A Toxin-Free Bathtime

I share a tiny bathroom with my two children, so I fervently aim to keep it as clutter free as possible. Easier said than done for sure, but we’ve managed to keep things pretty simple. We also place a lot of emphasis on leading a toxin-free lifestyle, and we’ve been very pleased with each of these items. Here is what we use at bath time:


1. White towels: All four of us use the same white bath towels. Even when our babies were infants, we didn’t fuss with baby towels. I find they grow out of them quickly, anyhow. (We did receive some as gifts, so I have used them, but mostly I stuck with our main towels). These are the towels we have.

2. Cups. A great cup for rinsing during the bath is a given, but I love these mid century white cups I found at a thrift store for 50 cents. We only have two, but the kids love them because they stack.

3. Spout Cover. A true minimalist might forgo this item, but it has saved a bonked bean on many occasions for us. I wouldn’t risk skipping this. We love ours—non-toxic and adorable.

4. Toy. This is it. The ONE toy in our bathtub (of course the two cups are also used as toys). Seems nuts, right? Sometimes our older son brings in plastic cars, but mostly both children are more than happy with this one toy night after night. It is common to have a whole slew of toys in the bath, but I find children are more creative when they are given less. Try it out—maybe you can get away with one toy, too. And this natural rubber duck is incredible. It is a bit more expensive than its peers, but it is totally non-toxic, does not have holes (so water cannot get inside and create mold) and holds up well after tons of use. To me, it is worth it.

5. California Baby Shampoo and Bubble Bath. One kind of soap for body and hair for both children. Rated a one on EWG, it is completely safe for babies. Also, a little bit goes a long way, so the bottle lasts a while. We use the bubble bath on special occasions and when they are sick. I truly believe the eucalyptus helps.

6. Bathtub Mat. I had a surprisingly hard time finding a non-toxic (bpa-, phthalate-, pvc-free) bath mat. This mat from Ikea is rubber. Although not billed as “natural” rubber, I felt more comfortable with this option than anything else I came across. I’d love to hear if you have a better suggestion!

7. Mesh Bag. We keep the rubber duck and cups in a mesh bag. So far, no rust on the zipper. I just throw it in the wash every few weeks to keep it clean.

8. Suction Cup. We hang the bathtub mat and mesh bag on this suction cup on the shower wall. Keeps the toys and things out of my way when I’m using the shower, and also helps them dry more quickly.

Before your baby sits confidently, you’ll need a safe way to bathe them. I’ve never liked bathing them in the kitchen sink—but I am short, so someone taller might feel differently. For neither baby did I use a bath seat that I liked, so I cannot recommend one from personal use … But if we have a third baby, I will be ordering this one below. The Primo web site says this bath seat is BPA Free, Phthalate Free, Lead Free, and PVC Free, and the reviews on Amazon are great (and, well, it is white … my favorite).

Primo infant bath seat

The one other thing I would add for bathing newborns and infants is plain white soft wash cloths. Though adding to the number of “things” to deal with, I find it is worth it. Using one to lay over their body really helps keep them warm and happy. (I actually just used the cloth diapers we used for burp cloths so as to not have another “category” to deal with. Also, burp cloths are bigger than standard wash cloths, which I also liked).

Here’s what I would consider skipping for bathtime: tons of toys (especially any that have holes), a variety of soaps, crazy toy holding contraptions, and toy scoops. Also bath toys and accessories are commonly made of PVC—a very toxic substance—so be on the lookout for that.

What have you found you can eliminate? I love learning about other peoples techniques to minimize!

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