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How do I clean stuffed animals and toys?


How do I clean stuffed animals and toys?

Bunny Leverette

Mary Marlowe Leverette

Question: How do I clean stuffed animals and toys?

Beloved stuffed animals are part of the family and just like your kids, they need to be cleaned once in a while.


As with all laundry, first read the tag. If it says that the toy is fully washable, place it in a mesh bag or zippered pillowcase and wash on the delicate cycle using regular detergent and cold water. If the toy is older or in delicate condition, hand wash with gentle squeezing and no wringing. I prefer to allow the toys to air dry. If you must use a dryer, use the lowest heat possible. Some synthetic "furs", while washable, will melt in high heat.

If the tag says non-washable or the toy contains a mechanical or musical element, you can spot clean by using a damp cloth and mild detergent or a solution of oxygen-bleach (OxiClean, Clorox 2, Country Save Bleach, Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach) and water. If the item is only lightly soiled, place in a bag and sprinkle with baking soda or cornmeal and shake vigorously. The baking soda or cornmeal will absorb any grease, odor and dust. Remove from the bag and take outside to shake out or vacuum carefully.

If the toy is well-loved and non-washable, it may be time for surgery. Carefully split a side seam and take out the stuffing. Hand wash the outer skin with a delicate detergent and allow to air dry. Replace with polyester fiberfill or old, clean pantyhose which are completely washable. Stitch back together carefully; as further surgery should not be needed.

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