How to clean wooden toys

It is common knowledge tha toys are their most valuable possessions. They spend all day along with their toys, playing outside in the yard, inside the house, holding them in hand even when eating and sleeping. However, toys inevitably come into contact with germs and bacteria, either from the fingers of toddlers or the mouths of babies. Therefore, it is absolutely critical to keep toys clean not only for the long-term integrity of the toy, but also for the health and safety of the child using it. Different toys need to be cleaned in different ways and we’re gonna talk about how to clean wooden toys.

How often should you clean wooden toys?

Wood is naturally antibacterial, so it does not accumulate harmful bacteria or viruses like plastic toys. You don’t have to clean the wooden toys too often. If your baby or toddler likes to put wooden toys in his mouth, you may need to clean them more often like once a week. When using wooden toys in a day or child care facility, you are supposed to follow the facility's toy hygiene guidelines. 

Ways to clean wooden toy?

To clean wooden toys, it is advised that you should use a soft cleanser that will not dry the surface of the toy. If you want to keep wooden toys in good condition, you need to avoid using potent chemicals such as bleach or hard detergent. Because the surface of toys can be dried and cracked, leading to the change of the appearance of the toy. Due to the wooden toy’s porous nature, it can absorb aggressive chemicals easily.

For daily care of wooden toys, you can use natural soap and water or a mixture of vinegar and water. You just need to mix a few drops of soap with a small amount of warm water(about one  pint) to make a solution. The natural soap is able to clean the surface of the toy without drying it or leaving streaks. Vinegar is also an excellent thing that can also be used as a mild disinfectant. Prepare a solution of white or apple cider vinegar and water in the ratio of 1:1. You can also add a drop of aromatic oil, which can make the toy have a light and pleasant aroma. Most importantly, it is safe for your children. You can apply the solution with a soft brush, a damp cloth, a spray bottle to clean your wooden toy according to how dirty your toy is.

If your toy is not very dirty, you can simply brush it or wipe it with a damp cloth. If it is very dirty, it is advised that you could use a spray bottle . What you should do is spray a small amount of the solution on the surface of the toy and then wipe it off with a clean, dry cloth. If there is a great amount of contamination, you can quickly rinse your toy in your solution. It is wrong to immerse wooden toys into the solution for a long time because it will deform or warp the wood. No matter which application you choose, it is of great importance to make sure that the toy is dried as soon as you have finished applying the solution. For painted toys, you should be careful not to rub the toy too vigorously when cleaning it with a brush or cloth. Once the toy is completely dry, the child can play with it again.

Something you need to know about cleaning wooden toys

1. Do not submerge the toy in water

Once you’ve got your cleaning solution, whatever that may be, the next step is to clean the toys physically. The best way to do this is to soak the cloth in the solution and wipe down the toys thoroughly. However, since wood is a porous material, which can soak up water and warp when it dries, you need to avoid soaking anything made of wood. Besides, swollen wood can also crack or damage paints and finishes, so you just need to wipe off the bacteria and dirt with a washcloth. Even painted toys, the surface of which is less sensitive, should not be cleaned in the dishwasher or in the water bath. From a hygienic point of view, it is perfectly sufficient to wipe the surface with rinsing or vinegar water just like with untreated wood. In the case of heavy impurities, instead of sanding paper, it is recommended that the paint would necessarily rub along to use a coarser sponge. As a rule, most dirt can be easily removed.

2. Never disinfect wooden toys

It is not recommended to use disinfectants on the surface of wooden toys. Many parents are afraid that the bacteria in the wooden toys can survive or that the child can be infected by sharing toys with other children. Yet the truth is that aggressive disinfection through commercial means, or the use of alcohol in case of doubt is more likely to cause harm to children.

On the one hand, the material of wooden toys can be strongly damaged due to disinfection. On the other hand, for those children who often put toys in their mouths, there is a risk that the residues of disinfectants will reach the mucous membranes. Studies have also shown that wooden toys are inherently more hygienic than plastic toys. Wood from some particular trees, such as pine, oak and larch, has been shown to contain bacterial inhibitors. This is due to the hygroscopic, or moisture-promoting, properties of certain components such as polyphenols, which can inhibit the growth of bacteria.

3. Consider polishing wooden toys with natural oil or wax

Like anything else made of wood, wooden toys will dry out over time. Therefore, if you want to replenish the moisture in the wooden toys, it’s necessary to hydrate and nourish them with natural oils or waxes occasionally. You can choose to use plain mineral oil or beeswax, which are safe, non-toxic. All you need to do is add a little bit to a washrag and apply an even coat before the toy dries.

4. Store at an appropriate temperature

Wood is sensitive to drastic changes in temperature and humidity, so you should try to store wooden toys indoors where the temperature and humidity are more stable. In other words, if possible, don't leave these toys outside overnight and avoid storing them in places with drastic temperature fluctuations, such as the garage or attic.

Toys are children's best friends, accompanying children throughout their childhood, so we should ensure that the toys are clean and safe. If you are able to clean your wooden step stool or wood puzzle this way, your children will get much more life out of the toy. If you want to read more articles about wooden toy, such as how to choose wooden toys or how to organize them, welcome to visit ealingtoys.

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