How To Clean Plush Toys

How To Clean Plush Toys

Beloved stuffed animals can make the ideal napkins, just like everything else in a child's world. Having been used to wipe dirty faces and hands, being dragged about the yard, and slept with, soft toys scattered throughout a child's room occasionally require a fast refresh.

Your choice of whether to machine wash, hand wash, or spot clean stuffed animals will depend on the care recommendations on the tag.

Toys that are more delicate or older shouldn't be washed. Toys containing mechanical components, metal, or built-in battery packs should only be spot cleaned because water will harm them.

Keep reading to find recommendations for cleaning plushies, as well as general tips on properly cleaning various types of children's toys.

Machine Washing A Stuffed Toy

Almost all stuffed animal toys can be cleaned easily. Others, including furry animals or those that feature electronics or embellishments, are recommended for hand washing. It is recommended to follow any washing instructions, just like when washing clothes.

When it comes to washing toys in a washing machine, you should place the toys in a mesh laundry bag or zippered pillowcases. You could also place them inside an older stocking or a simple pillowcase and tie knots to keep them closed.

Wash in gentle cycles in warm water, using your regular soap. Run another rinse to remove the excess suds and then remove them from the mesh bag. Kids stuffed animals should be allowed to air dry to avoid shrinkage or heat damage.

When Not To Machine Wash Stuffed Animals

You certainly want to avoid damaging your child's toys. For more fragile toys, or toys with certain materials, it is often better to hand-wash stuffed animals. It may also be necessary to hand launder stuffed animals with extraneous attachments or hard components.

The best way to know when and when not to use a washing machine is by referring to the laundry instructions. These will typically be located on the tags of a stuffed animal.

For an older stuffed animal or toys that simply have no washing instructions, it may be better to wash by hand just to be safe.

That being said, if you know the make and model of a particular stuffed animal, but the stuffed toy itself doesn't seem to have washing instructions, you may be able to find manufacturer's recommendations online through their website.

Washing A Stuffed Animal By Hand

The best way for washing stuffed toys by hand is in a bucket or bathtub. Washing by hand allows you to be as gentle as you need, and also gives you more control over the temperature of the water and the chemicals used in the washing process, such as baking soda.

To wash a stuffed animal by hand, simply follow these steps:

  1. Put cold water in your sink or a bucket. Use enough water to completely immerse the toys.
  2. Regular laundry detergent should be included. A capful of laundry detergent should be added to the bucket or sink. Baking soda may also be added.
  3. For two to three minutes, squeeze each toy lightly to thoroughly drench it in water and detergent. Older stuffed animals may have loose strings or cloth, so don't squeeze them too vigorously.
  4. Drain. Recycle or dispose of the used water.
  5. Rinse. Fill up your bucket or sink with fresh, icy water, or place the plush toys in a sink of cold running water. To rinse the detergent, gently squeeze each one; do not wring. Make sure to get out all the remaining baking soda.
  6. Lay the stuffed animals out to air dry. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight, as this may damage their colouring. Excess baking soda may leave residual baking soda stains.

How Long Will It Take To Clean Stuffed Toys?

Machine washed stuffed animals and dolls take only about four to five hours to complete. When washing stuffed animals with your hands, they should soak in water for 15 min. The drying time depends on the choice of washing machine and air drying options.

How To Wash A Doll’s Hair?

A doll's hair is typically attached to their head. Try not to put hair around the scalp. If some dolls are completely submerged in water, the adhesive can weaken. Start by brushing the hair in a wash basin, but keep squeezing out the scalp as soon as possible.

The hair on the doll may need trimming if the wires are damaged. Some shedding is normal, especially with younger dolls.

Final Thoughts

It might be time for surgery if the toy is well-used and you are aware (or the toy does not have a tag with instructions) that it cannot be washed. Split a side seam slowly, then remove the stuffing.

The exterior skin should be washed by hand in lukewarm water with a little detergent before being laid flat to dry naturally. Replace the original stuffing or use polyester fiberfill in its place, which can be thoroughly cleaned.

Unless more surgery is required, carefully sew the toy back together.