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A Complete Guide on How to Wash Stuffed Toys

Posted by Patricia Spencer on
A Complete Guide on How to Wash Stuffed Toys

Your child’s stuffed toys aren’t just cute little animals – they are a source of comfort and security, a means to stimulate their imagination, and a big component of independent play.  Not only that, but children can get pretty territorial and attached when it comes to their favorite stuffed toys. 

Because of their importance, it’s our job to take care of those stuffed animals so that they last for as long as possible.  A big part of that is keeping them clean.  Let’s face it – stuffed animals can get pretty grimy, and even unhygienic, after a while.

If you’re wondering how to wash stuffed toys, Grab Green Home is here to help.  We will cover both hand-washing and machine-washing methods, along with the best means for drying stuffed animals, to keep them looking brand new without wearing them out, fading them, or damaging them. 

Cleaning Stuffed Animals without Ruining Them

First, let’s talk about how often you should wash your child’s stuffed toys. If your child is sleeping with them each night, or playing with them pretty much daily, then a weekly cleaning is ideal.  If your child has just gotten over being sick, you should wash all of their stuffed toys to sanitize them.  And, if your child doesn’t sleep with them or play with them much, but they just sit in the room, then wash them as needed – basically, when they start showing signs of dirtiness or dustiness.

Now, each stuffed toy is unique.  There are different materials, types of stuffing, details, etc. from which they’re made.  Because of this, you don’t want to take a one-size-fits-all approach to washing them.  Not only that, but many of us have stuffed toys that have been passed down over generations, which are far more fragile than the stuffed toys you’d find at most toy stores today.

You should always look for a care bale:

  • If there is a care label on a stuffed toy, that’s great, since it will tell you precisely how to wash the toy, whether it be by hand or machine, and it should also give you drying instructions.
  • If there is no care label, for instance, because it’s an antique stuffed toy, err on the side of caution, and stick to hand-washing and air-drying.

We also recommend doing a color test, because you don’t want your child’s favorite stuffed animal to lose its vibrant colors.  Using your fingers, rub a small amount of laundry detergent, diluted, onto the toy.  If the color runs, then don’t use any detergent, instead sticking to water.

Of course, any stuffed toy that has a battery inside, mechanical parts, or metal components should not be submerged in water, but rather spot-cleaned.

Washing Stuffed Toys by Hand

If you’re dealing with an older or more fragile stuffed toy, then hand-washing is the way to go.  Below are the steps to hand-washing a stuffed animal.

Step #1: First, fill a sink or bucket with cold water – enough for the stuffed toy to be fully submerged.  Soak the toy in there, possibly weighing it down with a heavy object if necessary.

Step #2: Add a small amount of detergent to the cold water.  We recommend Grab Green’s Natural Baby Laundry Detergent Pods.  They’re hypoallergenic and made to be gentle enough for newborns.  Alternatively, you can use our 3 in 1 Laundry Detergent Powder.  It’s made with gentle, natural, and eco-friendly ingredients. 

Step #3: Squeeze the stuffed toy gently to fully saturate it with the water and detergent solution.  Use your hands to rub/scrub the surface of the stuffed animal.

Step #4: Rinse out the detergent (without wringing) using pure cold water.

Washing Stuffed Toys in the Washing Machine

Most stuffed toys that are produced nowadays are machine-washable.  Still, you’ll want to be a gentle as possible.

Step #1: You’ll want to protect the stuffed toy by putting it in a mesh laundry bag.  If you don’t have one, use a pillowcase that’s tied or zipped at the end.

Step #2: Use a gentle wash setting like delicate, gentle, or hand wash, and cold water to prevent the fading of colors.

Step #3: Add your detergent, and preferably a gentle one, like the ones from Grab Green Home that we mentioned above.

Drying Stuffed Animals After Washing

Now comes the drying process.  Again, if there’s a care label on the stuffed animal, follow that to use the appropriate drying method.  There are stuffed toys that can handle a dryer, but it’s likely that the dryer will need to be on a gentler setting, as indicated on the label.  Make sure to use dryer sheets, which will keep the stuffed animal feeling soft.  Grab Green’s Newborn Baby Dryer Sheets - 3 Pack or Baby Dryer Sheets {5+ months} - Dreamy Rosewood - 2 Pack are a perfect choice.

If there’s no care label, assume that air-drying is the way to go.  The best way to air-dry a stuffed toy is to hang it and allow the excess water to drip.  Otherwise, the stuffed animal may stay saturated for too long, and mildew can develop.

Keeping Stuffed Toys Feeling Like Brand New

The key to keeping those stuffed toys feeling their best is by treating them with gentle methods only – including the settings of your washer and dryer, if applicable.  Handling them with harsher methods will only roughen them up, and potentially damage them in a way that can’t be reversed.  Keep in mind that by using these gentle methods, including gentle detergents, you don’t need a fabric softener.

Keep Those Stuffed Toys Clean with the Products at Grab Green Home

Your child’s stuffed animals and other stuffed toys need to be cleaned regularly, to keep them sanitary, and also to keep them looking clean and fresh.  Luckily, at Grab Green Home, you will find a wide array of eco-friendly and gentle laundry products that are safe for babies and young children.  Explore our selection today, to keep those stuffed animals clean, yet ensuring that they maintain their softness and color over time.

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