How to Wash Stuffed Animals

  • By: Mohammed Zeliche
  • Date: December 15, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Stuffed animals are the best. They’re soft and cuddly, they can keep you company if you’re lonely, and they can even be a good tool for teaching kids how to hug! But sometimes stuffed animals get dirty. Maybe your dog chewed it up while you were at work or maybe your child left it out in the rain by accident. Whatever happened, we’ve got a guide on how to wash stuffed animals so that they will stay clean and fluffy (and not get thrown away!)

How to Wash Stuffed Animals:

Step 1: Assess the Damage

This will be a big part of how we deal with the situation. If your stuffed animal is just a little bit dirty, you can probably get away with cleaning it in cold water with some gentle dish soap. For tougher stains or if the toy smells really bad, you might want to go all out and wash it in hot water on a regular cycle. You’ll find that most of the time, this isn’t even necessary! Once you’ve decided what to do, make sure to move on to step 2 once you’re ready for real action.

 Step 2: Select Your Weapon(s)

Now that you know what kind of situation you have, select the best tool or combination of tools for cleaning your stuffed animal.

Cold Water & Dish Soap: 

This is a great solution if your toy just needs to be freshened up a bit. Put it in the washer on cold with some dish soap and then let it air-dry afterward. You can even put it in the dryer, just keep an eye on things so that nothing gets too hot! 

Hot Water & Dish Soap: 

If your toy is really dirty, washing it in hot water will get rid of the grime much better than using cold water ever could. Just like before, add dish soap and let it air dry afterward, or use the dryer (again, keep an eye on it so nothing gets too hot).

Cold Water & Bleach: 

If your toy smells really bad or you need to get rid of any mold or mildew, adding bleach to the water might be what you need. Just make sure not to use too much because it could start fading the colors of your toy.

Hot Water & Bleach: 

This is a good solution for getting stains out that are caused by blood or pretty much any food that isn’t chocolate (just in case you were wondering). Don’t use this one too often though, as bleach over time can cause fabrics to weaken and fade.

Step 3: Dry It Off!

After you’ve pre-treated or washed your stuffed animal, make sure it’s thoroughly rinsed in the sink until there are no more suds. Then just let it air dry somewhere that isn’t humid (i.e.: next to a fan, not out in the rain). If you’re feeling generous, you can even put it in the dryer with some old towels to speed things up!

 Step 4: Most Importantly…Enjoy It!

Now that your toy is all clean and beautiful again, go ahead and give it a big hug to celebrate! Make sure to have fun because if you take good care of your stuffed animal now, it will be able to keep you company for years to come.

How about the dryer?

 I have a giant bear that is still cuddly but has started to get some black stuff inside its ears. I was going to use the recipe for getting out stains in clothes but since it has a few black spots it might damage it? Thank you! 

I would avoid putting it in the dryer. The heat from your clothes dryer can cause a stuffed animal’s eyes and nose to melt or discolor, especially if they are plastic. If possible, air drying is best. 🙂 

I have this problem right now actually with my bunny that had gotten wet then dried badly so her feet became all discolored and dirty looking. 

How would I get them clean/white again?

Hello there!! A great way to wash any type of stain off the fabric of stuffed animals is by using lemon juice!! You don’t need to use the whole lemon either!! I use about a tablespoon of lemon juice and spread it on my stuffed animals. After you’ve done this, leave the toy in the sun for 2 hours!! 

If you like, this is also effective if you place your stuffed animal(s) in direct sunlight or under a strong lamp for 1-2 hours every day. This will help all of your toys keep their original color & not fade!! Hope this helps! 

Why is cleaning Stuffed Animals necessary?

Stuffed animals make great companions. They provide comfort, love, and joy to those who receive them as gifts or those who acquire a stuffed animal as a friend. However, there is a negative side to these lovable creatures that must be addressed which includes the fact that they attract dirt, grime, and germs due to their close contact with people and pets on a regular basis. 

Whether your child snuggles up with his teddy bear every night before going to bed or you enjoy curling up with your favorite stuffed animal after a hard day at work, it is important to keep these plush toys clean so you do not have an unwanted outbreak of allergens such as dust mites in your home. Otherwise, keeping stuffed animals clean is


The benefits of handwashing a stuffed animal are that it can help keep the toy clean and extend its life. In order to wash your stuffed animals, you will need warm water, dish soap, a towel or clothesline for drying them off afterward, and either bleach or baking soda if they have been soiled by bodily fluids or food stains. Just give your little one’s favorite friends a good scrubbing with some soap and hot water!

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