STUFFED ANIMALS – Care and Cleaning

How to give your stuffed animal a bath
How to give your stuffed animal a bath

We all have memories of favorite stuffed toys in our childhood. A stuffed animal offers “unconditional love” to any child or child-at-heart adult. Teddy Bears in particular seem like best friends at times. Keep them clean and dust free to preserve and protect them.

Advice for cleaning different stuffed animals:

Most houses with children (and even some without) has at least one stuffed animal. They sit on beds and bookshelves, they hide under furniture and behind couches and they get dragged around on the floor by their ears. They also get dirty and dusty. Every now and then, we have to give our stuffed animals a bath, but some people are hesitant. How does one wash a stuffed animal without causing damage? Here are some tips for keeping your plush toy friends clean.

If the animal is dusty, sometimes, all it needs is a little wiping. Take a lightly damp cloth and rub the animal all over until the dust is removed. After the animal is “dusted,” brush with an old hairbrush and if still slightly damp, use a blow-dryer to finish drying. You can also use the hose attachment on your vacuum to rid the animal of dust. A sticky lint roller works for this task as well.

In most cases, stuffed animals can be laundered in the washing machine. It’s always a good idea to check the label to see if there are any recommendations for laundering. Before throwing a plush toy in the wash, examine the animal for any rips or tears at the seams. If you see any, perform a little ER emergency surgery and sew up the tears so they don’t worsen in the washing machine. You might also check the stuffed animal for stains. If it’s stained, pretreat by dabbing on a bit of laundry detergent and letting it sit for a short while before tossing it in.

When you’re ready to give the stuffed animal a bath, place it in a pillowcase, tie the end and wash with the rest of your laundry. It’s best to use a delicate cycle and a gentle detergent. Do not use chemical spray cleaners on stuffed toys because children are sensitive to harsh cleaners. Try to use as many natural products in the home as possible. It’s also a good idea to use a bit of fabric softener to keep the toys soft and cuddly, but buy one from a health food store that carries green products. When the stuffed animal is removed from the washing machine, give it a good brushing.

Do not throw a stuffed animal in the washing machine if it’s very old or very delicate. Put it in a paper bag and shake baking soda into the same bag. Shake the bag until the stuffed animal is coated in baking soda. Leave the baking soda on for about thirty minutes and then brush off with a towel. This is also a good way for cleaning and freshening animals that are too big for the washing machine.

It’s not always a good idea to dry your stuffed animals in the clothes dryer. If the animal or the stuffing is made from a material prone to shrinking or losing its shape in the dryer, you’re much better off using a clothes line (make sure it’s not too sunny though, the color can fade). Hang the animal by its ears (and don’t forget to apologize first). There’s another option. Place your stuffed animal next to a dehumidifier if you happen to own one. It’ll take a couple of days, but you can dry your animal this way without worrying about any kind of damage. If you do use the dryer, put a pair of old sneakers or a couple of tennis balls into it along with the stuffed animal. This will help it to keep its shape and dry faster.

Washing stuffed animals isn’t that difficult. Just be sure to follow the care instructions on the label. Our stuffed animals offer loving comfort and friendship. We enjoy keeping them clean and dust free in return. Children can also be introduced to caring for them by involving them in this process. Tell A Friend about our TIPS.

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