Taking care of your wooden train set will ensure that it will remain in good working condition. In fact, if well cared for, it can last for many years to come. Proper care will keep your train set looking nice, allow for the rails to glide more smoothly on the train tracks and help to make sure that pieces fit together as they should.
Cleanliness is key
Once upon a time, it was understood that toys had to be cleaned routinely. However, with toys these days, many of them are made of plastic and they don’t require the care that wooden toys do. Dust, grime and other debris can clog up tracks and make it so that the cars don’t hold their traction as well and can get inside the grooves of the wood, forever changing how it looks. Taking the time to clean after each time kids play with wooden toys is the most effective way to keep them clean. By doing this, you will avoid discoloration and unseemly flaws within the wood.
Each week or after each use, make sure to wipe the wooden parts down with a moist cloth. Because of the nature of wood, too much water is not a good thing. Product such as Lysol may seem like a good idea, but chemicals can break down the paint and lacquer on wood products, so it is best to simply apply some warm water to a dry cloth and lightly wipe the surface.
For spills, grime or unidentifiable kid stuff that gets on the wooden train set, may take time to clean. Rather than soaking the rag, you will need to buff out the spot and take your time with it. The good news is that since wood is naturally anti-bacterial, you shouldn’t have too worry too much about germs sticking around once you have wiped them off.
For long-term cleaning, you can consider a slight amount of product to help the cleaning process.
Please note: this should not be done too often and if your child uses the toy often then you may not even need to do this step.
However, when you notice that the train set is getting a bit grubby some deep cleaning is a-ok. Apply non-toxic solutions or mild soap (like a drop of Palmolive and warm water) on a rag and wipe firmly. Make sure to get crooks and crevices. If there is a finish on the toy you can also use bleach or a vinegar solution (one-part water to one-part vinegar or one part bleach to two parts water is standard).
Once complete, you can air dry most wooden train sets. However, if it is lacking a finish, be sure to allow the toy to dry completely. Use a towel and make sure that unfinished wood doesn’t get too wet as it can lead to warping and/or cracking.
What to do About Knicks and Splintering
Notches can lead to splinters and splinters can lead to hurt hands. If you do notice notches out of the wood or splintering, you will want to make sure to sand the area down before the wooden train is back to being played with.
Extra Tips for Caring for a Wooden Toy Train
- Avoid sunlight as this can warp or fade the toy
- Keep in a cool dry place when not in use to ensure quality
With this routine care, you should have a train set that lasts a lifetime. It requires a few steps and perhaps a bit more care than your more standard plastic toys. However, in the end it is completely worth it. You will know that you have an attractive and functional toy for years to come. Just remember to do the daily and monthly care and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how long your wooden train toys will remain in like new condition.