to air dry completely before giving it back to your child.


If you want to use a more natural approach than off the shelf antifungal cleaners, you can use distilled white vinegar to get moldy bath toys clean. Distilled white vinegar contains a compound called acetic acid, which is what makes it an effective mold killer.

  1. Make a solution of one part distilled white vinegar to 20 parts warm water (½ cup of vinegar per gallon of water).
  2. Submerge the toy in the vinegar solution.
  3. Let sit for 1 hour.
  4. Squeeze out any excess water and rinse the toy off.
  5. Let it air dry completely.

For toys that squeak or squirt water, be sure to fill the inside of the toy with the solution when you submerge it. If the toys still smell like vinegar after cleaning, you can give it an additional rinse with warm water. Just be sure to let it dry completely again before giving it back to your child.

How to Prevent Mold in Bath Toys

Toys that squirt water can be fun, but they have a greater risk for mold growth. If you want to prevent your child’s bath toys from becoming moldy, there are a few things you can do:

  • Develop a healthy routine of cleaning and drying your child’s bath toys after every bath. Setting the toys on a drying rack, or near a vent or open window to dry afterwards can help prevent mold growth. Moisture is the most easily controllable factor in mold growth.
  • Plug up any toys with holes in them. You can use a dab of hot glue to plug the hole in the bottom of that rubber ducky. Mold won’t grow if moisture can’t get inside the toy.
  • Consider buying “mold-safe” bath toys. Toys that are water-tight, or disassemble easily for cleaning are recommended if you want to avoid exposing your child to mold.

Moldy Bath Toys Could Be an Indication of Mold Elsewhere

You should strongly consider the fact that having mold inside of bath toys could be an indicator of mold elsewhere in your bathroom and subsequently, your home. It’s never a bad idea to take mold growth very seriously. At My Pure Environment we can perform a thorough air quality inspection, and determine confidently, whether or not your mold problem is bigger than just bath toys.

Have a mold problem? We can help!

Our San Francisco based mold remediation company can help you identify potential mold growth, and eradicate it quickly. At My Pure Environment, we specialize in mold inspection, mold testing, and mold remediation in the San Francisco California area. Contact us today for a free consultation. We’re now offering virtual consultations, via Zoom and FaceTime.

Images used under CC0 1.0 license – commercial use (1/20/2021) PublicDomainPictures

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