Wooden toys often make family heirlooms because of their durable nature. However, it can be easy to destroy a wooden toy if the owner does not take care of it properly. Caring for a wooden toy depends on the purpose of the toy, and whether the wood is finished or unfinished. Some buyers purchase wooden toys for their children to play with, while others purchase them as collector's items. Taking care of a wooden toy mainly entails cleaning it and maintaining its finish.
Cleaning Wooden Toys
Dusting is the first step of cleaning, but for greasy or caked on debris, dusting is not enough. Owners can choose to purchase traditional wood cleaners, or simply create a solution from around the house. If the wood is unfinished, it is best to only use a damp sponge or lint-free cloth to wipe the toy. If the wood is finished, owners can use gentle soap water or a mild vinegar solution to clean dirt and grease from the toy. Under no circumstances, should owners immerse the toy in water or any water-based solution. They should wipe and dry the toy immediately with a dry lint-free cloth, and then allow it to air dry to remove the rest of the moisture.
Maintaining the Finish of Wooden Toys
If the wood is unfinished, then simply cleaning the toy is enough to keep the toy looking vibrant. However, finished wood often requires some form of wax or polish to regain and maintain its sheen. If it is a vintage wooden toy for a collection, a dab of furniture polish or store-bought varnish solutions works fine. Vintage wooden toys, such a wooden oldsmobile or train are generally displayed on a shelf for admiration rather than used for play. However, if the toy belongs to a child, especially a small child that may put it in his mouth, the use of furniture polish or harsh varnish chemicals is not a wise choice. Babies' or children's Wooden toys generally have a toxic-free wax finish, so to maintain the natural moisture and sheen of the wood, parents can add a little non-toxic beeswax to keep the toy looking like new, without putting their little one in danger.
Everyday Care and Maintenance for Wooden Toys
Aside from the general cleaning and finishing, there are everyday practices to consider in taking care of a wooden toy. Do not leave wooden toy sets exposed to the elements for any considerable period of time; the fluctuation in temperature and humidity will have a devastating effect on the wood. It may become dried and cracked, warped, swollen from the moisture, or its natural sheen and colour may fade to a dull, dingy finish. If the wood becomes chipped or develops rough edges, owners should sand down the area to a smooth finish and then add a little non-toxic wax to restore the area and prevent further chipping and cracking.