Girl plays with wooden blocks in how to care for wooden toys

Your Guide to Caring for Wooden Toys

Wooden baby toys are a great choice for so many reasons. They tend to be well crafted and are often beautifully designed. But how do you care for wooden toys? Read on for a simple method for cleaning and maintaining your wood toys. Plus we’ll look at the science involved in the natural antimicrobial properties of wood.

Some of our favorite toymakers, like PlanToys, use sustainably forested woods to make their toys, so you can trust that their environmental footprint is small. Additionally, their wooden toys are non-toxic. They use non-toxic glues and stains. That’s important for baby toys – because babies explore the world with their mouths.

How do you care for wooden toys?

Because baby is almost certainly going to gum any toy at hand, you want to know how to clean and care for them. The wonderful thing about wooden toys is that wood comes with antimicrobial qualities. Wood has consistently shown the ability to halt the growth of and kill harmful bacteria that comes in contact with its surface. Most studies have looked at wood used in food preparation – cutting boards for example.

Among the wood species which have been investigated, pine, oak and larch showed the highest capacity in inhibiting the growth of different bacteria. Maple, spruce, beech, and poplar have also been widely studied for their antibacterial properties.

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Wood is known to have a relaxing effect on humans

Other studies suggest that wood is empirically known to have a stress-reducing effect on humans. The research data of an international study showed that natural and smooth wood surfaces were perceived more positively in emotional touch than coated surfaces. Wood materials were described as calming, relaxing, pleasant, and desirable. So there you have two great reasons to buy wood toys.

How do you clean baby toys?

But whether wood or another material like plastic, you don’t want to use harsh or potentially toxic cleansers to clean toys. Our favorite cleaner is plain old vinegar. Vinegar is naturally antimicrobial and non-toxic. White or apple cider vinegar both will work fine.

Follow these simple steps to clean baby toys:

1. Mix 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water

2. Brush any dust or dirt off the toy

3. If lightly soiled, dampen a clean rag with the vinegar solution and wipe the toy

4. If heavily soiled, you can fill a spray bottle with the vinegar solution and spray it on the toy

5. Wipe the toy dry with a clean cloth

6. Set the toy in the sun or in a warm place to fully air dry

Have your toddler help clean their wooden toys

Toddlers are less likely to put toys in their mouths – though many still do and it’s perfectly normal. And at this stage, you can take advantage of the fact that toddlers love to clean because they see adults doing it. Many toymakers sell cleaning sets that give little cleaners the tools they need for the job.

how to clean wooden toys PlayToys Cleaning Set

You can enlist your toddler to help clean their own toys. Vinegar is completely non-toxic, so have your little one brush the dust off their toys and wipe them with a rag dampened with the vinegar solution. They may especially enjoy lining their toys up in a row in the sun for drying.

How do you get mold out of wood toys?

Wooden toys can get wet, but they should be placed out to dry after. Most wooden toys are not well suited for bath time, especially if you store your bath toys in the bathroom – though PlanToys makes some wonderful wood bath toys.

Fortunately, the vinegar cleaning solution above works well to clean mold off wooden toys. Though mold can leave wood discolored, washing with vinegar and allowing a complete air dry will stop the mold growth.

Proper care for Wooden Toys extends their life

Whether you use vinegar, baking soda, or another non-toxic cleaning solution, the trick is to allow your toys to dry thoroughly before storing them away. You can place them in sunlight, or a warm spot. And store them in rooms with relatively lower humidity levels.

Wooden toys are naturally durable. Caring properly for them will keep them entertaining kids for years to come – beyond your own family and to the next generation that gets to enjoy them. Wondering where to buy used toys online? Try Toycycle. 

Check out our entire collection of wooden toys.

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