How To Clean Wooden Toys: A Safe Care Guide

Looking for the best way to clean wooden toys? We’ve been lovingly making wooden toys since 1985 and know a thing or two about keeping your toys in good condition. Read our easy guide on how to wash wooden toys safely and effectively below.

Can You Wash Wooden Toys?

Yes, of course! Wood has natural antibacterial properties but still needs a good clean - especially when toys have been on the floor and in tots’ mouths! The organic composition of wood means it’s much more porous than plastic and requires a completely different cleaning method. 

How Often Should I Clean Wooden Toys? 

You don’t need to clean wooden toys as often as you think. As wood is naturally antimicrobial, germs don’t linger like they do on plastic toys.

When it comes to wooden toys, the rule of thumb is to clean them if:

  • Your baby or toddler likes to mouth their toys (favourite wooden teethers should be cleaned daily, for example)
  • Your child has been unwell
  • The toys are noticeably grubby

baby chewing wooden rattle

Can You Put Wooden Toys In The Dishwasher?

No, you cannot put wooden toys in the dishwasher. Wooden toys swell and lose their shape and colour when submerged in water for prolonged periods of time.

How Do I Clean Wooden Toys?

1. Do Not Soak In Water

The first (and most important) step is to avoid soaking or immersing a wooden toy in water. This is because the wood gets damaged and will lose its shape and colour(s) when left submerged for a long period of time.

2. Use Natural Cleaning Products 

Stay away from chemicals (like disinfectant sprays, wipes, and wooden furniture cleaners) as these can leave a toxic residue behind. This can be harmful to babies and toddlers who like to suck or chew their favourite toys.

Instead, the best way to clean wooden toys is to:

  • Use a gentle soap (like castile soap) and rinse well with a sponge or damp cloth
  • Use white vinegar or apple cider diluted with water
  • For super stubborn dirt, try making a baking soda & water paste and scrubbing with a damp cloth

Top tip: use a spray bottle with your preferred cleaning solution to help speed up the cleaning process

    cleaning spray

    If your wooden toys are being used in a nursery, childcare or educational setting, make sure you follow your organisation’s toy sanitation guidelines. Just don’t leave them to soak in water as this will damage them.

    3. Air Dry

    Once cleaned, leave them to air dry. If it’s a warm day, you could leave the toys outside to dry.

    Top tip: Avoid leaving them in direct sunlight as this could cause the paint to fade.

    4. Bulk Cleaning

    Busy parents on the go may not have the time to spray down chunky sets of wooden blocks and larger wooden toys. Instead, you can fill up your sink with a 1:4 solution of soap/vinegar with water and pop the toys in. 

    Please note that this is a quick dip and not a soak. Swirl the toys around, drain, rinse and dry immediately. Scrub away any stubborn stains and hey presto, you'll have squeaky clean toys! Your wooden toys will be fine as long as they aren’t left to submerge in the water.

    When wooden toys are well looked after, they have a very long life ahead of them. With minimal maintenance and high durability, what’s not to love?