How to clean wooden train tracks | Wooden Toy Cleaning

Welcome to our ‘ How to clean wooden train tracks | Wooden Toy Cleaning ‘ article.

If your child uses a wooden train set, it can be hard to know how to give the pieces of the track a thorough clean. In this article, we will take a quick look at some key steps for cleaning wooden train tracks effectively.

A wooden train set can provide hours of fun and imaginative play for both big and little hands. Peg and hole track pieces are made from beechwood and their remarkable simplicity has made them an enduringly popular childhood toy. These simple toy railways from brands like Brio, lend themselves to all sorts of childhood antics and escapades, that over time do take their toll on the wood.

Over-enthusiastic play can turn this classic toy into a dirt magnet!

Both train and track can end up being toted across the home, outdoors, or even find themselves redeployed to other creative purposes, like digging mud or being an impromptu teether.

After being crammed down the back of sofas or car footwells, you’ll probably find that when the time comes to tidy up, you are left with soiled, stained, or frankly mildewed pieces of train set that could do with a good clean.

Cleaning is a priority for keeping your wooden tracks germ free

Dirty hands, food spills, and multiple play dates all add up to the creation of an impressive ecosystem of bacteria and viruses that can multiply on the surfaces of your toy train set. 

The grooves and grain of wooden tracks in particular make them particularly prone to a build-up of grime. As the tracks are typically made from untreated or sealed beechwood, dirt and germs can become ingrained and make the track pieces a vector for bugs of all kinds. This is particularly a risk if the train sets are used in group play settings or kindergartens.


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Finding the best method of cleaning wooden rail tracks needs consideration

The bare wood is, of course, porous which means that if you immerse it may become waterlogged, swell and become warped. This makes it difficult to give the wood tracks the deep clean they need. Also, excessive moisture can produce discoloration, and enthusiasts and collectors may want to clean up a second-hand set they have acquired.

Is sterilizing different from cleaning?

Yes, sterilizing kills germs you can’t see, whereas cleaning gets rid of the everyday dirt you can see. You should clean your wooden toy regularly to prevent the build-up of dirt which will attract germs.

For more information on How to sterilize wooden toys click here to read our guide on this subject.

It is important for your child’s safety that you clean and sterilize your wooden train tracks and other wooden toys correctly.

Always read the manufactures instructions on cleaning. Never use bleach or disinfectant on a toy that could harm your child if not applied correctly.

How to clean wooden train tracks

So, how do you get wooden tracks clean?

Thankfully, even without a soak in the sink, you can get wooden tracks not only cleaned up but sanitized so your child can play with confidence. Using the techniques and methods we share will do the job of keeping your tracks pristine. Better still, we have made sure that cleaning methods are free of toxins and chemicals (which is often the reason parents choose wooden toys). Have a go, and we hope you will have some great results.

Day to day cleaning of your wooden toy tracks

If you are looking for a quick and easy method of wiping off spills or smattered dirt, why not try using baby wipes? These do the job of lifting traces of dirt from the surface or your tracks and are quick and convenient – non-toxic too. You can even teach your little ‘engineer’ to clean up with these wipes too.

Beechwood can also be sanitized and cleaned by being misted down with a white vinegar spray solution that has been diluted to 50 percent. The vinegar odor will lessen as the tracks dry.

Another alternative basic cleaning method for beechwood train sets is to wipe the tracks down with a cleaning cloth that has been soaked in warm, soapy water and wrung out. Once cleaned, blot off the track with a dry cloth and leave in sunlight to dry.

Removing discoloration from wooden train tracks

If you have acquired second hand or older track pieces, did you know they can be impressively spruced up by using an eraser? A gum eraser that is flexible and can be squeezed into your track grooves will lift off superficial staining. See how it’s done here. Avoid using potentially poisonous chemicals like oxalic acid or sodium triphosphate that are often used to treat stained untreated hardwoods. 

Deep cleaning your toy train tracks

Sometimes after an outbreak of illness, contact with animal soiling, or some other contaminant, you will want to be absolutely sure that your track pieces are thoroughly clean and be handled with confidence.

Disinfection will be the priority here, striking a balance between the eradication of germs and not leaving toxic chemical residues that could have contact with the mouth or skin. Household bleach may be too strong for the job and damage the wood. However, sterilizing fluid may prove a gentler bleach that can be diluted and used to wipe down the tracks. Some brands sell sterilizing wipes for this purpose which can also be used.

Other top tips for keeping your wooden railway tracks in good clean condition.

  • Encourage handwashing and supervise play with the rail set. Keeping the pieces out of the mouth and away from dirty areas will help keep them clean.
  • When you finish using the wooden rails, pack them away. Leaving them out for prolonged periods increases the chance that they will gather dust and dirt.
  • Build up a day-to-day routine for keeping your wooden tracks properly maintained and tackle spills immediately so they do not stain. Including your children in this helps them learn to take good care of their toys.
  • Make time to deep clean and sanitize your toy railway, so it does not become a long-term reservoir for germs. This should also be done for any second-hand track pieces before you start using them.

In conclusion

Keeping your wooden railway clean need not be a headache. A simple cleaning regimen using the techniques described here is all that is needed to keep your train set in good condition and ready to provide even more hours of good old-fashioned fun!

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