The Household Academy
September 28, 2020
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How to Clean Stuffed Animals Without Damaging Them

Author: Administrator
Are you concerned about the dust and germs that can accumulate over time on your child's favorite plush animal toys? As lovable and huggable as these stuffed toys may be, furry objects can attract a lot of dust. But, of course, you don't want to damage your child's plush pal! There are a few simple ways to clean, disinfect, and refresh plush animals without destroying any of their charm. To start, you need to carefully read the label on the toy, or, if it is missing, you need to determine what material the plush animal is made from and how delicate it may be.

Sturdy Toys - Washer and Dryer

Many plush toys will say right on the label that they are machine washable. If the label says to hand wash only, or if you are not certain, try one of the other methods below. The majority of toys with no label could probably survive a washing machine cycle, but you should check the type of material. There are a few key differences between a load of laundry and a plush animal or a group of stuffed toys.

Make sure to use the most delicate cycle with only cold water to keep the colors bright. Add some fabric softener to keep the toys soft and huggable. It's important not to stuff the machine too full - plush animals absorb water like a pillow and become heavy. When you put the plushies in the dryer, use the fluff/air or tumble dry cycle. You might want to use extra dryer sheets as stuffed toys can create a lot of static and a soft feel and fresh scent never hurt a teddy bear!

More Delicate Toys- Home Dry Cleaning

If your toy is a bit more fragile, consider using Dryel or another reputable brand of at-home dry cleaning bag. Put a small number of toys in the dryer on a low setting, as per the instructions, and you will soon have a fresh teddy bear or other stuffed toy. If your toy has plastic parts such as eyes or noses (many plush dogs, stuffed cats, or other toys have glued-on plastic,) you might want to use the dryer method. Plastic can melt and glue can loosen under heat and a regular run through the washer and dryer might damage them.

Even More Delicate Toys - Air Vacuuming

The more delicate toys can still quickly become soiled through a lot of loving and hugging. It may be dangerous for some toys to go into the dryer, even on a fluff cycle, because they could be flammable. If your toy needs cleaning but is more fragile than most, consider a treatment that doesn't require water or even heat. Put the toys you wish to clean into a garbage bag, making sure they are loose inside the bag and not squeezed inside.

Gently place a vacuum cleaner nozzle at the bag opening and suck the dust and dirt out. When you are done, take the toys out of the bag and freshen them up with a little Fabreeze or other fabric spray. If they toys have distended and lost some of their stuffed shape during the process, just fluff them lightly by hand and they will return to their original form. One word of caution - this method only works on regular size stuffed toys since the smallest plush animals could get sucked into the vacuum. You may want to hold the bag lightly just at the end of the vacuum nozzle, keeping it separated from the teddy bear or other plush toy to ensure that the vacuum doesn't grab hold of an eye or nose.

Most Delicate Toys or Well-Worn Antiques - Hand Washing

What if your toy is a valuable antique collectible or a family heirloom or even an older stuffed toy with sentimental value from your childhood? The safest way to clean a plush animal is to hand-wash them. You can either gently wash the whole stuffed animal or just clean up a few stains. Let's say that you have a cute, but well-loved stuffed giraffe with some stains that you would like to remove. Fill the sink with cool water, add a little detergent, soak your plush giraffe for around 15 minutes, then use a toothbrush to gently scrub the stained areas.

When you have finished the plush toy's bath, rinse the giraffe until the detergent is gone, squeeze the bulk of the water out of the toy, and then let it air dry. You can also opt to spot clean the stuffed animal without the full bath by dipping a toothbrush into the soapy water and scrubbing just the stains. The soft bristles of a toothbrush will be less likely to damage the toy than a regular brush and you won't have to get the whole plushie wet.

No matter what the condition or delicacy or your plush toy, there is a way to clean and restore it. A good cleaning can prolong the life of your favorite stuffed animal and save it from the trash bin.


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