Cleaning Wooden Toys

I love wooden toys and have since I became a mother decades ago! In fact, that is why I started in 2004.

Over the past few months, parents and creches have been asking me how to effectively clean wooden toys. So I got in touch with all our manufacturers for their advice and have also read up on the subject. Here are my do’s and don’ts for cleaning your wooden toys.


Wooden Toy Cleaning Top 3 DO’S:

1- Create a dilute solution with a few drops or sprinkles of any one of the following in a bowl of water

Washing up liquid

Baking Soda


and wipe with a very clean cloth – fresh out of washing machine if possible.

2- Dry with a soft dry cloth and, if possible, leave to air dry for a while. For additional protection, leave to air dry in the outdoors. Ultraviolet Light (the type that gives sunburn) is extremely effective, even on a cloudy day! (Source Newsweek Health 24/04/2020).

3- Stubborn stains on varnished wood should shift with some vigorous rubbing or a scrub with the plastic scrubbing side of a dish sponge.

Wooden Toy Cleaning Top 3 DONT’S:

  1. Never soak wooden toys in water as the wood will expand and will likely crack as it dries.
  2. Never use harsh chemicals such as bleach to clean wood as they might attack the natural wood fibres and be absorbed into the toy. Not the best thing if a child is going to put it into their mouth.
Alcohol wipes are a quick and easy way to wipe up dirt quickly, but avoid using them regularly as the wood will absorb some of the wipe solution.
It is important to make the difference between cleaning and disinfecting, cleaning removes germs, dirt and other impurities using soap and water. Disinfecting kills germs using chemicals.
3. Disinfection is only needed when:
a child or their playmates has been sick
the toy has become soiled
the toy has become very dirty with something unidentifiable

In these cases, clean the toys as I describe above, then conclude with a spritz of an approved disinfectant liquid or a disinfectant wipe, and then wipe and air-dry as normal.

Remember that the essence of children is play…touching and feeling and sharing toys.

Therefore let’s use our common sense within a COVID environment, and make sure children coming for a play-over wash their hands and come from a non-COVID household. 

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