How To Clean Wooden Toys: Simple, Safe & Effective Tips

Wooden toys in a box.

  • Wood is naturally antimicrobial, so it won’t harbor dangerous bacteria.
  • A simple mixture of vinegar or soap and warm water is all you need to clean wooden toys.
  • Never soak wooden toys—it’ll cause them to swell and change shape.

Wooden toys are fantastic! They’re hardwearing, more environmentally friendly than plastic children’s toys, and usually beautiful. With proper care, your children will be able to pass their wooden blocks or pull-along toys down to their own kids one day. What a wonderful thought! As long as you know how to clean wooden toys effectively, they should continue looking great for generations.

Are Wooden Toys Hygienic?

Wooden toys are some of the most hygienic toys you can buy! This is because wood is naturally antimicrobial. Because wood is porous, it draws moisture away from the surface, killing the bacteria. So you can take some comfort in the fact that your child’s wooden toys are less likely to harbor nasty germs.

Contrast that with plastic toys, which can provide a perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria. One study found that bacteria left on plastic overnight will multiply. However, on wood, between 98 and 99.9% of the same bacteria will be gone by morning.

How Often Should You Clean Wooden Toys?

Wooden toys are incredibly low maintenance due to their natural antibacterial quality, and most won’t need cleaning more than once a month unless:

  • Your child has been sick.
  • There’s visible grime or mess.
  • They’ve been used around food.
  • Your little one often puts the toy in their mouth or uses it for teething.

In these cases, you’ll want to give them a good clean. Teething toys might benefit from a daily wipe with a mild soap and water solution. 

Cute baby playing with wooden blocks at home.

What Materials Should You Use To Clean Wooden Toys?

You’ll be happy to know that cleaning wooden toys doesn’t require harsh chemicals, special products, or equipment. It’s just as simple as cleaning other baby toys. You’ll likely have everything you need already, which includes:

  • A clean cloth.
  • Warm water.
  • Your choice of cleaning product. This could be white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, a mild soap solution, or a non-toxic cleaning product marketed as safe for children.

Optional extras include:

  • A spray bottle for your water mixture.
  • Olive oil or mineral oil.

How to Clean Wooden Toys

Cleaning wooden toys is simple. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Make up your cleaning solution. If you use vinegar, a 1:10 ratio of vinegar to water will be perfect. 
  2. Spray the toy or use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the mixture over the toy. You may need to use a scrubbing brush or toothbrush for any stuck-on grime.
  3. Wipe with a dry cloth to remove any remaining product or soap residue.
  4. Leave the toys to air dry completely. If it’s a warm day, leave them outside in direct sunlight—they’ll dry faster, and the UV rays will kill germs too!

Treat stains with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water, bright sunlight, or a quick sand with sandpaper. Be careful though—if the toys are painted, sandpaper will likely remove the color along with the stain. 

Don’t worry if you notice your wooden toys are looking a little faded or dried out. You can gently wipe them with olive or mineral oil to restore their original shine. Beeswax is also a great baby-safe option that’ll protect wooden toys from drying out, prevent scratches, and keep them looking fantastic.

What to Avoid When Cleaning a Wooden Toy

Cleaning wooden toys is easy, but just like cleaning squishy toys, they need proper care since some methods can damage them.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Never soak or submerge wood. This will cause it to swell or change shape. A quick spray or wipe with a damp cloth will provide enough moisture for cleaning without damaging it.
  2. Always air dry the wood. Drying wooden toys too quickly with a heater or hairdryer could cause the wood to split.
  3. You should also never use harsh chemicals, like bleach. Not only are they toxic for your baby, but they’ll also dry out and bleach the wood. This could lead to cracking or discoloration.

Now you know how to clean wooden toys both the right way and the wrong way. Your child’s toys will stay gorgeous for years to come.

How To Clean Wooden Toys: Simple, Safe & Effective Tips


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