How to clean wooden toys

Can you wash wooden toys?

You can wash and disinfect wooden toys, but you should be aware of the fact that water might raise the grain of some wooden toys and leave them rougher. Whether this will happen depends on how the wood was sanded and finished.

Washing might also cause the colors to fade – depending on how a toy has been coloured and on the substances with which it is treated.

We will share with you how we wash Mr Fox Crafts wooden toys (they do not become rougher after washing, and their colours do not fade), and our method is not new or unique. In fact, many people use it. However, you might wish to test it on one little toy of a certain brand and see how it works.

It might be a good idea to read the instructions specific makers offer. They usually advise against using bleaching agents and disinfectants as these might cause color fading. Some of these might be toxic or cause irritation too.

How we wash our wooden toys

We use soap / dishwashing liquid with some vinegar on a sponge to soap the toy, and then we very quickly rinse under tap water. We immediately dry it with a towel. Then we let it air dry or use a hair drier for a minute. Some people leave the toys under direct sunlight.

We do not soak the toys in water, and we clean and dry them one by one so that they take in as little water as possible. Then we do not leave them to dry on a heater. We avoid doing these in order to prevent the toys from warping and cracking while drying.

How to disinfect our wooden toys

For disinfection against germs you believe are not affected by soap and vinegar, you can use rubbing alcohol. For disinfecting our toys, we can safely recommend spiritus aethylicus for medical purposes – we have tested this on our toys. However, this substance may cause fading of colors on other brands, so make sure you contact the makers or make a test on a small toy or just on a small not-so-visible part of it.

Oiling and waxing wooden toys

When the toys are dry, we finish them with raw linseed oil – it has been used for centuries as wood finish, and it works well for us. When it is dry, we polish it with a dry cloth, which gives it a low-luster look. You might wish to use other oils that do not go rancid: mineral oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, etc. 

Some people would also wax their toys. If you are looking for a non-toxic wax, you should research what is offered in your area. If you would like to wax your toys, you might use beeswax or carnauba wax, for example. There are ready-made products, so you do not need to prepare on your own, but if you are interested in that, there are many tutorials online.

Here is another article on the same topic by someone we trust – in Bella Luna’s blog

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