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Maintenance & care of a kit

This How To gives some hints on taking care of your Ketso so you can get many years of use out of the kit, from packing up after a workshop to cleaning the pieces for re-use.

After more than 10 years of making and selling Ketsos, we are only just now starting to get customers coming back for replacements, mostly these are for elements that have been lost or taken home by workshop participants. Aside from this, the most common problem is creased centrepieces and leaves, which can occur if the felts aren’t folded properly.

Cleaning a Ketso after use

  • The re-usable coloured shapes of Ketso rinse clean so there is no need to wipe them, just dunk them in water. If leaves have been shared and you wish to wash them to reduce the risk of transmitting viruses etc, they can be added to warm, soapy water, swished around and left for several minutes, then rinsed.

    We have handy mesh bags for cleaning and drying the washable parts of Ketso. Simply put the pieces into the bag, place the bag in a sink or bucket of water, give it a good swish and move the leaves around in the water with your hands.

    To dry the leaves, shake the excess water off, then hang the bags up to drip dry. It helps to give the bag a shake from time to time whilst the pieces are drying.

    We recommend taking all the leaves of one colour at a time off the felt, so that you can rinse each colour separately. This makes it easier to sort and repack your leaves once dry.

    Some people find it easiest to leave the centrepiece, legend and branch ovals on the felts, and wipe them clean with a damp cloth. This saves time later when putting the felts back together for your next workshop.

    Don’t put the leaves  into a clothes washer, clothes dryer or dishwasher, as the surface may peel off.

  • The first question to ask is: are you using the right pens? The pens we provide with the kits (Staedtler non-permanent Lumocolor) work best both for staying on the leaves in use and for washing off afterwards. You need to make sure when you introduce Ketso to participants that you ask them to use only these ‘magic’ / washable pens.

    If you spot someone writing on the leaves with a permanent pen, biro or pencil during a workshop, we suggest you gently ask them to use the washable pens so the leaves can be reused.

    Luckily, if permanent pens have been used, it is still possible to clean the kits using a solvent, so there is no need to throw those leaves away. Rubbing alcohol or methylated spirits work fine, and we have had good reports from customers using nail varnish remover or baby wipes.

    If the parts are left a long time before being cleaned, the ink may create shadows that don’t immediately rinse off. Try using a dash of washing up liquid in the water and a bit of elbow grease to agitate and rub the leaves. You will need to rinse the washing up liquid off afterwards.

    If that doesn’t work, you can clean them with a solvent and rag as above. We have also had good results spraying on whiteboard cleaner then wiping shadowed leaves clean. Stick them on a felt to hold them flat whilst you spray and wipe.

  • If you need the leaves straight away and don’t have time to wait for them to dry (e.g. if running workshops back to back), or don’t have any space to hang them to dry, you can use a damp cloth to wipe them clean, instead of rinsing them in water.

    The quickest way to clean the pieces in this way is to wipe them while they are still on the felt, then remove the leaves after they are clean. We recommend taking all the leaves of the same colour at a time, so they are already sorted into colours for putting in the leaf bags.

    It speeds up the process a little bit to use whiteboard cleaner and a rag to clean them. Spray the whiteboard cleaner on the leaves and wipe clean. We have also had reports of people using baby wipes to good effect, though these aren’t re-usable.

    If the centre-piece and branches are the same for the next workshop you are running, remember to leave the writing on. This saves you time not having to re-write the branches each time. You may need to wipe clean the branch that should be kept blank for the start of the next workshop, if participants have written their own emergent theme on that branch.

  • The felts will generally flatten out just by smoothing them and folding them, but sometimes they get crumpled in the bag. You can iron them. They could melt at a very high temperature – so iron at a low temperature, with a tea towel between the felt and the iron.

Analysing the outcomes of a Ketso workshop

  • The bag has been designed to fit the felts on one side, secured by the divider pockets, which in turn hold all of the loose and small bits of kit, such as icon holders and wash bags.

    On the other side of the bag, Velcro strips hold the leaf bags in place.

  • Start by unzipping the kit bag fully and laying it out flat.

    Leaves and leaf bags

    – Place the leaves, pens and action cards in the leaf bags (we tend to put all of the leaves of any one colour into one leaf bag)

    – The leaf bags should be secured on the side of the bag with Velcro strips, using the Velcro on the back of the bags to attach to the main kit bag.

    – Line up the bottom of the leaf bags with the kit bag hinge

    If you are packing more than one kit and the bits are mixed up, you can either divide them roughly or weigh the leaves to divide them between the kits. 240 leaves weights approximately 300 grams loose and 200 comments cards weigh approximately 200 grams  loose.


    – It is a good idea to check if the felts are clean and ready for use again before packing them. These hints will help you position the pieces to avoid creasing.

    – Place the branch ovals on top of the branches, making sure you put them towards the centre of the felt, inside the lines where the felt will be folded, so they won’t get creased when packed

    – Before folding the felt workspace, remove the centrepiece and place it to the side (If you leave it in the centre, you can’t fold the felt)

    – Fold the felts in half twice, along the cut-out slits

    – Fold in half one more time, so that the felts will fit in the kit bag

    – Spare branches and ovals can go on the back of the felt

    Loose parts

    – Return the icons to the 3 icon holders. There are five icons per row.

    – Use the divider pockets to pack the small felt elements (e.g. icon holders and Ketso planners, Mini Ketso and other loose bits such as wash bags)

    – Place the divider pockets on top of the felts
    – Secure the divider pockets on top of the felts with the wooden toggles on the side of the kit bag

  • – Take a picture of the felt before you move anything, so you have a reference of the location of the leaves and icons in case they shift
    – Move the centrepiece to the side so you can fold the felt without creasing the centrepiece
    – The slits are there to help you fold the felt.
    – Move any leaves that are crossing over the slits or overhanging the edge of the felt

    – If you move leaves, keep the clusters of leaves together (i.e. making sure that if leaves are pointing at each other, you keep them that way when you move them).

    – If you move a leaf with icons by it, make sure you move the icons as well, so you remember what was highlighted as important by participants
    – Manually check that all the leaves and icons are stuck firmly to the felt, and that none of them are on top of the coloured branches or ovals, where they won’t stick

    – Fold the kit twice along the slits

    – Stack all your felts together then gently fold them one more time so they fit in the bag, without creasing the leaves

    You can use the blue mesh wash bags to quickly gather up any loose, used leaves for washing later.

  • If you are using kits for teaching and training, or other contexts where collecting the results afterwards is not essential, you can get your participants to help you quickly strip the leaves off and get the kits ready for re-use.

    Before you clear off the felts, you may wish to get participants to take a record of them for their own purposes. If participants have access to mobile phones and it is appropriate for them to use them, you could ask them to take a picture of their felt and any ideas on them they particular want to remember (or note them down in their notebooks).

    You can then ask one participant at each table to be in charge of clearing off a particular bit of kit – for instance, one person take off all the brown leaves, one person take off all the green leaves, one person gather the pens – and put them in a pile. The person who is taking off the icons could place them back on the felt icon holder.

    You can then pass around the blue mesh wash bags to gather up the leaves for cleaning, telling the participants to use one wash bag for each different colour of leaf, so they stay separated.

    We recommend that you leave the larger pieces – the centrepiece, legend and branches, on the felt – and wipe them off with a damp cloth – either give out a damp cloth to each table or do this at the end. Remember to ask participants to move the centrepiece to the side so the felt can be folded.

    The leaves can then be rinsed clean in water, shaken to remove excess water and left to dry (you may need to shake them a few times to make sure that all the water comes out as they dry).

Ketso Spares

You can purchase extra parts or replacements, if needed, for your Ketso.
If you bought a Ketso before 2019, you may wish to purchase some of our new wash bags..

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