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How to Clean Wood and Felt Toys

Why is it important to clean toys?

Babies putting things in their mouths, otherwise known as mouthing, is not only normal, but also signals a growing interest in the world around them. In the first year, children explore their surroundings through their senses — seeing, touching, hearing, smelling, and tasting. The more they explore, the more they learn.

Children are 2-3 times more likely than adults to catch the flu or common cold, and the most common place these germs and bacteria like to hide are children’s toys (CDC, 2020).  The good news is that wood has natural anti-bacterial properties, so germs don’t stick around as much as they may on toys made of plastic, rubber, or other materials. You don’t need to clean toys everyday, but giving them a refresher even just once a month will help keep them in good condition. Here are some easy steps to help clean and maintain some of your favourite toys.

Image of 5 year old Grimm's Rainbow

Cleaning Wooden Toys 

1. Start with a bowl or spray bottle filled with warm water, for more severe dirt or staining you could add a small amount of environmentally friendly dish soap. If the stain is quite severe use a mix of 1 parts vinegar to 10 parts warm water solution. Spray or dab cloth onto the wooden toy (never soak or fully immerse toy in water as this will cause swelling and cracks/ damage.

2. Wipe toy down gently with cloth or sponge.

3. Place toy outside in a safe place and allow to dry (Avoid direct sunlight)

Note: Use a stronger vinegar solution for stubborn stains, If all fails use some smooth sandpaper to remove and unwanted marks (not recommended on coloured wood). We always recommend patch testing any solution

Replenishing Wooden Toys

Every few months you should moisturize wooden toys, this will help extend the lifetime and preserve a nice and fresh look of the toy. The best time to do this is after toys have been cleaned and dried.

  1. Simply use a washcloth with olive oil or beeswax polish and gently rub into wooden toy.
  2. Allow a few hours to dry before placing back in the play area. Avoid direct sunlight, as this could crack your toys.

Cleaning Felt Toys

  1. Wipe the surface gently with a baby wipe. This will clean any remaining debris from your item. Be very careful when wiping and avoid any aggressive scrubbing, since this can damage the surface of your felt.
  1. For stubborn stains or hair use  masking tape. Patting the sticky side of masking tape over the surface of the felt, then quickly pulling it off.
  1. For stubborn stains use a tiny amount of very gentle soap and dap directly on the stain.
    Be sure you dab the soap on, do not rub at the fabric. Spot cleaning small and relatively minor stains this way is preferable to immersing your felt item in water, since the dyed colour in felt can run easily.
  1. For extra stubborn stains, you can use diluted white vinegar to clean the felt. Again only dab, do not rub.

Note: Do not dry in direct sunlight because this can damage the fabric. Felt toys can be wet and remodelled, however colours may run.

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Growing Kind have written this as a guide only. Please patch test all methods of cleaning. We cannot take responsibility for any damage caused when cleaning, or replenishing your toys or resources.

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