A good wooden toy will last for generations. That’s why we say our toys are heirloom-quality – they’ll still be there for your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. But for these great toys to become loveable antiques, they’re going to need a bit of care and love. In this post we’ll talk about how to clean, protect, store, and otherwise take care of any quality wooden toy so that it will stand the test of time
With plastic toys, it’s not uncommon to spray them with Lysol or wash them with diluted bleach. Some parents even soak them in the sink, especially if kids are getting over a cold.
Doing the same with wooden toys is a guaranteed way to damage and even ruin them.
You can make your own homemade cleanser by mixing 1 part white vinegar with 1 part water. If you mix it in a spray bottle, you can give a good mist to all your kid’s toys, the doorknobs, and more. Plus, you’ll have more very handy when you need it. It’s all natural and not the least bit harsh. Well, except maybe the vinegar smell. Many people find that odor objectionable, and if you’re one of them, a few drops of your favorite essential oil will work wonders. Lavender has a calming effect and is often used by naturopaths to calm children and adults – two drops of lavender oil per cup of vinegar cleanser is just right. After misting wooden toys with this mixture, be sure to wipe down each one and remove the moisture. Never leave water on wooden toys.
Commercial varnishes are caustic mixtures of chemicals that are made to treat wood permanently. They’re way too harsh for a little teether or a car that winds up being chewed on. So we mix up some beeswax polish and apply that to most of our toys. All the toys that have a natural finish have been treated this way.
The beeswax polish wears off over time. It takes a while (many months, maybe even a year), but eventually spots of it disappear. What to do? Get a little more beeswax polish and apply it to your toys. Just rub it in real good and you’ve fixed the problem.
Storing Wooden Toys
So your children are done with a wooden toy, and you want to put it away for future use. How do you store it? First, wrap the toys in good, thick cloth or in a plastic bag. Then keep them in a dark, dry place. That will help prevent them from rotting. Put some redwood or cedar in with the toys – this will keep hungry pests away. That’s pretty much it!
Here are a few other tips to help take care of your wooden toys:
- Unless they were made to stay outside, don’t leave your wooden toys outside and exposed to the elements. Sure, send them outdoors with the little ones. Just be sure they come back inside.
- Don’t let wooden toys soak in water. Just like wooden bowls and spoons, the toys can soak up the water and this can lead the toys to crack or warp.
- If any rough spots or splinters appear (which is not likely, but it could happen), get some sandpaper and smooth it out. Don’t forget to rub some polish on it afterward.
Wooden toys are great – they’re stout, safe, and a load of fun. And now you know how to make them last for the great-grandchildren. If you have any questions, post a comment.