Used Baby Bath Tubs Save the World from Another Hunk of Plastic

In the March issue of ShopSmart, put out by the publisher of Consumer Reports, experts analyzed used baby gear to determine “when you can gratefully say yes and when you should gracefully say no thanks.”  I am devoting several posts to discussing their findings.

Here’s what ShopSmart has to say about bath products:

Safe: Used baby bathtubs are fine as long as the lining isn’t full of mold or mildew.

Not Safe: If the tub has an odor of either of these, say no thanks because they can be hard to remove. Also, skip secondhand bath seats, bath rings, and inflatable tubs since they have been responsible for many deaths among babies.

While I’d obviously steer clear of the bath seats, rings, and inflatable tubs, I wonder how hard is it, really, to remove mold or mildew from a baby bath?  A spritz of vinegar or a scrub with soapy water, or even a douse of boiling water would probably clean a baby bathtub up just fine.  I hate to think of tossing a huge hunk of plastic into a landfill and then buying a brand new one made from crude oils.  It’s obviously greener to find a used one and try to wash it off.

Full disclosure: We decided we needed a baby bathtub after our daughter outgrew the bathroom sink.  (The kitchen sink wouldn’t work for a variety of reasons.)  We found a plastic tub at the consignment store–sitting under a tree in the rain and mud.  We took it home, washed off a layer of dirt and pine needles, and it worked just fine for a few months before Audrey graduated to the full bath.

Do I need to take dirt a little more seriously?  Am I throwing caution to the wind?  Or will my strength in the face of grime end up saving the planet?  A secondhand baby bathtub worked for me.  For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, head on over to Rocks in My Dryer.


  1. Ha! I just had the baby bath seat debate with my husband. We had a used infant tub and when it became clear that she was outgrowing it I started looking around for a bath seat of some type. The only thing I found that looked safe and “decent” was over $30 and used a TON of plastic (it has a piece that attaches to the side of the tub). I came home and told my husband there is no way I’m spending that much money for a Made In China piece of plastic. We decided to just bathe her in the kitchen sink..since she is still a wobbly sitter my husband supports her back with his hand and I wash her. It works great!

  2. We skipped the bath gear AND sink completely – we just bring her into the bath or shower with us – ever since she was born 8 1/2 mos ago. I’ve even mastered doing both showers and baths with her alone when my husband is working late. She LOVES it.

    We have one tiny bathroom and nowhere to keep all that stuff. In fact, I have a 2L icecream container to store her bathtoys, and that is the limit. If she’s given more toys than that, something already in it must be given away.

    Her favourity bath “toy” is a yogurt container with holes drilled into the bottom that becomes her “shower”. One day I plan on putting food coloring in with the water in the yogurt container “shower” for a fun surprise.

  3. So glad you support avoiding excess waste by seeking a used baby bath. Sometimes people forget that its greener to use what is already around than to buy a new product, even if it is one billed as eco-friendly.

  4. Rebecca, I think you’re right that some dirt or mildew is easy to wash off. People get too hung up on a little dirt! Audrey looks happy in her bath to me!

  5. i agree about people getting too “hung up on a little dirt.” This society has become too germ phobic, to the point that it is actually causing us more harm than good (physically and psychologically). don’t get me started on this being a symptom of our disconnection with nature. a common sense approach is always best. as my best friend in middle school used to say, ‘god made dirt and dirt don’t hurt!’

  6. With my son, now 3, we used a second-hand baby tub (and just about everything else!) until he was big enough for the regular tub.

    With my daughter, now 6 months old, I’ve given her sponge baths and taken her into the bath with me and frequently with me and the 3 year old. No wasted water with a family bath! Everyone gets clean and has fun at the same time. It’s clean and green, and no plastic tub to store!

  7. Where can I sell my baby bath!!! Its only been used twice. My son would always get stiff as a board when we put him in it so we just laid him on a towel folded a few times. He’s finally 6 months old so he just sits up or crawls around in the water!!

  8. I was thinking of using a galvanized steel water trough for fun outdoor bathing. Does anyone know if this would be safe?

  9. What an adorable baby!!!!!

  10. I love the pic and the entry! The baby is so cute! The article is very useful for everybody!

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