block cleaning

“How do you clean the Blocks?” has been one of the most asked questions, even before the pandemic. Whether wiping them down every few days or deep cleaning them two times a year, a 2019 survey showed us that our Block owners had a wide range of practices for frequency and depth of cleaning. In the current environment, cleaning must be codified and made visible to participants in your programs.  We will continue to add information as it becomes available.  

Imagination Playground Blocks are made out of closed-cell waterproof foam, and are resistant to mold, mildew, corrosion, and microorganisms. The Blocks can be washed and sanitized. What is the difference between cleaning and sanitizing?  Be sure to check out websites from the professionals to answer that question:

American Cleaning Institute
Environmental Protection Agency
Center for Disease Control

While we recommend using the Imagination Playground Block Wash Kit for overall cleaning to preserve and protect the life of your Big Blue Blocks, we now can also recommend the following products that advertise that they kill 99.99% of bacteria and viruses, and that we can confirm will not adversely affect the foam over multiple applications:

  • Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner Spray
  • Lysol Brand II Disinfecting Wipes
  • Clorox Scentiva Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner Spray
  • Clorox Scentiva Disinfecting Wipes
  • Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
  • Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes

 

Now that you have thought through WHAT you will clean them with, here are some practical tips for HOW to clean your Blocks by size:

Small Blocks

  • Put all Blocks into the mesh bag.  Dunk repeatedly and soak in Block Wash or antibacterial dishwashing soap.  Rinse with clean water and air dry in a single layer.  Dispose of water appropriately.
  • Put the Blocks into the Small mesh bag and place in the top rack of dishwasher for a cycle.  At conclusion of cycle, remove Blocks from bag and air dry in a single layer. 

 

Medium Blocks

  • Wipe down with disinfectant wipes per CDC recommendations
  • Fill 5 gallon bucket or larger with Block Wash or antibacterial soap and water per label instructions.  Rinse with clean water. Dispose of soapy water appropriately. Air or towel dry, wait 4 hours before stacking or storing.
  • Run through sanitizer or top rack of dishwasher.  Air or towel dry, wait 12 (insert number of hours to dry) hours before stacking or storing. 

 

Large Blocks 

  • Wipe down with disinfectant wipes per CDC recommendations
  • Fill large bins (hard side laundry cart, kiddie pool) with Block Wash or antibacterial soap and water per label instructions.  Rinse with clean water in another bin. Dispose of soapy water appropriately. Air or towel dry, wait 4 hours before stacking or storing.
  • Although not manufacturer recommended, some Block owners have successfully used powerwashing techniques for the Big Blocks.  

 

Something fun to try with kids for Small Blocks: Play with the Small Blocks in trays of shaving cream.  The foam sticks the Blocks together for even more building fun and the soap in the shaving cream will help keep it clean!  

Something fun to try with kids for Medium and Big Blocks: Create a “Block Wash” party.  Use buckets or kiddie pools and have participants scrub the Blocks in soapy wash with a variety of brushes and rags, move to clean rinse, then to a drying station.  Use timers to keep the Blocks in the soapy water long enough. Create a fun theme - car wash, frogs on a lily pad, dolphins in the ocean or anything else they can dream up!

Other ideas to consider:

  • Build a volunteer schedule and host an online sign up for cleaning the Blocks.  Examples of groups to target include scout troops, faith communities, and corporate volunteers.
  • Print your cleaning protocol and have it available for facilitators that may get questions. 
  • Split Block sets into two, rotating daily to clean.  Need some additional parts to help bolster your collection?  Our reasonably priced Refresh Kits for Medium Basic and Medium Premium or Big Basic and Big Premium Blocks are a perfect solution.
  • Provide easy to sanitize face shields to builders to limit face touching and the ability to put Blocks into the mouth.  Real builders wear face and eye protection so this can be fun, not scary! 

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