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Little Grasshopper LOVES a good bath. I have even bathed him mid-day before because he kept asking for it ( Not because he had a poopsplosion… although we have had to do mid-day poopslosion baths too 😉 ). And sure, I like bath time too….he’s contained, happy, and can’t get any dirtier than he is already! Heck, I’ve even given him snacks in the tub because it’s easier cleanup (eh hem…did I just embarrass myself with my laziness? Oh well.).
But what if bath time really wasn’t that clean? Or healthy?
Let’s think about what kinds of dirty our kiddos might be coming into contact with in a logical progression: you clean bathtub with w (residual cleaner remains after rinsing), fill bathtub with bubble bath x, wash kiddo in y, kiddo pees (but you casually ignore it and decide to power through), condition kiddo’s hair in z, and then kiddo takes a nice big gulp of what is now bath soup.
Fortunately, you can make a few changes to make bath time healthier and cleaner. Let’s take a look:
1-) Clean your tub with basic non-toxic ingredients
Baking soda and a sponge will clean up most grime that builds up from baths. Just sprinkle baking soda in the tub and add enough water to make a paste. Then scrub scrub scrub until your tub shines sparkly bright!
Baking soda is also non-toxic and easily dissolves in water. In other words, rinsing it all away is simple but any residue you do happen to miss won’t harm your children.
2-) Switch toiletries
Stay away from artificially fragranced bath products or bath products with harsh chemicals. Better yet, stay away from fragranced bath products all together…most naturally fragranced products are scented with essential oils, which still aren’t ideal for your little person to swallow.
One of the most basic soaps you can use is Dr. Bronner’s castille soap (I prefer the baby mild unscented but they also have scented ones). If you prefer something a little fancier, we’ve had luck with Earth Mama’s Angel Baby body wash and shampoo (they also have scented ones if you prefer. The orange vanilla smells delicious!). Just be warned: this stuff is NOT tear free (in fact, most natural shampoos I’ve seen aren’t).
3-) Skip the bubble bath
Same idea as the toiletries here. I know, it’s hard. Kids love bubble bath, but if you’re aiming to make bath time healthier and cleaner, then this is one of the big ways to accomplish that goal. Not to mention, the more products you use in the bath the more scum will build up and the more often you’ll have to clean it (it’s a viscous cycle, ain’t it?). Which brings me to my next point…
4-) Use the fill-drain-fill method
I’m the only one I know of who does this, but hopefully others will follow! I put Little Grasshopper in the tub while it is still filling and quickly do all the washing (fill). Once I’m done I drain the water with the faucet still running and rinse down as much of the soap and dirt as I can (drain). Once it’s drained and clean, I plug the drain stopper again and let it fill back up (fill).
Doing this has several advantages. First, if Little Grasshopper decides he wants a drink it’s at least cleaner water (although it’s still not ideal). Second, he is not sitting in dirt and suds (which are bad for the skin). Third, the bathtub stays cleaner longer because more of the dirt and suds get washed away. And finally, he stays put while I wash him because he’s happily playing with the running faucet (y’all, this last point here is priceless!).
The obvious disadvantage here is that this process uses more water than a normal bath. However, if you only bathe your kiddos once or twice a week then you’re still using less water than if you bathe them every day. The second disadvantage is that some children do not like to get into a bath that’s not already full. I tried giving Little Grasshopper’s best friend a bath once and she completely broke down because the bath “wasn’t ready!” You never know though, maybe your child will enjoy playing with the running faucet too!
5-) Chuck the squirt toys
There are some images floating around the internet of cut open squirt bath toys revealing lots and lots of mold. Chuck the bath toys if you are concerned about this.
I cut open one of our squirt toys that we’ve had for a good year and a half and didn’t see any mold (although I did see some bacteria, which is normal). I think the key is to let these toys dry out completely before using them (mold likes to grow in moist environments). Since we only bathe Little Grasshopper 1-2 times a week, our toys have plenty of time to dry out in between baths. However, if you bathe your kids every day, either not using the squirt toys every day or ditching them completely is probably a good idea.
Green toys makes a ton of fun toys that could make great replacement bath toys. Their seacopter and rescue boat with helicopter are among two of the TOTALLY AWESOME toys (among a huge selection!) that I wish I had when I was little!
6-) Add in some epsom salts
OK adding epsom salts won’t make bath time cleaner necessarily, but it will make it healthier for your little one. Why? As it turns out, modern diets tend to be low in magnesium. Fortunately, magnesium is also easily absorbed through the skin. By simply adding epsom salt (aka magnesium sulfate) to your little grasshoppers’ bath, you will help ensure that they get adequate magnesium levels.
Note when you use epsom salts in the bath you should be pretty liberal…adding a tablespoon to the bath isn’t going to do much….think more like 1-2 cups (if you’re not good at estimating, you can scoop the salts out with a 1 cup measure). As a result, I like to buy epsom salts in bulk and just keep big mason jars full of them on hand.
There you have the 6 tricks I use to make bath time healthier and cleaner. What tricks do you use?
For more healthy living tips as a parent to a little one, check out how you can reduce your environmental impact with a baby or toddler and learn everything you need to know about BPA! And if you want more weekly tips and ideas, plus freebies then make sure you sign up for The Modern Nest weekly newsletter below!