How To Wash A Stuffed Animal (2024 Updated)

How To Wash A Stuffed Animal (2024 Updated)

Did you know that stuffed animals remain to look like new longer when you wash them less? Like clothes, they need to be washed, but only when they get too dirty or have collected dust from sitting too long on a shelf. 

However, stuffed animals are too delicate that most people are afraid to wash them. Let’s learn how to wash a stuffed animal without (actually) ruining it!

5 Proper Steps In Handwashing A Stuffed Animal

1. Soak The Stuffed Animal In Cold Water

Soak The Stuffed Animal In Cold Water

First, you need to fill a sink or a bucket with just the right amount of water. Remember always to use cold water so the plush toys will be safe from any damage. Then, carefully submerge the dirty stuffed toy in the cold water.

2. Add A Fabric Detergent

After submerging the stuffed animal, you’ll have to add a laundry or fabric detergent [1]. Remember to add a very small amount of detergent to the plain water. We also recommend using mild or gentle detergent brands only to avoid damage.

3. Gently Hand Wash It

Gently Hand Wash It

Gently press and hand wash stuffed animals after soaking them in the cold water with mild detergent. Avoid scrubbing too hard to protect the stuffed animal. Older stuffed toys tend to get damaged easier when applied with too much force because they may have worn fabric.

4. Rinse The Stuffed Animal

Pull it out from the water after carefully saturating it in the mild detergent. Then, take out the water with detergent and refill the sink or bucket with clean, cool water. 

You may also wash the stuffed animal, place it under cold running water, and gently squeeze it to rinse out the detergent. Please avoid wringing it or scrubbing too hard. But how do you sanitize a stuffed animal that can't be washed?

5. Let It Dry

Let It Dry

After washing stuffed animals, you may roll them in a dry, clean white towel to help remove moisture and excess water. If the stuffed animal is already old and fragile, we recommend you air dry it. 

Related Posts:

Can You Use The Washer Without Ruining It? 

Yes, you can use the washer without ruining it. However, it is always recommended that you read its washing instructions care tag first to ensure that the stuffed animal is safe for a machine wash. Always use a dry towel afterward.

4 Easy Ways To Wash Stuffed Animals In The Washer 

1. Use Mesh Bags To Protect It

Use Mesh Bags To Protect It

When using the washing machine to clean dirty stuffed toys, you should always put them inside a mesh laundry bag. If you don’t have any mesh bags, you may use a zippered pillowcase (or a side seam) or a bed sheet to protect the stuffed animal against wear and tear.

2. Choose The Gentle Wash Setting 

Only use the gentle wash setting of your washing machine. Some washers have Delicate Cycle, Gentle Cycle, or Hand Washing Cycle settings. If you want to be extra careful, you may even put pads or added fabrics like small blankets and towels on the drum of the washing machine.

3. Add Laundry Detergent

Add Laundry Detergent

Next, add the laundry detergent. You may proceed to use your regular detergent, but a mild detergent is always more recommended use when cleaning stuffed animals. Learn how to make a weighted stuffed animal here

4. Dry The Stuffed Animal 

You may or may not use a dryer when drying your stuffed animal. We always recommend air drying plush toys after washing them because it’s a safer option. Use a towel to pat dry stuffed animals.

However, if you need to get the stuffed animal dry ASAP, you can use the dryer’s low heat setting. Remember to use a mesh bag to protect the fabric.

Pro Tip: Refrain from washing the stuffed animal during your child’s sleeping time, as he might look for his beloved stuffed animals. You can schedule a laundry day if you wish. 

When Are You Not Allowed To Put It In The Washer?

When Are You Not Allowed To Put It In The Washer? 

You aren’t allowed to put it in the washer if the care instructions tag warned about doing so. Sometimes, you can’t machine wash stuffed animals because they contain things that aren’t fit for washers. 

Washing stuffed animals with a music box, electronic and plastic parts, built-in battery packs, and lights might be ruined inside the washing machine. Some also contain eyes, foam beads like Beanie Babies, sequins, or other items glued on them that can be easily detached.  But how do you wrap stuffed animals?

How To Wash Stuffed Animals That Cannot Be Washed 

Spot Clean It

Dilute a teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent using one cup of cold or lukewarm water), then do a fabric spot test. Do not ever use hot water. Then, dip a cotton swab in the diluted detergent and gently dab it on the less visible area you want to spot or color test. 

If no color comes off, then you may proceed to spot-treat stains. Then, use a damp cloth to wipe away the detergent once you’re done cleaning the stain. Pat a clean towel and then air dry it. But if any color comes off, use only water to clean it.

Deodorize It

Deodorize It

After cleaning the stuffed animal, proceed to deodorize it by putting it in a clean plastic bag with a cup of baking soda. Let it sit inside the bag for a few hours. Then, remove any baking soda using a vacuum or tumble dry it without heat for a minute. High heat may damage the stuffed animal. Musty-smelling stuffed animals need deodorizing.


Should stuffed animals be washed and dried?

Not all stuffed animals should be washed and dried. Some stuffed animals only require spot-cleaning or a surface wash because it is too delicate to be washed. 

How do you clean old stuffed animals?

Old stuffed animals require professional attention, especially if you got them from a thrift store. We recommend going to a dry cleaning shop to do the job if it is too delicate to be washed at home. You may look for local shops that repair or clean stuffed animals, like “stuffed animal hospitals.” Also, how do you make stuffed animals soft again?

Final Thoughts

Most stuffed animals are safe to be washed. In fact, some of them should be washed due to too much dirt or other irritants that could pose a danger to children. However, one should know how to properly wash stuffed animals to avoid damaging them.

When stuffed animals become too grimy, smelly, or dusty, it’s definitely time to clean them through handwash, surface clean, or the machine washing option. After reading this article, we hope you have already learned how to properly care for your favorite toys.

If you want to add more stuffed toys to your collection, don’t forget to check out Toynk for their plush collectibles and toys.



Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Free U.S. Shipping

Free shipping for every order, every day for the contiguous U.S.