Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cleaning old Little Tikes toys

Tammy's Recipes features her technique for cleaning secondhand board books.

This dovetails nicely with what I planned to share today: how to renew Little Tikes and similar outdoor plastic toys. I got the idea while watching my husband detail his car. A few feet away was a dried-out and dirty Kiddie Coupe. I borrowed his bottle of Armor-all vinyl cleaner and went to work. Wow! While it didn't remove the tiny specks of dirt down in the plastic's "pores," the surface stains were gone. Where the finish had been rough and faded, now it was smooth and even! The slide too slow to slide down to enjoy became fun again. I use this method to polish Little Tikes playthings for consignment, with great results.
A few safety tips: apply Armor-all with similar cautions for use on a car. Don't put it anywhere feet will touch, like pedals or steps. Wipe off any excess spray. You can use low gloss (versus high shine) for a less slippery surface.
***I have a $1 toy in my driveway right now. I'll try to post a picture later today.

13 comments:

Kim C. said...

I love you Meredith! This one is going on our list of Things to Do Today!
Brilliant and so Duh-Why-Didn't-I-Think-Of-That!

Anonymous said...

If you have access to a powerwasher, it gets even the little specks or pores clean.
And you get a free shower out of the deal!
I love the powerwasher.
~Amy

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

I'd much rather clean up used LT stuff than buy it new!!! It is CRAZY the prices people pay for the stuff new. My girls spotted a LT playhouse for $270! YIKES!

Garage sale, $20.

Copper's Wife said...

And if you don't have access to a power washer (which would be totally great!) a good, stiff scrub brush and some hot soapy water work well, too. I usually just use liquid dish soap. Soap 'em up, rinse 'em off and then I'll definitely be trying your Armor All idea.

Alison said...

Sounds great! I've been thinking of starting to buy such toys for the purpose of reselling and was planning to power wash, I think the Armor All will be the perfect finish!

Kathryn said...

Meredith, do you have any ideas to restore the faded color on kids plastic outdoor toys? Or will this help? I bought a little bike at the thrift store and it seem like anything red on it is really faded, not that it harms playing with it.
I'm definitely trying your idea. Thanks.

Meredith said...

Armor All will not restore the faded color, but it will even the finish by creating a uniform shine.

Anonymous said...

Hello. Does anyone know if this is a good idea for CHILDREN's products?

Eileen said...

I read on the site I bought my used little tikes toys that a mom painted the inside of a playhouse with some kind of acrylic paint. Has anyone heard of this? Does it work?

Anonymous said...

Magic sponges are awesome for little tikes products. I've bought two toyboxs recently that I didn't know if I would get it clean but had faith. The smaller one was a breeze where the larger one took longer and I used an entire sponge on it, but the smaller toybox brought me $20 and the larger one $35 at recent children's consignment events.

I have just bought a LARGE yard LT toy and one sold last year at a sale for $250 but the owner tried to paint it on a few panels. Wish me luck on getting that off, if not, I'll just lower the price.

Alf said...

Hi all: DANGER!!

I know this is a late comment, but Amour All is a plasticizer. I am a materials scientist trying to determine which plastic toys do not contain unsafe chemicals. Plasticizers are unsafe for children and adults alike - in kids they can effect development. "Magic sponges" are extremely unsafe and contain class A carcinogens such as formaldehyde. Neither of these products should be used without wearing gloves - and definitely not on things children will handle.

good luck navigating this crazy chemical landscape!

willie said...

What about Orange Glow? Do you think it would be safe enough to use on childrens outdoor toys? Thanks!

STARSHINE852 said...

I used the Krylon Fusion spray paint to give my Little Tyke items a newer look.Some I even done a toal different color.This spring Im spray painting the little coupe car in Chicago Bears colors and finding some decals for it. The spray is non-toxic once it dries.