How to Wash Stuffed Animals by Hand

  • By: Mohammed Zeliche
  • Date: December 8, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

If you have a favorite childhood stuffed animal that you still cuddle with at night or bring on trips in the car, then it’s time to learn how to properly wash and take care of these cherished pieces of your past. Whether they’re made from fur or fabric (or some combination thereof), we’ll show you some simple ways to get your teddy bear or other loveable plush pal looking and feeling brand-new.

How to Wash Stuffed Animals by Hand:

A lot of people assume that a little lint here and there or a few stray bits of fuzz are inevitable when cleaning their stuffed animals, but they’re mistaken. By following just a few simple steps, you can have your favorite childhood toy looking better than ever before.

There is no official rule on how often a person should clean their stuffed animal provided it doesn’t fall prey to mold or mildew growth, so the rate at which these items require an extra dose of TLC varies from home to home. However, experts recommend at least checking on the toy every month (sooner if it’s exposed to high humidity or moisture) to make sure it doesn’t need cleaning.

There are generally three different types of stuffed toys on the market: those made from fur, which tends to be more expensive but has a longer lifespan; ones made from fabric with a furry covering, which are less expensive and washable but can lose their fluffiness over time; and ones made from a combination of fabrics and furries. 

Obviously, this third type is difficult to maintain since you can’t just throw them in the washer when they get dirty. However, that doesn’t mean you have to settle for an unclean toy.

Water temperature is a major factor when it comes to how well your stuffed animal will come out of the washer, as any temperature lower than 86 degrees Fahrenheit can cause mildew or mold growth. In general, always use cold water with delicate items and hot water with normal ones since this helps ensure their longevity.

Similarly, while most people assume that drying a stuffed animal in the dryer will ruin its fluffiness for good, this isn’t necessarily true either. You just need to take a few precautions beforehand. 

Avoid fabric softener sheets (they coat the fibers and reduce fluffiness), wash/rinse your toy one last time before tossing it in the dryer, and lay it flat to dry on top of a towel so it doesn’t stick to itself.

Washing stuffed animals with laundry soap and water can help remove dirt and grime from the surface.

Stuffed animals made from fabric with a furry covering can be washed in your washing machine.

Stuffed toys made from fur or a combination of fabrics and furries cannot be put in the washing machine and you should dry clean them instead.

Use hot, soapy water; line dry; air-fluff tumble dry; store. Wash your plush toy weekly using hot, soapy water. Make sure any removable parts are removed first, then follow these steps: Fill a sink or bathtub with warm water and add a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid. Swish the water around to create suds, and let your stuffed animal soak for five minutes to loosen any dirt or stains. Rinse with warm running water until all soap is removed and pat dry thoroughly.

Air-fluff tumble dry; line drying; storage; use laundry detergent; hand-wash; machine washable. Hand-wash the toy in cold water with gentle soap (like baby shampoo) and air-dry it flat on top of a towel. For extra dirty spots, try rubbing them out with an eraser before washing and take care not to scrub too hard, which could damage delicate fabrics.

Use laundry detergent powder to wash the toy in the washing machine (take the stuffing out first) on a cold setting with your regular laundry. Air-fluff it in the dryer or hang it up to air-dry completely before placing it back in its spot in your child’s bedroom or playroom.

Use lint rollers or fabric sweeper for small messes; gently vacuum when necessary; wipe down with damp cloth when needed; store when not being played with. How often should you clean stuffed animals: Every few months, check for any loose threads that could lead to excessive wear and tear over time, 

Then have them inspected by a seamstress to see if they need any minor mending. If your stuffed animal has lost any small pieces, like eyes, noses, or tails, you can either sew them back on yourself (check online for easy-to-follow directions) or take it to a professional who can do the job for you.

As needed; with gentle soap and cold water; hang dry or air dry flat in the sunroom. If your child’s stuffed animal has gotten dirty, you can either hand-wash it in hot, soapy water or spot clean small stains with a damp cloth. Use a lint roller to remove larger dirt patches, then stuff the toy with newspaper until it’s completely dry before putting it back in the playroom or bedroom. 

Wash at least once every six months for toys that are used frequently, but be sure to check cleaning labels before throwing your plush toys into the washing machine if they have any special requirements.


By following just a few simple steps, you can have your favorite childhood toy looking better than ever before. The next time you find yourself wondering how to clean stuffed animals by hand, come back here for some helpful advice. Thanks for reading!

You can wash your stuffed animal with a mild detergent and water in the sink. Use warm, not hot water (and don’t use too much soap). Rinse thoroughly and air dry. Your furry friend will be ready to cuddle again soon!

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