The Park Slope Parents Guide To Cleaning Stuffed Animals

How to clean those stuffed animals for donation to a charity (or your own use).



The Park Slope Pareants Guide For Cleaning Stuffed Animals


See Also-- Charities that accept Stuffed Animals HERE


Whether you are looking to donate used stuffed animals or give your toddler’s favorite teddy bear a tune-up, sometimes these cozy pals just need a good clean. Especially if you’re planning to donate, it is really important that you clean them —just think of all of the places they’ve been, all the hands that have been on them (not to mention the times they’ve stood in for a tissue or pacifier). Stuffed animal cleanliness isn’t just a matter of appearance, but of health for the little ones playing with them!

This task can be a bit tricky. All of the buttons, ribbons, dyes, materials, and stuffing make it difficult to know what is the best way to really get a good clean. Hence, here are some basic guidelines for how to clean those furry friends.


Machine washing:

Stuffed animals that are in good condition (no tears, holes, etc.) and haven't had much use can go straight into the dryer on air dry or low heat for about ten minutes—this basically dusts them off. Avoid high heat in the dryer, as it could warp or melt materials. Also, be sure to take any tags off first! Of course, if the tag is important (e.g. beanie babies), better to skip to the "post-wash" step.


Stuffed animals that have been thoroughly loved (read: used!)—and don’t have attachments/accessories (box, plastic flowers, etc.)—can be machine washed on a gentle cycle. However, be warned that stuffed animals with long fur may be best hand washed. A sensitive/gentle/baby laundry detergent works best—think gentle, gentle, gentle.  (Again, make sure tags are removed. And, again, if the tag is important, best to hand wash.) The stuffed animals can then go into the dryer on air dry or low heat for approximately ten minutes. They won’t be totally dry, so let them air dry fully. The key is to avoid high heat, which could warp or melt materials.


Hand washing:

For those stuffed animals that are too tattered, delicate, have long fur or have attachments and accessories, hand washing is going to be your best option. Hand washing stuffed animals is just about what you'd expect it to be. Use a washcloth and some sort of gentle soap, a small comb works well here too!


Once stuffed animals are dry, use a lint remover and small comb to freshen up the fur—fluff it, smooth it . . . whatever it looked like when new. There might be a few threads or rogue fuzz balls that will need trimming and removal, a simple sowing scissors works well. Last but not least, spritz on some fabric refresher. Voila! You're stuffed animal is clean!