How to Clean Outdoor Toys - dummies

By Gill Chilton

While cleaning and maintaining outdoor accessories is aesthetically important, doing a thorough cleaning and check of your children’s toys can help ensure their safety, as well as enhance your curb appeal.

At the start of summer, give all your children’s play equipment a thorough safety check as you clean. Check that nuts and bolts are still tight; look for fraying in ropes and rot in wooden seats and climbing frames. Pull on the bars of climbing frames (jungle gyms) to make sure that they are firm.

Use a disposable cleaning wipe to get off bird droppings. Make up a bucket of warm, soapy water using washing-up liquid and clean all metal, plastic, and wood surfaces. Use a sponge for large areas, but be ready to follow up with a bristle brush to get out ingrained dirt. Rinse, then dry thoroughly. Consider adding a light lubricant such as WD-40 to moving parts.

Plastic playhouses are likely to have suffered greatly, especially if left outside to weather the winter. Use a bleach solution – 30ml (2 tablespoons) to 5 litres (1 gallon) of water – to take away the griminess. Let the solution sit for 30 minutes then rinse off.

Each day, before your children get busy, you’ll want to give play surfaces a quick check. Be ready with an old towel to mop up any water on trampolines and seats. You also need a cleaning wipe handy to remove bird droppings from areas children may sit on or hold onto.

Sandpits can’t be cleaned once the sand is in! So always choose the type that has a lid that covers the sand and be vigilant about putting it on at the end of each session.