The hidden mould in your baby’s teething toy – and what you can do about it

And no, putting it in the dishwasher isn't the right thing to do, according to Sophie's makers...

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A few months ago we shared a story about a series of parents who’d posted pics of their little one’s sippy cups – full of mould on the inside of the spouts.

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And now a mum has shared a picture of a popular teething toy – Sophie the Giraffe (also known by its French name Sophie la Girafe) – cut open to reveal the mould inside it. Pretty gross, eh?

“I decided to cut into Sophie out of curiosity and discovered a science experiment living inside,” Dana Chianese told Goodhousekeeping.com.

“Smelly, ugly mould living in my infant’s favourite chew toy!”

We agree – it really isn’t pleasant, and the thought of your precious baby chewing on this daily… well, it’s not nice really, is it?

This story’s doing the rounds at the moment – and a number of solutions were given on how to get rid of the yucky stuff inside your children’s toys (it will specifically be ones manufactured with holes in them).

We read suggestions like popping them in the dishwasher once a week, using bleach and cleaning them with vinegar – but we wanted to get first-hand advice from the experts, and here’s what they told us…

What the scientists say

We got in touch with the Microbiology Society, who went to the top guy – their President, Neil Gow – to find out what’s going on in Sophie and teething toys like her.

He had this to say:

“Any toy that gets wet (by chewing, for example) is likely to have fungi growing both inside and on it.

“Other household items have fungi associated with them too – pillows often have a significant amount of fungal spores on them, for instance.

“Happily, these fungi are not normally going to cause any harm, unless someone is sensitised to them through an underlying health issue – perhaps if they’re asthmatic or immunocompromised.

“While it’s sensible to clean children’s toys from time to time, fungi shouldn’t be an issue of concern for the majority of people.”

Phew – that’s a relief, isn’t it?

So, how SHOULD you clean Sophie?

That said, we can also see that you probably will want to give a toy like this a clean once in a while, seeing as it’s getting chewed rather a lot by your little one (we imagine).

We went directly to the makers of Sophie the Giraffe to get their tips on cleaning – and contrary to a lot of the advice out there on social media – here’s what they told us:

“First of all, it’s important to know that Sophie the Giraffe is composed of 100% natural rubber, so the cleaning instructions have to be carefully respected.

“As indicated on the packaging and in an explanatory leaflet inside the packaging, we recommend to clean the surface of Sophie the Giraffe with a damp cloth. Sophie the Giraffe should not be sterilised.

“It should not be immersed in the water nor rinsed off, to prevent water from getting inside, as she may become damaged.

“We thus would like to emphasise the fact that is it important, while cleaning the product, that no water gets inside the hole.”

Here at MFM the question we keep asking is: why is Sophie made with a hole in her? Surely not having that would be part of the solution?

We’re guessing it’s something to do with the making process, but we can’t help but think it would be good to get rid of it if possible…

What do you think?

Does your little one use Sophie the Giraffe as a teether or something similar? How do you wash them, and how often?

Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook

Image: Dana Chianese on Pinterest

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