How to Wash Stuffed Animals

Off the shelf, stuffed animals are cute and smell nice. But eventually, these cuddly toys get dirty and it’s on you to wash them safely. The trick is to wash them without plucking a limb or discoloring them in the process. Whether you’re washing by hand or with a washing machine, you will find how to wash stuffed animals correctly below. 

2 Ways to Wash Stuffed Animals Without Ruining Them

First, you need to always confirm if the toy is machine-washable or not. Read and adhere to the cleaning instructions on its tag; this will go a long way in keeping it intact after every wash. Does the tag say it can go in the machine? Then go right ahead.

1. Machine Washing Stuffed Animals

You cannot just throw in the stuffed animal the same way as regular laundry – they’re more fragile than that. If the manufacturer gives you the go ahead, here’s how to wash a stuffed doll properly in the machine:

Step 1 – Check The Care Tag

Every stuffed toy comes with a care tag that contains information about whether you can wash them and how.  Some stuffed animals don’t do well with bleach; others fall apart in the air dryer. In essence, you will save yourself a lot of hassles by checking the toy’s care tag. This will give you a clear idea of what is and isn’t acceptable while washing the stuffed animal.

Step 2 – Encase The Stuffed Animals

Stuffed animals can get hurt inside a washing machine, thanks to their delicate material composition. You don’t want to end up with toys having shriveled snouts, twisted limbs, or missing eyes, so it’s best to first protect them from the forceful tumbling they will experience in the machine. 

The best way to do this is by tossing the stuffed animal in a pillowcase, then zip it or tie the open end shut. Use a mesh laundry bag in case you can’t get your hands on a pillowcase. But don’t just dump multiple toys in a bag; one toy per bag is ideal for proper cleaning. 

Step 3 – Use Gentle Settings And Detergent

Unlike wearables, stuffed animals need to be washed gently and with cool or warm water – never hot water as it may undo any glued-on components. Also, you would be doing fake furs a lot of good when you use cold water, plus you help to protect the toy’s color when you do so. 

On your washing machine, choose a gentle setting, then add cool(or warm) water and a measured amount of laundry detergent. Usually, we advise that you use only ⅓ or ¼ of the normal amount of detergent so they can easily be rinsed.

Using a mild detergent will go a long way in protecting the stuffed animal’s color. If possible, make use of a plant-based detergent. They are mostly gentle and contain minimal harsh chemicals. 

Step 4 – Hang To Dry

The best way to dry stuffed toys is by hanging them out to dry on a cloth hanger. Preferably, place them where they can receive a lot of fresh air but not under direct sunlight. While the sun’s heat can make the stuffed animals dry very fast, it can also have a bleaching effect on your kid’s colorful toys. So to preserve their colors for longer, avoid sun-drying them. 

2. Hand Washing Stuffed Animals

If you’ve checked the toy’s care tag and determined that it can’t be washed in a machine, if it’s too big to fit comfortably in a machine, or for other well-founded concerns that require you to do it by hand, here’s how to do it right:

Step 1- Soak In A Soap Solution

First of all, fill a suitably sized bucket and fill it with enough water to comfortably submerge the toy(s). Next, add your favorite laundry detergent – preferably a mild one. 

Stuffed toys tend to absorb detergent, causing not them to sud excessively. If you’ve been there before, then you know how difficult it is to completely rinse a stuffed animal clean. To solve this annoying problem, pour in ⅓ or ¼ of the normal amount of detergent, then soak the stuffed animals for about 30 minutes. 

Step 2 – Scrub And Squeeze

The soap solution may not easily saturate some toys. For that, you need to gently squeeze the toys one after the other. Then scrub the surface gently to clean the toys. If you find especially dirty spots, gently use your finger to work them until it starts to fade and eventually disappear. 

Step 3 – Rinse

After washing the stuffed animals until you’re satisfied, drain the used soap water and replace it with clean water. Dunk the washed toys in it and gently squeeze them to release all soap solution into its foamy innards. Repeat these steps as many times as you want until the water runs clear. 

Reminder: Do not use hot water while dealing with stuffed animals, you could end up with maimed or discolored stuffed animals.

Step 4 – Squeeze

Squeeze the stuffed animals to remove excess water, but with care – avoid wringing. To take out even more moisture before sending the toys to the hanger to dry, roll each one in a dry towel, squeezing them gently to avoid roughing them up. 

What you should avoid, however, is using an air drier to speed up the drying process. Except the toy’s care tag says it’s okay, you may end up melting the glue used to hold certain of the animal’s body parts (eyes, for example), or shriveled hardened furs. 

Hang the stuffed toys out to dry. But if your little one is already feeling its absence then you want to return the toy as fast as possible. Let it hang for a while, then go back after 30 minutes, then squeeze out accumulated fluid in the lower extremities of the stuffed animals. Then use a hairdryer to dry it faster.

Is It Better To Hand-Wash Stuffed Animals?

It depends. If you own a huge stuffed teddy bear, for example, the only way to wash it is by hand because it wouldn’t fit into a washing machine. However, assuming all things are equal, and you just want to know which of the two methods would be more beneficial in the long run, then you should go with hand washing. 

By washing stuffed animals by hand, you have control over what spots to give more attention to and how long. Depending on each toy, you can reasonably decide how much pressure to apply as you wash. But washing stuffed animals manually is both time-consuming and labor-intensive compared to using a washing machine. 

Each method has its merits. If you don’t trust the machine to do a thorough, gentle job, then wash the stuffed animals by hand. Otherwise, save a lot of time and effort by using a washing machine. 

Plush toys like Squishmallows might need a different washing procedure.

How To Dry Stuffed Animals

Here are all the tips for drying stuffed animals, all in one place. Take a look: 

  • Some stuffed toys can survive the air dryer; others cannot. Check the tags to be sure before you put them in. 
  • It’s best to dry stuffed animals on low heat. You can use the air-dry function on your dryer.
  • Stuffed animals that cannot go in the dryer should be gently squeezed, then dried on the line.
  • Do not dry them under direct sunlight to maintain the toy’s delicate color for longer.  
  • To make it dry faster, roll the toys in a clean, dry towel, then gently squeeze them. Do it as many times as you like until you’re happy to take it to the drying line. 
  • For even faster drying time, blow the stuffed animal with a hairdryer before taking it out to dry. 

They are repeatedly touched, soiled, sat on, and even used as a wipe. That’s exactly why stuffed animals need to be washed from time to time. Stuffed toys are not like your regular laundry, so you may need a little help. We hope you found this article helpful.

Leave a comment