How to Care for Ostheimer Toys
Ostheimer toys and animals
Ostheimer wooden toys and animals are beautiful and Ostheimer is about as ethical as it comes, from their employment practices and the fact they are a not for profit, the fact that every toy is made by hand from sustainably sourced wood, the remnants of which are used to heat their buildings.
Ostheimer employ people who work from home, mostly mothers, as well as people with disabilities who are fully integrated into the daily life of the workshop.
How to care for Ostheimer toys
Wooden toys need to be treated differently to plastic toys. They can, of course, be played with outside, but they won’t like being left there overnight, and if they get wet you need to make sure you dry them out fully without too much heat.
Changes in temperature and humidity can also affect the wood so it’s a good idea to make sure you are storing them in a dry area with good ventilation.
Wood absorbs water and as Ostheimer do not varnish the toys they recommend cleaning with a dry cloth or a brush.
If you feel you need something more than a dry cloth then just be sure to avoid bleach, harsh detergents or abrasive cleaners as these will damage the wood. Harsh cleaners dry out the wood which can lead to cracking, and bleach will lighten the colours. A gentle soap like Castile soap, mild dish soap or a solution of white vinegar are good options.
Use a damp soft cloth rather than submerging the toys and go over again with a dry cloth to remove any excess moisture. Vinegar also has the benefit of being anti-bacterial although the wood itself is naturally anti-bacterial so you have to worry less about germs than you might with plastic toys.
Wood is also a natural material that needs nourishing to stay in the best condition. Ostheimer recommends feeding the wood with linseed oil. Beeswax is also good for protecting and nourishing wooden toys, and it smells lovely too which only adds to the sensory benefits of wooden toys..
Storing Ostheimer toys for future generations
So much love and consideration go into the design and creation of Ostheimer’s wooden toys that it would be criminal for them not to be played with for generations. These are heirloom toys and certainly not toys that will go out of fashion and end up broken in the landfill.
They are designed to inspire children in a timeless way that speaks to their natural curiosity and creativity rather than following the latest trends. And they are made with respect for the earth by people who care.
While of course, it is possible for wooden toys to break, the beauty of wood is that more often than not you can fix it, and if not you can simply smooth off the broken edges and you have a toy with more individuality and character than it had before.
So if you’re going to be keeping these beautiful animals and figures for your grandchildren how should they be stored?
Basically wooden toys need to be kept dry and ideally to avoid extremes of cold and heat. It’s a good idea to give them a clean before storing and a nourishing coat of beeswax or organic oil to feed the wood. You can also store wooden toys with silica gel bags to absorb moisture and stop toys from going mouldy.
We think Ostheimer wooden animals for toddlers are worth the investment and worth saving for future generations.