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How to clean baby bath tub safely, without harsh chemicals. My best tips for how and how often to clean baby’s bath tub.
Don’t get me wrong, bath time is a nightly parenting ritual I really enjoy.
Splashing, playing with toys, and scrubbing my child without distractions – it’s a little gift of one-on-one time in otherwise very busy days.
And while I really enjoy giving my daughter baths, I don’t always enjoy the aftermath.
Once our little one is clean, dry and cozy, and her hair is brushed, the next parenting job is cleaning up.
Back when she was a baby, clean up life was a bit easier and didn’t involve so many toys, but it still required regularly cleaning.
Generally, we tidy up after baths, give the tub a wipe and rinse and thoroughly dry the bath toys.
Soap Scum, Dirt, Grime, Poop, Mold and Other Grossness
Generally, you want to rinse, wipe and dry your tub (and toys) after every bath, and give it a proper clean about once a week. Same goes for cleaning bath toys.
However, this once a week guideline is based on having “normal” baths – water, baby wash, bubbles, etc.
If your little one drops a poop in the water, you’ll want to clean it immediately. Same goes if you notice anything that looks (or smells) off.
Likewise, if you use any DIY bath products that have food ingredients (i.e. homemade honey bubble bath, or DIY bubble dough or bath paints using corn starch), you’ll want to clean up that residue ASAP.
Cleanliness vs Safety
While ordinary bathroom cleaners are great at blasting through soap residue and scum in your shower, many store bought cleaning products contain fairly harsh ingredients that can remain on the surface of the tub, even after rinsing.
My child has fairly sensitive skin, which is normal for little ones.
The thought of lingering chemicals further irritating her delicate, soft skin? Or getting her eyes, respiratory track, mouth, etc?
That’s a big nope for us, which is why we use a homemade cleaning solution when it comes to scrubbing her tub.
How to Clean Baby’s Bathtub (Safely + Naturally)
While cleaning your baby bath tub might not be at the top of your “fun parenting” list, it’s worth going beyond soap and warm water to give it a proper clean weekly.
Grooves and corners can be a fabulous breeding ground for germs and pathogens, which can make your child sick if not cleaned effectively.
Also, as a plastic baby tub is often stored in a closet between uses, leaving it damp and uncleaned is just asking for trouble!
Prepare Cleaning Mixtures & Materials
Luckily, you can find most of the products you need to whip up a bathtub cleaning solution in your family kitchen.
Things like salt, lemons, white vinegar, and baking soda work great for cleaning a tub. They’re kitchen staples (easy), have germ fighting powers (great), but they’re still kind to baby’s skin.
The following natural ingredients will get your kids tub clean, their skin free of chemicals, and keep parents happy knowing you haven’t used anything dangerous.
Alongside these ingredients, you’ll also need a microfiber cloth for scrubbing and wiping.
Vinegar is a great natural disinfectant, and doesn’t smell once dried.
Mix equal parts white vinegar and water into a spray bottle and shake to mix.
Spritz the mixture around the surface of the tub and leave it for 10 minutes to work its magic. Wipe with soft cloths or a clean towel, and rinse.
Salt & Lemon Scrub
No need to mix this one in advance – basically, sprinkle salt around the tub, and then use a lemon that’s been cut in half to rub in the salt.
Be gentle so as to not scratch the plastic surface of the tub, especially if you’re using coarse grain salt.
Baking Soda Mixture
For a deeper clean or particularly dirty bathtub stains, this works great to clear away the grime.
Sprinkle a layer on the tub and scrub it into the plastic with some hot water.
For tougher spots, make a paste by mixing it with warm water. Paint a thin layer on the bath, leave it for a few minutes, and then use fresh water and clean cloths to wipe it off.
When to Rub-a-Dub-Dub Your Plastic Bathtub?
It’s always best to clean your baby’s bath straight after bath time, which gives it a chance to dry fully. This is especially true if you’re using chemicals, as it gives residual cleaners a chance to dry and dissipate.
When it comes time to clean, you may wish to lay an old towel on the floor while you clean, to protect the floor and your knees.
Be sure you pay careful attention to any grooves where soap scum, bacteria and mildew may hide.
Rinse the Tub
After cleaning, use fresh water to rinse the tub.
I tend to clean ours in our family bathroom, and then place it in the shower and blast with hot water to rinse.
Make sure to wash away all traces of whatever cleaning solution you use.
The lemon will leave a slight fresh lemon scent, but the vinegar solution leaves no smell behind once fully dried!
Wipe Dry with a Clean Dry Cloth
Use a clean, dry microfiber cloth to thoroughly wipe dry the plastic bath tub as carefully as you can, ensuring that any grooves, ridges and around the drain are completely dried.
You can also leave it to air dry, but just ensure that it is completely water free before storing. Letting it dry in the sun is a great idea too, as sunshine is a natural disinfectant.
Check For Moisture
It’s the mold that can collect in the tub that can cause harm to your baby, and it forms when it is left damp and isn’t dried properly.
Never rush to put the baby bath tub away by packing it into a closet before it is fully dried. This also goes for storing damp bottles of baby shampoo, detangler, bubble bath, etc. as well as other items that get wet, such as a bath thermometer or faucet shield.
Make sure everything is fully dry to prevent mold from growing.
What About Store Bought Cleaning Products?
Sometimes, a homemade cleaning solution might not cut it. Maybe you bought a second-hand tub that needs a good scrub, it’s been in storage for awhile, or your kids’ last bath involved a “brown shark” in the water (aka: poop). You may also want a stronger cleaner if your child is sick with a bug or has diarrhea, as there could be some poop residue on their skin.
If you’re convenience you need a commercial cleaner to kill off germs and bacteria, my instinct is to still use a more natural and fragrance free brand, and to skip bleach altogether, such as castile soap or Bon Ami cleaning powder.
Make sure you clean in all the crevices and around the drain, rinse thoroughly, and try to leave 24 hours between cleaning and your child’s next bath.
A Note About Bath Tub Toys
The above methods work for cleaning bathtub toys, too, although I’ve written more about how we clean bath toys in our house in a separate post.
The main thing to keep in mind with bath toys is your child more likely to put them in their mouth, (especially so with young kids). As such, food safe (i.e. natural dishwasher detergent) and natural cleaners are my preferred method.
When cleaning bath toys, be sure you get in all of the nooks and crannies, rinse in warm water, and air dry with drain holes pointing downwards so that water can easily escape.
Final Thoughts on How to Clean Plastic Bathtub for Baby
I hope this parenting article on the natural way to clean bathtub and bath toys for baby has been useful, and even for the busiest mom and dad. It shows how simple it is to use natural products and how it shouldn’t be too much hassle or be more time-consuming than using a traditional bleach-based cleaner.
Babies skin is delicate, so consider this with the products you choose, especially ones their skin has prolonged contact with. All parents worry about their little ones health, so by going natural with your cleaners gives you one less concern.
If you love the great natural baby bath cleaning tips we have shared in this article, feel free to share it with any other parent of kids you may know!