Welcome to our ‘ Can Wooden Toys Be Sanitized ‘ step by step guide
When it comes to cleaning toys (regardless of the material that they are made from), sanitizing them is an important task that all parents or childminders need to be aware of. Minimizing the risk of infection or illness should be a top priority alongside allowing the children to actually have fun playing with their toys.
Wooden toys pose a particular challenge when it comes to sanitizing because they are more susceptible to becoming moldy or housing germs when damp or wet. Therefore, submerging them in water for a deep clean or placing them in the dishwasher/washing machine like you can with other plastic or rubber toys is not an option.
To fully sanitize a wooden toy, you need to wipe them down with a slightly damp cloth using hot soapy water to remove surface level dirt or substances. Next you need to wipe them by hand with a disinfectant wipe or spray to kill any germs and bacteria. Following this you should leave them to fully air dry before your children can use them again.
Why Do You Need to Sanitize Toys?
Children have a strong tendency to play around with items and put them inside their mouths. This could be considered an innocent act if it wasn’t for the fact that children’s toys are among some of the most germ filled items in a common household.
Whilst a toy can show clear signs of needing to be cleaned with visible markers like dirt and other substances (food, liquid etc..), it’s actually what you can’t see that poses the greatest risk to infection and illness.
Germs and bacteria are just as likely to reside on toys as they are on most household surfaces and while all toys are susceptible to this, wooden toys in particular have the further possibility of harboring mold.
Children do need to be exposed to dirt and germs in order to build up an immunity, so this article is not intended to scare anyone into cleaning toys after every use. A commonsense approach should be taken with regular cleaning each week or if the toys have been shared, then sanitizing daily would be a sensible approach.
The key point to note however, is that regular cleaning needs to be done in a specific way that will kill germs and bacteria, the correct way to clean a toy is therefore to sanitize and disinfect it.
The Difference Between Cleaning and Sanitizing
Cleaning is an incredibly general term and it’s important to note that while cleaning can remove germs from surfaces/items, it’s actually the process of disinfecting that will kill germs.
There are many home remedies for cleaning toys which include the use of household items such as vinegar, bleach, or hot soapy water. While these are certainly great for making surfaces appear to be clean and sparkling, they are not solutions that are guaranteed to kill germs.
You have likely seen the commercials for products that claim to kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria, while these are often advertised for use on household surfaces, it’s just as important that these are the items that you are using to sanitize your toys with, especially wooden toys like train tracks.
Soapy water or a homemade vinegar solution can be used to do an initial clean of the toy, but for extra diligence and peace of mind you should then use a specially formulated disinfectant solution to ensure that you fully sanitize the toys.
Hospitals, restaurants, and other public areas that risk the contamination of germs all use alcohol-based hand sanitizers to kill germs. Therefore, you should replicate this level of caution when sanitizing toys and use a sanitizing product rather than taking the homemade approach.
How to Clean and Sanitize Wooden Toys
Cleaning and sanitizing your wooden toys is a simple and quick step by step process that ensures the toys not only look clean but are also completely free from germs and bacteria.
Step 1 – Clean the Surface
Visible dirt and other substances should be your first sign that a toy needs sanitizing. The first step to sanitizing wooden toys is therefore to remove the surface level dirt and grime.
I alluded to this earlier but if you are someone that loves to make use of a good homemade cleaning product, then this is the stage that you can put your DIY solutions to use.
Take a cloth and lightly dampen it using either hot soapy water or a diluted white vinegar-based solution and gently remove all the visible dirt on the toys.
**During this step make sure you don’t use strong bleach or other harsh chemicals as this can dry out the wood and damage the toys.
Step 2 – Sanitize Thoroughly
Next you are going to want to take a separate cloth and use either a disinfectant spray, alcohol-based spray, or a sanitizing wipe to clean down the toys by hand, ensuring that you cover all areas of the toy.
If the wooden toys have movable parts or can be disassembled, then take them apart and make sure you sanitize all areas of the toys to prevent any germs from harboring or being missed.
Step 3 – Leave to Dry
Finally give the toys a quick wipe down with a cloth and some warm water, then leave them to air dry on a drying board.
This is arguably the most crucial step, a damp wooden toy can not only warp but start to harbor mold so it is essential that the toy is fully air dried before the child can play with it again.
For a quick visual demonstration on sanitizing wooden toys, you can check out this helpful YouTube video below:
Key Takeaways: Can Wooden Toys Be Sanitized
When cleaning wooden toys, it is important to make sure you keep the following points in mind to ensure that the toys are fully sanitized and free from germs and bacteria
- Never submerge wooden toys in water
- Initially clean the toy with a damp cloth using hot soapy water to remove any surface level dirt
- Wipe the toy down diligently with an alcohol-based wipe or spray, you can also use a disinfectant product that specifically states it kills germs and bacteria
- Leave the toy to dry fully before it can be given to the child again (make sure to keep it out of reach from children during this process)
If you follow these steps and ensure that you are focusing on killing the germs rather than simply ‘cleaning’ the toy, then these toys can be safely maintained for generations.
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