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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!

5 thoughts on “How to Clean Your Old Stuffed Animals

  1. What about larger ones with battery packs?

    1. Battery packs are usually set up in a way that they can be removed for cleaning. If not, you’ll have to gently hand wash without soaking any area near the electronic components. You could do the limbs and head as soaks, being mindful that you work with gravity to avoid water moving towards the electronics. Then just spritz and dab diluted detergent onto the outside of the body, again keeping it at just the surface level so no water reaches wires or anything internal.

  2. What is “pumping motion”? The 30 year old grey bear wants to return to white. I can follow all of the instructions you have laid out in the hand wash instruction you have provided except the pumping motion which you recommend before soaking in the water for 30-60 minutes.. I don’t wnat to start until I understand this instruction. Thank you

    1. id try just gently pushing in and out (like a pumping motion) on the spots that need the most cleaning. you can also let the water absorb a little and then squeeze gently to let it come out, and repeat.

  3. I have an old koala bear from a frind who has lost most of fluff but still has a little left the leather is looking tired. It’s a needs s clean and condition what would you recommend

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