How to clean wooden toys

It's no secret that I love wooden toys here at Happy Cat Kids and they certainly look beautiful, last well and are much friendlier to our planet, but I know if you've got a young child that there is a certain appeal to the easily-wipe-downable plastic toys!! However, I'm here to share with you a few tips on how to clean your wooden toys (and it's much simpler than you'd think!) Also far less toxic for your little ones!!

Fascinatingly, wooden toys have natural antimicrobial properties so harmful bacteria and viruses don't settle on the wood in the same way they would do on other surfaces such as plastic! You could almost say they are 'self-cleaning'! For this reason, unless the toys actually get something spilt on them or your child is sick on it(!), you really don't need to clean them very often at all! Just a quick dust down is often all that is needed. For items like wooden teething toys or if your child is constantly putting the toys in their mouth, you'll probably want to clean those ones more often!

When you do wish to give your toys a clean, keep it natural! You do not need specific cleaning products with harsh chemicals!

A simple washing-up liquid or distilled vinegar and some warm water is all you'll need!

Large wooden pastel rainbow

The most important thing to remember is not to leave toys soaking too long in water. Due to the porous nature of wood, they will soak up some of the water which over time could lead to warping or even rotting of the wood!

The best way to clean is to make up a spray bottle with 1 part distilled vinegar or washing-up liquid to 4 parts water. Give the toys a good spray, wipe them down with a clean cloth and leave to air dry. If you've got a large number of items like a big tub of wooden blocks then spraying each block individually is not overly practical!! In that instance, you can make up a bowl of warm water mixed the same ratio as the spray bottle (1:4), drop the blocks in to the bowl, give them a quick swirl around in the mixture, then rinse them off, wipe any that need extra attention with your cloth and then take them out and leave them to dry! Remember, don't leave them soaking in the water!

What if your toy is particularly dirty?

Let's say your child has been sick on a toy or there is unidentified half-eaten food encrusted on!! Start with the above cleaning regime but if they still need an extra bit of work then make up a paste with bicarbonate of soda and water and give them a good scrub with an old toothbrush/nailbrush or just a damp cloth. Then rinse them down and leave them to dry as normal.

Wooden breakfast tray toy

If you want to dry your toys quicker (and even benefit from another natural germ-buster) then once you've cleaned them, pop them in the sun to dry! They'll be back on the nursery shelf in no time and the sun has natural anti-bacterial properties too! Win-win!!

So there you have it - simple to clean, you don't need to do it often and you don't need any harsh, toxic chemicals! Now I love wooden toys even more!

Check out our full selection of wooden toys and games here.

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