How to clean wooden building blocks

How to clean wooden building blocks and other wooden toys

Wooden blocks are a wonderfully versatile toy that will last for years if you properly care for them. Like any toys, however, they get pretty grubby over time if you don’t give them a clean every now and again.

Plastic blocks are easy to clean as you can chuck them in a bowl of hot soapy water and give them a good scrub. You could even pop them in the top rack of the dishwasher. But wooden toys don’t like being submerged as wood is naturally porous and can become misshapen or crack.

However, not being able to submerge your toys doesn’t mean you can’t keep them clean. And believe it or not wood is also naturally anti-bacterial and therefore doesn’t get as grimy as you might imagine.

Cleaning wooden building blocks with vinegar

Vinegar is a great natural cleaning product and a good option for wooden toys as it avoids the potential for your little one to be ingesting nasty chemicals when they inevitably put the toys in their mouths.

To clean wooden blocks or other wooden toys using vinegar first start by making a solution of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water. You can pop this in a spray bottle and use it multiple times.

Prepare your blocks by wiping off any obvious dirt or bits of food. Then dampen a cloth and wipe over all surfaces of the blocks. The smell of vinegar can be quite strong so you may wish to add a few drops of essential oil. But don’t worry the smell will dissipate as the blocks dry.

Next wipe blocks again with a clean damp cloth to remove any excess cleaning solution and allow them to dry out fully before giving them back to your child. If it’s a nice day, sunlight will both speed up the drying process and naturally disinfect toys.

Cleaning wooden toys with dish soap

A gentle dish soap is also good for cleaning wooden toys. Make up a bowl of warm soapy water and clean in the same way as using vinegar above.

Other care tips for your wooden blocks

On top of cleaning your blocks and other wooden toys you can also moisturise them occasionally to help keep them in great condition.

Replenishing the moisture that is naturally lost over time can be achieved easily using some olive oil or beeswax and a clean cloth. Choosing an edible oil rather than mineral oil is best if your children are still at the age where toys go in their mouths.

Of course sometimes wooden blocks will get dirty or damaged beyond the point where a damp cloth will help. You can, of course, choose to love the imperfections and marks caused by play, or you can look at how to paint wooden building blocks and give them a new lease of life here.

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