How to Clean Wooden Toys

From an early age children have a natural need to put everything in their mouth to explore their toys and the world around them. These toys go from the ground, to their hands, to their mouths. From time to time you may feel the need to clean these toys. Wood is a wonderful natural material for safe children’s toys. Wood is safe and durable, but it's also porous so to ensure a very long for your wooden toys life there are some very simple guidelines. 

The washing process for wooden toys is different from cleaning plastic toys as you would like to avoid harsh chemicals (which you would want to avoid around children anyway!) However, wooden toys are not as effected by germs as plastic toys, because wood has some natural antibacterial and anti microbial qualities. Because of this, harmful bacteria and viruses don’t accumulate on wooden toys with the same ease they can on plastic toys. In general, you’ll only need to clean your wooden toys when your child has been sick or when you notice some build-up of dirt.

Cleaning your Wooden Toys:

Wooden toys can have a very long life if they are well maintained. Never soak or immerse a wooden toy in water, as it might make the wood swell, change shape and effect the colours. 

Basic Cleaning: Use a cloth and warm water to wipe your wooden toys, then air dry, or wipe dry with with a dry cloth for a basic cleaning. 

More Thorough Cleaning: For a more thorough cleaning you can use a mild soapy water (such as a Castile soap) and rinse with a sponge to clean painted or varnished wooden toys. Drying carefully afterwards. 

Disinfecting Your Wooden Toys: To disinfect your toys a white vinegar or apple cider diluted well with water (1:4 ratio) to sponge down, then air dry or wipe well with a cloth.

Abrasive Cleaning: To preserve the painted finish of your wooden you would want to avoid abrasive cleaning, however sometimes there might be food hardened onto the toys (typical toddler habits!) that might need a little helping hand lifting off the surface. In this instance making a paste with baking soda can provide just enough abrasive power to gently remove the hardened on substances. Use with warm water and a cloth.

To Preserve: Wooden toys can last many many years when well looked after. Over time the wood can start to dry out. Wood oils and varnishes for furniture are usually toxic and not safe to use on wooden toys. Depending on the type of wood, a little olive oil rubbed on wooden toys could give old ones a new lease of life, and have them looking like new again. They oil will soak in, and any excess can be buffed off.

What to Avoid: Cleaning products for wooden furniture, or disinfectant wipes would most likely be toxic for your child. Other harsh cleaning products may strip the paint from the surface of your wooden toys. Soaking wooden toys in water should be avoided. Wooden bath toys are fine in water for the duration of the bath, but for a longer like the wooden bath toys should be dried fully after each use. Leaving wooden toys outdoors is also likely to shorten their lifespan as the damp environment will start to penetrate the wood.

Time Saving: Cleaning each and every piece of wooden toy individually with a cloth is not something most parents will have time for.  A spray bottle of your vinegar or soap solution and a cloth are usually all you need. This will get your toys clean without causing them to absorb too much water. Let them air dry but ensure they are spaced out sufficiently so they can dry comepletely.

For wooden toys with a huge amount of individual pieces such as building blocks you can fill your sink with a 1:4 solution of soap or vinegar and water and throw the blocks in and quickly swish then around. Be careful to ensure the wooden toys are only briefly in the water and that they are not left to soak in water.  Remove the wooden toys from the sink, drain, rinse, and dry immediately. 

We have a large selection of wooden toys at Toy Shed. For more information on how to select and care for your toys, check out out Frequently Asked Questions section.

 Wooden toys and educational games in ireland