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Can You Put Stuffed Animals in the Washing Machine?

mother and child using washing machine

After years of use, our stuffed animals start to look a little dingey. They need to be washed, but you don’t have time to wash your stuffed animals by hand. So, you wonder to yourself: will my stuffed animals be ok in the washing machine?

Turns out—yes! Stuffed animals can be put in the washing machine. However, you’ll need to take the following steps to ensure they don’t get ruined:

Use the gentlest cycle

While stuffed animals can be placed in the washing machine, they still have delicate parts, especially if they have buttons or zippers. You’ll want to put your washing machine on the gentlest cycle you have—Delicate, Hand Wash, or Gentle cycles will all work.

Protect the stuffed animal in a mesh laundry bag

For added protection, place the stuffed animal in a mesh laundry bag or a zippered pillowcase. This will help ensure that nothing tears or falls off your stuffed animal.

You can use regular detergent, but mild detergent is best

Most detergents are safe for stuffed animals. However, if you want to take extra precautions, you can always use a mild detergent with cold water. This is the best option especially for older stuffed animals that may be more delicate.

Don’t put your stuffed animals in the dryer

The washing machine may be safe for your stuffed animals, but the dryer is not. You should always air-dry your stuffed animals on a towel. Then, use a hair dryer to fluff up the fur.

For more tips on how to care for your lovable stuffed animals, read through our blog or contact The Zoo Factory today!

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How to Choose Which Stuffed Animals to Keep

teddy bears and toys

Chances are if you child has one stuffed animal, they have plenty more. Lots of times, this collection of animals can grow out of control, hanging on to every stuffed animal they’ve acquired over the years. You’ll need to cut back, but which ones do you keep and which ones do you donate? Read on to learn more:

More isn’t necessarily better

The only thing unique about having a stuffed animal collection of over 100 is the size. What do you do with all of them? How many are the same stuffed animal, or at least the same animal? Having a variety of stuffed animals will make your collection stand out more. Try and get rid of animals you have duplicates of or ones that are the same animal.

Movie and TV characters

In every collection, it’s always a good idea to have a stuffed animal of your child’s favorite Disney movie character or TV character. Adding a Simba or Sponge Bob Square Pants to the collection will show a pop culture side to your child and even how they become a fan of a movie or character at an early age. Plus, some of these stuffed animals can turn into collectables or even valuables as time goes on.

Sentimental value

A stuffed animal may not look special, but it can be special to your child. You never want to throw away any stuffed animal that has sentimental value. That’s why, when you’re sorting through stuffed animals, make sure you get your child’s input. They’ll know best which animals are special to them.

For more child caring and stuffed animal tips, read through our blog at The Zoo Factory today!

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How to Clean Your Child’s Favorite Stuffed Animal

stuffed animals in a basket

That stuffed animal has been at your child’s side for what seems like ages. You can’t picture one without the other. Except, you could probably stand to see the animal looking a little cleaner! When a well-loved stuffy has seen better days, performing a little magic cleaning can have it looking like new again.

Before cleaning

Firstly consider a few factors when determining how to clean the stuffable animal. For instance, the older the animal is, the more fragile it has become. Harsh scrubbing may end up doing more damage than good, so it’s best to approach cleaning mildly and gently. Also, you will want to gage your level of cleaning on how the stuffy is constructed and what materials from which it is made. An animal with sturdy stitching and heat-friendly stuffing might do well being machine washed and dried. But an animal bonded by glue, or with moving parts will not fair well in a washing machine and dryer.

Check the label

Follow all directions on labels when you can. For instance, if it says wash by hand, sometimes you can get away with a gentle cycle on the washer. But if it says surface clean only, it is best to comply. Be sure to remove any bows or accessories before washing in a machine. Not only can these items fall off or get ruined in the machines, but they have a nasty habit of working their way inside the machine and can cause serious problems for your appliances.

Know when it’s time to let it go

Animals that have been loved hard sometimes don’t make the cut anymore. Those that are deemed unsalvageable should be tossed. However, if is very meaningful, try to replace it with a new one before tossing the old. Also, if you are going to throw it out anyway, try it in the washing machine just in case. You haven’t got anything to lose!

Spot wash when possible

Learning how to spot wash can help prevent you from having to wash the whole stuffed animal. Take a vacuum brush to the animal and gently remove dust and dirt. An upholstery cleaner may also be used on the stuffed animal, but be sure to test an area of the stuffed animal first. Use a safe, non-toxic cleaner  made of warm water and a squirt of liquid dishwashing soap. Beat the liquid and soap on a medium speed until foamy. Sponge clean the animal and use a spray water bottle to remove the suds. Let the animal air-dry. If desired, fluff the animal on a low heat or delicate dryer setting.

Have further questions on how to care for your stuffed animals? Contact The Zoo Factory today!

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How to Properly Store Your Stuffed Animals for the Long-Term

How to Properly Store Your Stuffed Animals for the Long-Term

If you’ve ever had to put away your stuffed animals, for any reason, you know how difficult it can be, both for sentimental and practical reasons. However, there will come a time when you just don’t have the space to keep your childhood stuffed animals around in your room anymore. For this, you will need long-term solutions that will keep your stuffed animals safe and protected. Here’s how to get started:

Display them

Most adults don’t play with their childhood stuffed animals, but they still get joy from seeing their favorite teddy bear sitting nearby. Displaying your stuffed animal collection using glass-front shelves or freestanding cases can keep them protected while keeping them in sight.

Use air-tight storage bins

Perhaps you don’t mind not seeing the stuffed animals but still want them protected while in storage. Air-tight storage bins are your best bet, as these will ensure that bugs, dust, and dirt won’t collect onto your stuffed animals. You can keep these storage bins under your bed or down in your basement. If you place them in your basement, try to keep them off the floor in the case of any flooding.

Wrap them in acid-free tissue paper or boxes

By wrapping each stuffed animal in acid-free tissue paper or acid-free boxes, you can preserve the life of the stuffed animals when they are not on display or in use. To prevent matted fur, try using more than one box to put the stuffed animals in. They should spring back to life and be ready for play or decoration when the time is right again.

For more tips on how to care for your stuffed animals, read through our blog or contact The Zoo Factory today!

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How to Repair Your Child’s Stuffed Animal

How to Repair Your Child's Stuffed Animal

Our children’s stuffed animals go through a lot. They’ve been squished inside of a suitcase, dropped in a pile of mud, slept on during the night, and much, much more. While stuffed animals are hardy creatures, there will come a time when their stitches and seams begin to weaken or break all together. While some injuries are beyond repair, there are ways for you to get your child’s stuffed animal back to normal again.

Inspect the damaged part

Begin by inspecting the damaged part of the animal. Consider whether this is a simple fix you can do at home, or one that will require help. Often times, it’s easy enough to fix yourself, but for those who don’t know how to sew, there are repair shops, or “stuffed animal hospitals,” where a “sick or injured” stuffed animal can be “healed.”

Match the thread colors, content, and size

If you can do the repair work yourself, be sure to match appropriate thread colors, content and size. By using the right tools, you can replicate the original work, which will help maintain the integrity of the stuffed animal. Of course, to your child, just being able to hold their friend again might be all that matters, so to each their own when it comes to making repairs.

Replace the stuffing

If the animal has lost any stuffing while torn, be sure to replace it with a like fill. It will help the animal regain its original shape and keep the fabric in place. Even if no stuffing has been lost, if the well-loved stuffed animal is showing signs of stuffing shift, try to reposition it before you begin stitching or mending.

Fixing your child’s stuffed animal is often quick and easy, but there will come a time when that stuffed animal is beyond repair. When this happens, The Zoo Factory is here with plenty of stuffable animals that your child will adore. Look through our website to get started!

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4 Ways to Store and Display Your Stuffed Animal Collection

Stuffed Animals in a Wicker Basket

Your stuffed animal collection is something to be proud of, but even we admit that all those stuffed animals can have a downside—namely, they can take up a lot of space. The quickest solution is just to shove them all into a box, but then no one will see them. Instead, try some of these storage tricks to both keep your room clean and display your stuffed animals proudly:

 

A toy hammock

A quick and easy way to store your stuffed animals is to set up a hammock in the corner of the room. This will keep the stuffed animals well out of the way, but also within sight. For young children, keep a step stool somewhere close so that they can grab them if the need arises, and if you find one hammock isn’t enough, then set up another in another corner of the room.

Shelving

Shelves are great for storing and displaying lots of things, stuffed animals included. You can have one long shelf at the top of your room, or multiple smaller shelves along the wall. Just make sure the shelves are deep enough for your stuffed animals to fit (and stay) up there.

Baskets

Big or small, baskets are a neat way (literally) to collect and display all of those stuffed animals. Get some colorful baskets with a design that goes well with the room. Then just put them in the corner on the floor, or on a shelf. Bigger stuffed animals should go towards the bottom of the basket, while smaller ones should go up top.

A hanging bench

If you want to get really creative, you can always make your own hanging bench. It’s surprisingly simple to make, only needing wood, hooks, and some rope, and you can customize it all you want. The three-tiered design will give you plenty of space to store all of your stuffed animals.

With these ideas, you should now be able to show off your stuffed animal collection while also keeping your room nice and clean. And if you’re wanting to grow that stuffed animal collection of yours, then take a look at The Zoo Factory. From teddy bears to dinosaurs, we have all sorts of stuffed animals for you or your child to choose from.

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How to Clean Your Old Stuffed Animals

Teddy Bear in a Bath

Your old teddy has been with you through thick and thin. New schools, new jobs, new places, you’ve brought that teddy with you everywhere. Maybe you’ve even passed it on to your son or daughter, who has proceeded to take teddy with them on their own adventures. But the years have taken a toll on ol’ teddy, and he just doesn’t look as good as he did all those years ago. If that’s the case, it really is time to give him a good cleaning, not just for your own sake (as stuffed animals can easily become germ magnets) but for his sake too. Here’s how:

Hand-washing stuffed animals

You may groan at the idea of hand-washing something, but it really is the safest route for your stuffed animal. Especially if they have glued-on items, delicate clothing, or are a few decades old, you should really be hand-washing them. Here are the steps you’ll need to take:

Step 1: Fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water and detergent

Step 2: Wash using a pumping motion

Step 3: Let it soak for 30-60 minutes depending on its condition

Step 4: Rinse until free of suds

Step 5: Squeeze out any water and let it dry on a towel, using a hair dryer to fluff up the fur

Machine-washing stuffed animals

If you determine that your stuffed animal can be safely machine-washed, then the process is pretty straight-forward. Just follow these tips to help your stuffed animal come out in one piece:

  • Use the gentlest cycle on your washing machine
  • Use cold water and mild detergent
  • Place it into a mesh bag if possible
  • Let it air-dry on a towel, using a hair dryer to fluff up the fur

And voila! Your old friend looks just like new.

But as much as you love your old teddy, you can never have too many stuffed animals. If you feel like your teddy could us a new companion, then stop by The Zoo Factory to see all of the stuffable animals that we offer!

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Stuffed Farm Animals the Perfect Easter Basket Stuffers

Toddler with Stuffed Bunny

While the traditional Easter candy and other edible treats make great basket stuffers, a stuffed animal will become a lifelong friend to your children beyond the celebration of a once-a-year holiday.

That’s why we want to encourage you to incorporate some stuffed farm animals into your child’s Easter basket this holiday!

Froggy Favorites Basket Stuffed Farm Animals the Perfect Easter Basket Stuffers

Children that love frogs will adore a frog-themed Easter basket full of treats and gifts centric to their favorite animal. Fill colorful plastic Easter eggs with frog trinkets like shiny necklaces with frog charms, soft green socks, and dangly key chains. Tie the basket together with this adorable plush frog that will have your child hopping around with excitement on Easter morning!

Rainy Day Basket

Spring ushers in rainy days, perfect for splashing around in puddles! Create a rainy day Easter basket full of fun activities perfect for a rainy day, such as arts and crafts, treasured movies, new rain boots, and an umbrella with a silly pattern. Your child will love celebrating “duck weather” with this fluffy yellow duck and a new yellow rain hat.

Gardening Basket

April showers eventually bring May flowers, but you have to plant them first! Gift your little gardener with their very own gardening Easter basket, complete with packets of seeds, shovels, a bright watering can, and some fun gardener’s gloves. Make gardening even more fun with a garden buddy. This precious brown rabbit will easily help make gardening a new favorite pastime for your little one.

Soft and Sleepy Basket

Young kids love soft things to help lull them to sleep, so filling an Easter basket with only the softest treasures is sure to please! Pack a basket with soft, fleece blankets and small fluffy slippers. Throw in some fun soft pajamas, a new bedtime book, and the perfect snuggle buddy lamb for the ultimate bedtime basket!

Get a head start on your Easter shopping and head over to The Zoo Factory and select your child’s new best friend. Shipping is on sale for orders over $50 now through March 31st!

 

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Tips on Cleaning Teddy Bears

Teddy Bear on a Clothesline

If you haven’t yet cleaned the teddy bear that your child sleeps with on a night basis, you’re not alone. Washing stuffed animals can be a hassle and many children don’t want to part with their teddy, period.

The Zoo Factory some several suggestions on how you can clean your child’s teddy bear to ensure that they remain fresh and loveable for years.

Check the Tag

Many stuffed animals are machine-washable (including ours) but you should always check a stuffed animal’s tag for washing instructions. If it doesn’t indicate washing instructions, you can usually get away with a cold wash on a delicate cycle or soaking it in cold water with detergent.

Use a Garment Bag

 

A garment bag typically protects a teddy’s plushness, making sure that it doesn’t get harmed in the washing machine. This can often allow you to wash it with other items, but we suggest washing teddy alone in order to be sage! If you don’t have a garment bag, you can use a pillow case that zips closed as an alternate.

 

Allow a Natural Dry

 

The dryer can be a little hard on teddy’s fur, instead, place teddy somewhere comfortable (preferably outside) to air dry. Make sure the teddy is completely dry before you returning it your child. A teddy that gets soaked might be damp on inside which can result in a build-up of bacteria. If you have a hair dryer, use that to speed the drying process and to ensure the inside of the bear gets dried too.

 

Consider a Spot Clean

 

If teddy has a tendency to stick his foot in spaghetti sauce or toothpaste, most of these stains can be easily spot cleaned. Use a damp cloth along with a blotting method to remove stains and spots. If water isn’t doing the job, use a tiny drop of detergent and use a clean damp cloth to remove the detergent from the toy.

 

Looking for another stuffed animal to add to the family? Make your own stuffed animal with Stuffable Animal Kits from The Zoo Factory. With dozens of fun, soft animals to choose from, your child can pick out his or her new favorite friend and toy. 

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The Importance of Washing Stuffed Animals Regularly

stuffed animal laundry bagA stuffed animal is usually a child’s best friend. They go for car rides, play in the backyard and travel to every corner of your child’s imagination with them. With all of this adventure, they are bound to get a bit dirty on their travels, which is why it is so important to wash your stuffed animals on a regular basis.

When Should a Stuffed Animal Be Washed?

Any parent will tell you that trying to get a stuffed animal away from a child is a difficult task, especially if it is a favorite one. You should try to wash your little one’s stuffed animal friends when you notice that they are soiled, have food or other grime on them. We recommend getting this task done during the day, so your child can still go to bed with Teddy in their arms at night.

How Should You Wash a Stuffed Animal?

A common misconception about washing stuffed animals is that they will be destroyed in the washing machine. But with the help of our Teddy Needs a Bath Laundry Bag, you can rest assured that the only changes in your stuffed animals will be that they are clean and fresh-scented after a trip through the washer.

How Can You Ensure Your Stuffed Animals Smell Great?

Hoping to make your Teddy smell just as great as he did the day you brought him home? The Zoo Factory now offers Aromabearapy Scent Chips that you can purchase and stuff inside all of your stuffable friends before closing them up. We have 9 scents to choose from right now, including baby powder, cotton candy and cupcake.

Order a few; this way you will have some backups to keep Teddy smelling great in between washes!

Why Should You Wash Stuffed Animals?

If your child has any allergies, regular washing of their stuffed animals will help to prevent flare ups. Dust mites can collect on stuffed animals, potentially causing eczema and asthma attacks. Besides when your stuffed animals get dirty, it is also important to wash them after your child is sick, or if there is a case of head lice found at their school.

Ready to make Teddy smell fresh as the day he came home? Order all the supplies you need right here at The Zoo Factory!