How to Safely Clean Wood Toys & Teething Toys

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The movement toward green living has spurred many parents and child caretakers to seek toys and teething objects made of natural materials. Wood toys, historically popular in many cultures, have seen a resurgence due to their durability and non-chemical make up. Wood toys, and especially teething toys meant to be put into a baby or toddler's mouth, do raise concerns over safe cleaning methods. With regular maintenance, wood toys can be kept sanitary for even the youngest children.

Things You'll Need

  • Sink
  • Water
  • Anti-bacterial liquid dish detergent
  • Sponge
  • Dishtowel
  • White vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton ball
  • Salad oil
  • Sandpaper, fine grit

Cleaning Finished or Painted Wood Toys

  • Squirt a sponge with anti-bacterial liquid dish detergent and moisten until suds are evident. Wash the finished or painted wood toy with the soapy sponge. According to the Kidbean website, you shouldn't soak wood toys. Soaking causes the wood to swell, which can lead to cracking and splitting of the paint, finish and/or wood.

  • Rinse quickly beneath the tap. Dry thoroughly with a clean dishtowel.

  • Treat stains by cleaning the toy, mixing a solution of half-and-half white vinegar and water in a spray bottle, then spraying the toy. Scrub the stains with a clean sponge. Dry the wood toy or teething object with a clean dishtowel until dry. Once the vinegar dries there won't be any odor or residue. Vinegar is completely safe and edible.

Cleaning Natural or Unfinished Wood Toys

  • Moisten a clean sponge until damp. Wipe the natural, unfinished toy or teething object with the sponge.

  • Apply rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball until the cotton is damp. Rub the unfinished wood toy all over with the alcohol-moistened ball.

  • Dry the toy with a dishtowel. Never use a heat method to dry the toy. Heat dries out the wood and will cause the toy to crack or split.

  • Treat stains by rubbing the stained surface of the wood gently with fine grit sandpaper. Remove the sandings with a damp sponge. Dry the toy with a clean dishtowel. According to Kidbean.com, you can rub the wood toy with a little salad oil on a cotton ball to protect the sanded wood. Allow the oil to absorb and dry before returning the toy to the child.

Tips & Warnings

  • Many people may recommend washing wood toys with other types of alcohols, vodka and other strong substances. Use caution when trying home remedies that involve questionable applications of substances potentially harmful to infants. Vinegar is a natural cleaner and is anti-bacterial. Rubbing alcohol is a medically acceptable form of sterilization.

References

  • Photo Credit Tsuneo Yamashita/Photodisc/Getty Images
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