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What is the best way to clean out bath toys that store water?

Specifically, we have quite a few toys that have a hole in the bottom and can suck in water and squirt it out when squeezed. A few of those toys are next to impossible to empty of water completely and hence have started growing some mildew.

We're considering squirting vinegar (or possibly a diluted vinegar solution) into the toys and leaving them to stew for a while, but is there a Good Way of doing this? Naturally, any solution ought to be child-safe.

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diluted bleach soak once in a while worked for us. –  DA01 Dec 8 '11 at 3:46
we have the same problem with the "bath ducks". Vinegar sounds good at first. However, I wonder if the acid could attack the polymer and maybe set free a reaction product. Furthermore, acid is not child-safe IMHO and as you can not be sure to squeeze out all the water you'll have the same problem with the "detergent". –  BBM Dec 8 '11 at 9:39
not really an answer, but I just throw them out once they start to either smell or look like they have mildew/mold. They tend to be really cheap. –  Rory Alsop Dec 8 '11 at 11:24
I HATE those stupid things and my mother and mother-in-law INSIST on buying them!!!! –  Meg Coates Mar 6 '13 at 4:06
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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Whenever possible, throw them out. You can't, unfortunately always do that (well you can, if you're ready for the consequences of being responsible for ducky's untimely demise).

I did this, which worked.

  1. Submerge the toy in a 70% solution of rubbing alcohol. Squeeze it quite a few times
  2. Repeat this process in hot (as you can tolerate) soapy water
  3. Repeat again in hot (as you can tolerate) plain water.

When done, the toy should not smell like anything at all (well, aside from the smell of the latex / rubber).

Again, this works on something that isn't completely crusted inside with mold or mildew. When possible, just pitch the toy if it starts to reek. You can always do it on the sneak, after getting a replacement.

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The simple answer is not to buy bathtub toys that squirt water.

You can still have squirty fun. Just keep old shower jel bottles and use them instead. They hold a lot of water, and can be binned without worrying about cost.

Sooner or later, you will forget to clean your rubber duck, and it will fill with moldy sludge. This will both smell and be a health hazard. Its not worth it.

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Your points are valid - but you are not answering the question. Mikey is asking how do I and not should I. See here and here on meta. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Mar 6 '13 at 6:24
I would disagree. Had the person bought a single duck and wanted to know how to clean it, then I would have said "Wash it with TCP" or something along those lines. However, it is clear that they have bought a number of these toys. The best solution is not to buy the toys. –  Facebook Answers Mar 6 '13 at 9:31
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