Don’t let a dingy or stained stuffed animal stress you out. Whether it’s a dog toy that’s traveled through the mud, or a plush stuffed animal that your kid totes around wherever they go, it’s a good idea to establish a cleaning routine to help keep them in cuddling condition.
Like you would with anything you’re trying to clean by hand or in the washing machine, make sure to read the laundry care symbols. If you’re attempting to clean a toy that is especially well-loved, you may want to consider washing by hand for extra delicate treatment.
If your child’s toy has any electrical or metal components, you’ll want to make sure you spot clean and air dry only to avoid damage and/or injury.
It’s not uncommon for a teddy bear to take a tumble that leaves it covered in dirt (or worse), so start by seeing what dust and visible dirt need to be removed. You can use a brush or vacuum with an upholstery attachment to gently remove any debris.
You’ll also want to prepare the toy by pre-treating any visible stains with a fragrance-free detergent like all® free clear liquid laundry detergent.
For an added layer of protection for a machine washer, place the plush toys in either a zippered pillow case or mesh laundry bag.
Opt for cold water and choose the gentlest setting on your washing machine when washing stuffed animals. We recommend using a laundry detergent for sensitive skin when cleaning plush toys to avoid any potentially irritating residues. If you’re washing by hand, use cold water and be sure to carefully squeeze the excess water from the toy without wringing, which could cause unwanted damage.
To minimize wear and tear when washing a stuffed animal, it’s best to air dry. Depending on its shape and size, you can use a hanger with clothespins to hang dry the item, or you can dry the item flat on a clean surface. If the stuffed animal looks like it needs a little extra grooming to help restore it to its former glory, use a soft-bristled brush to gently zhoosh up its fur.
You don’t need to run your kids’ stuffed toys through the wash every day, but it’s a good idea to make a habit out of cleaning up any surface-level dirt regularly and adding them to the laundry routine monthly, and potentially more often if your child has been under the weather.