How to Clean Wooden Toys: Cars, Trains, Blocks & More

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This is a guest post by Maria, owner of Toy Train Center

Wooden train sets are one of the most traditional wooden toys kids either have or demand and can provide long hours of fun for your children at home. Also, wooden toys are 100% safe and non-toxic. It usually comes in large blocks or pieces which are choke-hazard-free.

Compared to plastic, you seldom see a wooden train toy or any other wooden toys in breaking news of lead poisoning. That is because it only uses natural materials, usually furnished with non-toxic paint or finish. However, you might want to keep some knowledge on how to clean wooden train sets.

Wood, being the primary material used in crafting, absorbs dirt, germs, drool, stains, dust, and more when compared to plastic. It requires frequent cleaning and maintenance. A wooden toy might be off the chart regarding durability and sturdiness but would greatly be affected by the elements it absorbs.

It also goes without saying that cleaning a wooden train set is most likely the same as cleaning other wooden toys. The materials used in wooden trains are just the same. It would help if you took some careful considerations to keep the set clean and maintained.

Maintaining Your Wooden Toy

The comparison between durable plastic-made and wooden toys would favor a wood-made toy as plastic will be more likely to break after weeks of intense and frequent play. The upside to plastic is that they are easy to maintain.

You can disinfect them quickly as they do not absorb any harmful elements. On the other hand, wood can last for years or decades and even serves your grandchildren’s generation, provided that you maintain it.

  • Some wooden train sets or toys have no finish, paint, or coating. If so, you need to keep the set dry after use by wiping it with a clean cloth. To do this, there are simple guides you should follow:
  • Daily maintenance by wiping the wooden train set and toys with a damp cloth at the end of each play-time.

How to Clean Wooden Train Sets and Wooden Toys

Cleaning wooden train sets require only three cleaning materials: a clean cloth, bleach (relatively optional), and a few simple steps to be done once or twice a month.

First, you should know to avoid soaking the wood in any liquid cleaning solution as it is very porous. Pour water into a large bowl or wash pan along with the different types or mixtures of cleaning solutions. Lightly dip the clean cloth in the cleaning solution and wipe the wooden toy set.

Spray over and wipe it dry with a clean cloth. You should regularly do this on each piece of your wooden train set and allow it to dry. You could also put your cleaning solution in a sprayer if it is more convenient for you. This method can be referred to in the video above for a more detailed step-by-step process.

The solutions or cleaning mixtures used in the video are discussed in the following content below.

  1. Bleach

Our first solution is optional, as we know bleach is toxic, and it could be fatal for your child if you miss out on rinsing it properly with water. You can mix at least 1/10 bleach into a bowl of water.

You can dip your clean cloth lightly in the bleach mixture, wipe it all over your wooden train set, or pour it into a spray container. Either way, you want to make sure to rinse it with water, then wipe and dry it off.

  1. Organic Dish Soap or Any Mild Soap Solution

You can use either kind of soap. Squeeze enough liquid soap in a bowl of water to create the mixture.

Dampen the cloth with the solution and thoroughly wipe each corner of your wooden toys. Rinse the wooden toy set to remove any stains or residue from the soap.

Organic dish soap or a mild soap solution is usually not harmful to kids, but you can never be too careful.

  1. Diluted Vinegar

This is probably one of the easiest and most convenient ways of mixing a cleaning solution. All you need is to pour one part with vinegar and one part with water.

Then do the same process by dipping the cloth in the solution and wiping it dry or using a sprayer.

  1. Organic Multi-purpose Spray or Any Non-Toxic Solution Spray

Lastly, you can have a multi-purpose spray bought at any department, convenience store, or mall. There are tons of organic and non-toxic cleaning sprays for a great and affordable price. You can test out which product works best and is suited for your wooden toys and children.

It is also the fastest way of cleaning wooden toy train sets and other wooden toys as you do not need to create a mixture of cleaning solutions. You can spray it over your toys and wipe them dry with a clean cloth.

Special Considerations

Some people do a fast-paced cleaning and maintenance by throwing all the wooden parts and pieces of a toy in a large bowl or pan of cleaning solution.

You should consider the property of the wood that will make it warp when soaked in water and then dried.

This means that the wood will shrink in size, bend and somehow become brittle or rot worse. There are other ways to clean wooden train sets you can refer to, but it is all relatively fair and straightforward.

Maria is a mom of 3, and her love for educational and “non-screentime” toys has led her to an interest in toy trains for the younger kids and model trains for her older kids. The kids love it, Mom loves it, and it’s a productive teaching hobby—win-win-win! You can read more about toy and model trains at Maria’s site:

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