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How to Clean Stuffed Animals

How to Clean Your Children's Beloved Stuffed Animals

Stuffed animals go through a lot: they're at your kid's side when they're sick, go with them on vacation, get into all of the same messes your kids get into, and some of them have been around since the day your child was born. Your child's stuffed animals are deeply beloved items that are often irreplaceable, so what do you do when those soft toys start looking a little worse for wear? Before you rush out and try in vain to find a stuffed animal that your child will love just as much, consider these two effective ways of cleaning stuffed animals.

Note: These methods do not work with toys that include electronic equipment, as these types of toys should never come in contact with water.

Washing Machine Method

What you need:

  • Mesh laundry bag
  • Laundry detergent
  • Clothes clip
  • Clothes hanger


  1. Put the stuffed animal into a mesh laundry bag. Stuffed animals can be delicate, and using a laundry bag will help to protect them from damage that might be sustained in the washing machine.
  2. Put the laundry bag in the washing machine, and select either the gentle or delicate cycle. Avoid the normal cycle as this can deform the stuffed animal.
  3. Select warm or cool water, but avoid hot.
  4. When the cycle is complete, remove the stuffed animal from the laundry bag, and stretch it out into its normal shape again.
  5. Attach the stuffed animal to a clothes hanger using a clip and let it air dry. Never use the dryer as this can cause shrinkage, as well as melt plastic parts of the toy.

Handwashing Method (Recommended For Delicate Toys)

What you need:

  • Large bowl
  • Warm water
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush


  1. Fill a large bowl with warm water.
  2. Add one teaspoon of liquid dish soap to the water, and mix to combine.
  3. Put the stuffed animal into the bowl, covering it completely with the water and soap mixture. Using your hands, rub the surface of the stuffed animal gently to remove dirt and buildup.
  4. For tough stains, use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  5. Rinse the stuffed toy with warm or cool water, then wring out the excess water, and let air dry.
Image Source: Unsplash / Luis Tosta
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