Do You Know How to Clean Stuffed Animals?

1 Aug

Most folks know how to clean hard toys, but did you ever pause and wonder what’s the best way to clean stuffed animals (or other plush toys)?

confused look

Before I share some tips, I have a word of warning:

warning sign

Please consider the condition of the plush toy BEFORE you heed any advice I share here.  The tips I have picked up along the way has worked for my sons stuffed animals.  BUT

He didn’t inherit an heirloom teddy bear

heirloom teddy bear

Or one with pretty ribbons, lace  and pearls

teddy bear with ribbons

Or one that had a music box…

Get it?  A musical teddy bear!

Get it? A musical teddy bear!

I wouldn’t want anyone’s favorite stuffed toy to be ruined if it was exposed to a cleaning method that was too harsh for the toy.

Steps to cleaning and sanitizing your child’s plush toys that you have deemed safe:

Step 1:

Check the tags for cleaning instructions.  If they are available, follow them as appropriate.

cleaning instructions

Step 2:

Remove any stuck on food or dirt with a soft brush before beginning the cleaning process.

stuck on food

Step 3:

Put the toy(s) in the freezer for approximately 4 hours to kill any dust mites.

put in freezer

Step 4:

To wash toys in the washing machine, you need to be careful of the agitator on a top loading washer.  You will want to put the toy in a pillow cover with a zipper.  If you don’t have one, you can use a regular pillow case and tie it with a twist tie – or just tie the top of the case into a knot.  Wash the toys in warm water (not hot) in the gentle cycle using the laundry detergent that you wash your child’s clothes in (to try and minimize any allergy risks of using something too harsh for your baby’s skin).  I have a top loader machine at my house, but I heard that front loaders don’t have as much ‘pulling action’ on the toys so you can skip the part about putting the toys in a pillow case cover (or pillow case).

teddy in pillow case

washing machine

Step 5:

Move the pillow case to the dryer.  Depending on how ‘thick’ the toy is, you may need to run it through the dryer twice to be sure it is thoroughly dry.  Any residual dampness in the toy could lead to mold which is NOT what you want your child near…

clothes dryer

Make sure you wash your child’s plush toys as often as is reasonable… depending on their use, every other week should be ok.  If they are dragged around outside regularly, or put in the child’s mouth regularly, every week or more is recommended.

playing with teddy bear

Always wash plush toys regularly during contagious illnesses and again after the illness has left your home.  Clean toys help to keep kids healthy!

kids playing

Do you have any other tips or tricks to keep plush toys clean?  Please share them with us.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of which offers a full range of Baptismal and First Communion apparel and accessories for boys and girls.

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.


One Response to “Do You Know How to Clean Stuffed Animals?”


  1. Boon Animal Bag | Stuffed Animal Storage | Beanbag Style Seat | Sawdust and Violets™ - September 19, 2013

    […] Do You Know How to Clean Stuffed Animals? […]

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