How to Clean Stuffed Animals 

Learning how to clean stuffed animals can help your little one get more out of their favorite toys.

There’s no doubt – your kid’s stuffed animal carries more germs and dirt than you’d like. So if you’re tired of looking at a crusty or discolored plush toy, it’s time to wash it.

How to Clean Stuffed Animals 

Follow these steps to keep stuffed animals soft and in excellent condition while cleaning them.

How to Wash Stuffed Animals in the Washing Machine (And Keep Them Soft)

You can wash most stuffed animals in the washing machine. Look at the care tag to be sure. 

(If the stuffed animal has lights, sound, or batteries, don’t put it in the washing machine. Also, if it’s old or starting to fall apart, hand washing is your best bet.)

Stuffed Animals in the Washing Machine

Step 1: Place the Stuffed Animal in a Laundry Bag or Pillowcase

To protect the eyes, buttons, and embroidery on the stuffed animal, place it in a mesh laundry basket or pillowcase with a zipper. 

Step 2: Wash with Cold Water and Laundry Detergent

Place your stuffed animal in the washing machine. You can also add a couple of towels to help with the scrubbing action.

Add laundry detergent to the washer and run on the “gentle” cycle.

Step 3: Air Dry

You can hang the stuffed animal or place it flat to dry. If you put it on a flat surface, flip it over halfway through the drying process.

How to Hand Wash Stuffed Animals

Hand wash stuffed animals with delicate fabric or those beginning to fall apart.

Step 1: Fill a Basin or Sink with Cold Water and Laundry Detergent

Fill your sink with cold water, add a teaspoon of laundry detergent, and swirl the mixture. 

Step 2: Hand Wash

Dunk the stuffed animal in the water and use your hands to agitate it. Be cautious of scrubbing too hard if the stuffed animal has tears.

Step 3: Rinse Under Cold Water

Drain the sink and rinse the stuffed animal with cold water until you no longer see suds or soap. 

Step 4: Air Dry

Ring out excess water. Use a towel to dry the stuffed animal and then hang it or lay it flat to air dry. Flip the stuffed animal halfway through the drying process.

How to Spot Clean Stuffed Animals with Batteries

You can’t submerge stuffed animals with circuits or battery packs. Instead, you need to spot-treat stains. 

Treat stains using a stain removal spray or towelettes. For fresh stains, you can use a simple mix of dish soap and water. After pretreating, wipe with a damp cloth.

How to Dry a Large Stuffed Animal so It Doesn’t Develop Mold or Mildew

It’s best to spot clean giant stuffed animals rather than submerging them in water. But, if you’ve placed your large stuffed animal in the washer and now need to dry it, there are some steps you can take.

  • Remove excess water with a towel.
  • Dry the stuffed animal in a room with a dehumidifier or heater to speed up the process.
  • When damp, place the stuffed animal in the dryer at the lowest temperature. (Check the care tag first, some stuffed animal fur can melt in the dryer.)

How to Fluff Your Stuffed Animals Fur After Washing

You can maintain your stuffed animal’s softness by fluffing it as it dries. Start by towel drying the toy after washing. Then, every hour or so, use your towel to fluff the fur. When dry, use a brush or comb to break up clumps in the coat.

How Often to Wash Stuffed Animals

Wash stuffed animals when they appear dirty or if your kid has been sick. Stuffed animals that get a lot of use will need washing more than stuffed animals that act as decor.