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How to clean plush toys

Your child's favorite toy was spotted or simply want to do a general cleaning including plush toys. Next questions: “How?”, “Can they go in the washer or not?”, “Can you use regular detergent or do you have to use a specialty product? “. Here are some methods and tips.

You Can’t Wash Your Stuffed Animal in the Washing Machine if:
● They have a music box sewn inside
● They are extremely old and fragile
● They have items glued on – sequins, etc. Glued-on eyes probably will survive a washing.
● They have delicate ‘clothing’ items on that can’t be removed (think glittery, net-type dresses or delicate little crowns or the like)
● They have small foam balls inside (like Beanie Babies) not batting.


If you have a most-loved stuffed animal that cannot go through the washer for a good cleaning, use the following guide to spot-clean it by hand. It’s not nearly as hard or time-consuming as you might think.

Fill the container with warm water, agitating the water as it fills the bowl so the detergent dissolves.
Dip your washcloth into the detergent solution and leave the cloth fairly wet, but not saturated. In a circular motion, very gently rub the outside of the animal. Continue washing until the whole stuffed animal is clean.
Wet the other washcloth under cold, running water and again leave it fairly wet but not saturated. ‘Rinse’ the stuffed animal using the water-only wash cloth, gently rubbing in a circular motion. You might have to rinse this washcloth several times and wash again to remove the bulk of the detergent.

It is best to let the stuffed animal hang-dry or sit in front of a fan to dry. In all likelihood, if the animal is too delicate to go in the washer then it is probably too delicate for the heat of the dryer also.
If it says that the toy is fully washable, place it in a mesh bag or zippered pillowcase and wash on the delicate cycle using your regular detergent and cold water. The mesh bag gives it an extra level of protection from snagging or being pummeled too much in the machine.

After washing, remove from the bag and hang dry. I prefer to allow the toys to air dry. You can roll the toy in a thick, clean white towel to help remove moisture. They can then be hung to dry using clothespins or dried flat.
If you must use a clothes dryer because your little one is screaming or refusing to go to bed, use the lowest heat setting possible. Some synthetic "furs", while washable, will melt in high heat. If the toy has "fur", use a soft-bristled brush to fluff up the fibers. Work slowly and in a small section at a time to prevent tangling and pulling out the fibers.


If washed too often, the toy can wear out its fabric. Too much sun exposure will fade some stuffed animals. Be prepared to comb out fur knots.