If you have kids, then you know how irreplaceable stuffed animals can be—particularly the plushies that are special to them. You probably also know how dusty and dirty those little stuffed teddy bears, stuffed dogs and stuffed ponies can get, even after as little as a few weeks in your child’s care. Most quality stuffed toys – include washing instructions both on the hangtags and on the more permanent labels sewn into the stuffed animal. If parents have, understandably, failed to save hangtags or even cut off all the labels they can be left in a tough spot, having to choose between taking away a child’s favorite toy, or allowing them to play with something that’s accumulated a little dirt. Whether your problem is as simple as some dusty fur, or you have a seriously soiled stuffed toy, these tips will help you clean your child’s stuffed toys without ruining them. Here are some simple suggestions.
If you’re just looking to do a little preventative maintenance and get some dust out of the fur of your toy or if the label on the stuffed animals says “Surface Wash”, a damp washcloth should do the trick. Avoiddisinfectant wipes as ingredients in them such as alcohol may damage fur or colors, and leave an unhealthy residue on the animal.
If you’re looking to treat the inside of the toy as well, you can throw the toy into the washing machine and then dry on low heat. To reduce allergens—particularly dust mites, The CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends washing in hot water and thoroughly dry or placing the animal in the Freezer for an extended period will also kill dust mites. An useful suggestion, when washing and drying stuffed toys is to place in a pillow case, which can reduce matting of longer plush fur.
When washing, use minimal washing detergent and avoid additives such as fabric softeners which can leave residues on the plush toys, particularly for plush toys and blankies for infants. This Fluffing In all cases after a cleaning, shaking out the dry animal and/or fluffing like a pillow can help return the animal to it’s original shape and softness.
Today when a stuffed animal or blankie becomes a Special Toy, carried everywhere, parents will often purchase another of the same plush toy to provide for, particularly younger children, while the other toy is washed. This way, there is no angst of giving up the toy while it is cleaned, the life of the toys are extended and they are more easily cleaned often. Some companies, like Douglas even offer a discount online when two of the same animals are purchase.
Following any kind of cleaning, take a moment to inspect the stuffed toy for any signs of wear, such as open seams, big pieces of loose fur, stuffing coming out or loose parts. If any part of the stuffed toy seems compromised or worn beyond repair, replacement of the toy is recommended.
Hopefully these tips will help you get your child’s stuffed toys clean, dry, and in one piece, while giving your child the pleasure of a safe toy.