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Maintaining Clean Stuffed Animals: A Guide

To ensure that your child’s stuffed animals are clean and safe, it is important to wash them regularly. Wash them after an illness or lice infestation, and once a month if your child has allergies or asthma. Additionally, wash them when they appear dirty or emit a musty smell.

Before washing, identify the best cleaning method for each toy. Spot wash toys with electronic parts, foam beads, and delicate fabrics. For toys with sequins or glued-on ornaments, hand-washing is best. For all other stuffed animals, follow the care label instructions or use the method below.

Spot Cleaning Stuffed Animals

Spot cleaning is ideal for non-washable toys or for touch-ups on washable toys.

To spot clean, mix mild liquid dish soap with cold water and test for colorfastness. If safe, wipe the toy’s surface with a soapy cloth and rinse with plain water. Air dry the toy.

Hand Washing Stuffed Animals

Hand-washing in cold water and laundry detergent is the easiest way to clean stuffed animals. Soak the toy in the soapy water, rub soiled spots with your fingers, rinse, blot with towels, and air dry.

Machine Washing Stuffed Animals

For machine-washing, place the toy in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase and tie it closed. Wash on a delicate cycle with cold water, and remove the toy to blot with towels before air drying.


Can I dry stuffed animals in the dryer?

Avoid drying in the dryer as it may cause shrinkage or stuffing bunching. Instead, blot the toy with towels and tumble dry on low for 15 minutes. Remove the toy to air dry.

How can I freshen a smelly stuffed animal?

Place the toy in a plastic bag with baking soda, shake, and leave overnight. Vacuum the toy the next day.

How do I clean a sentimental or vintage toy?

Consult a professional cleaner, toy repair service, or “stuffed animal hospital” for damaged or valuable toys.