Research – Bath toy bacteria: tests reveal E.coli, Coliform, Staph and more

ABC 3340


The yellow rubber ducky is a childhood staple in the bathtub along with other toys. While fun, they can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

“They especially love these squeezy ones because they love to you know, squirt each other in the face and play games like that,” explains mom Mindy Lind.

But what grows inside these toys between bath time can be concerning to parents. Microbiologist Dr. Sheril Burton checked for common types of bacteria in toys from five different homes. Samples were collected from two rubber ducks, a block, a starfish and a truck.

They were incubated and six days later some pretty nasty organisms were found.

The results: A rubber duck and a truck tested positive for E.coli. Two ducks were positive for staph. A duck, a block, and truck were positive for pseudomonas. All were positive for fungi and coliform, except a starfish which was dry.

” What’s happening in the toy is from the soap and washing from your body and everything, your body fluids, you are enhancing the growth of the bacteria,” says Dr. Burton.

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