Sanitize plastic pool toys

Advice from Dr. Laundry
Q.

Is it safe to sanitize plastic blow-up pool toys with Clorox® Regular-Bleach?

A.

Happy 4th of July! I hope everyone has a relaxing and fun-filled holiday. One common 4th of July activity is a trip to the pool, but between the trek through the bathrooms to the time spent in the baby pool, blow-up pool toys can collect plenty of germs! Fortunately, blow-up pool toys that are made of vinyl or plastic can be sanitized with a solution of 1 tablespoon Clorox® Regular Bleach2 per gallon of water.  Wipe the bleach solution on, let stand 2 minutes, and then allow items to air dry (you don’t have to rinse them, similar to sanitizing food contact surfaces).  It will probably be easiest to do this when the toys are inflated.  Also, plan ahead and think about where you will be doing the washing and rinsing—if you will be doing this outdoors, you might want to get a large tarp to work on, use it to air dry the items on, and once you are finished just hose it off.  If the toys aren’t that big, you could also do this inside in your shower, taking care to close the door or curtain so the bleach solution doesn’t splash onto other items in your bathroom, and leave the items in the shower to air dry.

Note that if you are using the pool toys in a lake or reservoir with murky water, you may want to use a stronger solution to disinfect the toys: add ¾ cup Clorox® Regular Bleach2 to 1 gallon of water and apply the solution to the toys for 5 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry.  For this stronger solution, if you will be working outside water any nearby plants first to protect them from runoff.