Taking Care of Your Toys

Keeping your toys clean is an important way of keeping your players safe and healthy while they build empathy, develop resilience, and have some fun. Below are some simple tips for keeping your Empathy Toys and Failure Toys in excellent playing condition.

Cleaning Your Wooden Toy Pieces

Both the Empathy Toy® and the Failure Toy® are made of real wood. These maple or walnut pieces are sealed with organic seed oil, which means that the surface is permeable. Because of this, you'll need to follow a specific process to clean and disinfect the toy pieces so that they aren’t damaged.

  1. Using a dry cloth, wipe the toys off to remove anything that might be on the surface.

  2. Using a diluted bleach solution (click here for detailed instructions), spray all surfaces of the toy and wipe off with a clean dry cloth. Leave toys to air dry. We recommend wearing gloves any time you are working with bleach.

**Do not use rubbing alcohol to clean your toys as this may damage them.

Cleaning your Metal Failure Toy Pieces

The metal bowties found in your Failure Toy kit are pretty easy to clean – simply wash with warm soapy water and dry thoroughly.

Cleaning Your Empathy Toy Blindfolds

The blindfolds that come with your Empathy Toys can be both surface-cleaned and machine washed, as outlined below.

  1. We recommend removing any makeup that has rubbed off onto the blindfold before washing. We use micellar water and cotton balls to remove the makeup from the blindfolds.

  2. For surface cleaning the blindfolds, we lay them flat on a table with the plain side facing up. We then spray them with a tea tree oil solution (click here for detailed instructions) and leave them to air dry.

  3. To machine wash blindfolds, we recommend putting them in a mesh bag for delicates to avoid them getting tangled up with other things. Wash the blindfolds with regular laundry soap on the delicate cycle and hang them to dry.

**If you're having trouble with cleaning your blindfolds frequently, you can purchase more top-up blindfolds, or in a pinch, you can always get creative and ask your players to close their eyes.

Storing Your Wooden Toys

Both Empathy Toys and Failure Toys are alive; they are made of real wood and are affected by the world around them. Avoid storing your toys in any space that is overly dry or damp, and try to keep them at room temperature. All of this helps prevent the wood from swelling or cracking.

Toy Maintenance

Even if you take great care of your toys, sometimes things happen! These toys are resilient and most of the time you can get them back in action quickly.

Empathy Toy Maintenance

If your Empathy Toy pieces are hard to put together or pull apart... They might just need a little bit of sanding. There are a small sander and extra sandpaper in your Empathy Toy kit, so you can use those to improve the fit of your toy pieces. Just be sure to sand a little bit at a time so that you don’t make the pieces too loose!

If one of your wooden pieces is broken... You can repair broken pieces with wood glue or super glue. You may need to use a clamp or elastic bands to hold the pieces together while the glue dries. If you’re unsure about which type of glue to use or have concerns about getting everything back together, bring your toy pieces to a local hardware store and ask an expert! If you can’t repair your toys, please get in touch and we can discuss options for replacing your pieces.

Failure Toy Maintenance

If magnets separate from your Failure Toy pieces… You should remove these pieces from play until they can be repaired. Magnets present a choking risk and it's best to play it safe!

If you run out of Failure Toy scorecards… you're in luck! You can download and print more at failuretoy.com/scorecard.

Failure Toy Safety Notes

It’s worth saying again that the Failure Toy contains magnets, which could be dangerous if they wind up inside a living body. With that in mind, please be careful not to let your Failure Toy loose around little ones, furry ones, or anyone else inclined to put things in their mouth.

It's also nice to know that people who have medical devices that are sensitive to magnets can still play the Failure Toy! Just make sure to remove all magnetic pieces for all teams playing before you start.

Making Your Own Cleaning Solutions


Bleach solution for surface cleaning wooden toys:

Required materials:

  • Small-Medium spray bottle

  • Water

  • Liquid bleach

  • Gloves

  1. Pour 1-¼ cups of water into a spray bottle.

  2. Put on gloves and add 2tbsp of liquid bleach to make a 1:10 ratio of bleach to water.

  3. Close the spray bottle tightly and shake lightly to mix.


Tea Tree Oil solution for surface cleaning blindfolds:

Required materials:

  • Small-Medium spray bottle

  • Water

  • Tea Tree Oil (available at your local pharmacy or health food store)

  1. Pour 1 cup of water into a spray bottle.

  2. Add 20 drops of tea tree oil to water.

  3. Close the spray bottle tightly and shake vigorously to mix.

And Now You're Ready to Play Clean!

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