How to Clean Wood Toys: An Easy Guide

Written by Sara Langer
10:15 am
06/20/17

If you’ve been reading Mother for a while now, you know how much we love wood toys. They are beautiful, durable, and made of safe, non-toxic materials. We love how seamlessly they blend into home decor without creating a bright plastic eyesore, like some children’s toys do. Plus, toys made of natural materials nourishes a young child’s senses and connects them to nature. Thankfully, keeping them clean is simple and you can even get your kids involved in the process, since no bleach or harsh chemicals are required. Wood has natural anti-bacterial properties, so germs don’t stick around as much as they may on toys made of plastic, rubber, or other materials. You don’t need to clean them everyday, but giving them a refresher every couple of weeks or even just once a month will help keep them in good condition. There are just a few easy steps to keeping wooden toys fresh so they can be passed on for years to come. We put together a few tips and tricks on how to clean wood toys below.

Keep it natural
You want to use a gentle cleanser on wooden toys. Anything from a simple vinegar and water solution (1 part vinegar to 10 parts water), a mild, environmentally friendly dish soap, and some warm water, or your favorite non-toxic multi-purpose cleaner, diluted with water, will work well. You don’t want to use bleach or harsh chemicals as it can dry-out the wood.

No soaking
You never want to soak wooden toys, as wood is very porous. The shape of the toy can change and warp with too much moisture and if the toy doesn’t dry completely, more germs and bacterial will want to hang out. If the wood swells, it can cause the wood to crack or damage any painting or finish on the surface of the toy. Using a wet washcloth to clean will keep the wood from getting too drenched.

Easy as 1, 2, 3
Cleaning wood toys can happen in three easy steps. Spray the toys with your cleaner of choice, gently wipe down with a sponge or washcloth and a bit of warm water, then allow the toys to air dry. Putting them in the sun will help kill even more germs and speed up the drying process.

Treating stains
Vinegar does the trick again! Create a more concentrated mixure of vinegar and water. You can use a 1:1 ratio for stains. Spray the stain and scrub it with a sponge. Putting it in the sun to dry will also help “bleach” out the stain. If it’s a really tough stain, you can use a little sand-paper to buff it out.

Replenish the moisture
Every once and a while you will want to moisturize wooden toys, just as you would your cutting boards, butcher blocks, or wooden utensils. Mineral oil or olive oil work really well, or beeswax polish is another great, non-toxic option.  You only need a washcloth or rag for easy application.

How To Clean Wood Toys

For more related articles, check out our piece on 20 wood toys we want now, our favorite wooden baby rattles, nursery inspiration featuring tons of wooden touches, and baby-proof decorating ideas for your tabletops.

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