How to clean stuffed animals

Every house with children (and even some without) has at least one stuffed animal. They sit on beds and bookshelves, they hide under furniture and behind couches and they get dragged around on the floor by their ears. They also get dirty and dusty. Every now and then, we have to give our stuffed animals a bath, but some people are hesitant.

How does one wash a stuffed animal without causing damage?

Here are some tips for keeping your plush toys clean.

If the animal is dusty, sometimes, all it needs is a little wiping. Take a slightly damp cloth and rub the animal all over until the dust is removed. After the animal is dusted, brush with an old hairbrush. You can also use the hose attachment on your vacuum to rid the animal of dust. A sticky lint roller works for this task as well.

In most cases, stuffed animals can be laundered in the washing machine. It’s always a good idea to check the label to see if there are any recommendations for laundering. Before throwing a plush toy in the wash, examine the animal for any rips or tears at the seams. If you see any, it would be in your best interest to perform a little emergency surgery and sew up the tears so they don’t get worse in the washing machine. You might also check the stuffed animal for stains. If it’s stained, pretreat by dabbing on a bit of laundry detergent and letting it sit for a short while before tossing it in.

When you’re ready to give the stuffed animal a bath, place it in a pillowcase and wash with the rest of your laundry. It’s best to use a delicate cycle and a gentle detergent. It’s also a good idea to use a bit of fabric softener to keep the toys soft and cuddly. When the stuffed animal is removed from the washing machine, you can give it a good brushing.

Don’t throw a stuffed animal in the washing machine if it’s very old or very delicate. Put it in a paper bag and shake baking soda into the same bag. Shake the bag until the stuffed animal is coated in baking soda. Leave the baking soda on for about thirty minutes and then brush off with a towel. This is also a good way of cleaning and freshening animals that are too big for the washing machine.

It’s not always a good idea to dry your stuffed animals in the clothes dryer. If the animal or the stuffing is made from a material prone to shrinking or losing its shape in the dryer, you’re much better off using a clothesline (make sure it’s not too sunny though, the color can fade).

There’s another option. Place your stuffed animal next to a dehumidifier if you happen to own one. It’ll take a couple of days, but you can dry your animal this way without worrying about any kind of damage. If you do use the dryer, put a pair of old sneakers into it along with the stuffed animal. This will help it to keep its shape.

Washing stuffed animals aren’t that difficult. Just be sure to follow the care instructions on the label. Our stuffed animals offer us, unconditional love. The least we can do is keep them clean and dust-free in return.

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