Plastic baby books are wonderful toys for infants of every age. Those infants who do not devour the pictures and stories as Mommy reads to them before bed sometimes try to devour the books themselves. Many babies even enjoy playing with their books in the tub. As they are plastic and waterproof, they are great tools for keeping little fingers occupied.
Their ability to float intrigues them as well as the little squeakers that are hidden within the pages. However, after the bath is done, and Mommy is busy getting the baby dry before a chill sets in, the plastic books are often left behind in the tub. Mommy forgets to pluck the precious plaything from the bath and give it a good drying off, too. Instead, it sits there in the dank tub covered in moisture. Whether it comes from baby drool or bath water, moisture builds up in the tiny crevices. This moisture is an open invitation for mildew to set up.
Cleaning the mildew from the books may seem like a daunting task, when, in fact, it really is not that difficult at all. While most infant toys can be tossed in the washing machine and run on the gentle cycle, in this case, it would definitely not be a good idea. This is true for several reasons. The first reason is that a washing machine will not effectively remove mildew in the creases within the pages of the book. The second reason is that chemicals are inevitably left on the plastic from the laundry detergent and bleach.
These chemicals are potentially harmful if swallowed. It wouldn’t take much chewing or teething on the book for baby to ingest these chemicals, making for a very sick child. The third reason is that plastic doesn’t stand up well to heat. In order to remove mildew in a washing machine, one would have to use hot water along with the bleach. Unfortunately, plastic melts when it comes in contact with heat.
Actually, all that is really required to clean a plastic baby book safely is an old toothbrush, some baby soap (preferably something like Johnson and Johnson’s Head-to-Toe because it is clear and has no dyes or perfumes), water (use tap or spring water as opposed to well water which contains limestone and can damage the plastic), and a rag to use for drying the book when the book is clean.
Liquid baby soap works best because it can be poured directly on the toothbrush, but bar soap will do in a pinch. Wet the toothbrush thoroughly and add some of the baby soap to it. Gently rub the toothbrush over the entire surface of the book, paying close attention to the crevices within the pages of the book. This is where most of the mildew will be found and can be easily overlooked if one isn’t careful.
The mildew should come off easily as you brush. If it doesn’t, leave the book to soak in the soap for five minutes, rinse, and rewash. Be sure to rinse the book well after washing. Carefully dry the book. Remember that any moisture left could start the whole process over again.The mildew should