The Ultimate Guide to Washing Plushies

  • By: Mohammed Zeliche
  • Date: November 10, 2021
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Washing plushies can be a daunting task. If you don’t know what to do, you might end up ruining some of your favorite stuffed animals! This guide will help make the process as easy as possible. We’ll cover everything from how to clean them with water and soap, how to wash them in the washing machine, and tips for drying them effectively. By following these simple steps, your plushies will stay fresh and cuddly for years!

What are Plushies?

Plushies are stuffed animals that can be bought, found, or even handmade! The most common types of plushies are teddy bears, plushies, stuffed animals, and Nintendos. The names are all usually interchangeable.

What to Do Before Wash:

Before washing your plushie for the first time, there is a simple thing you’ll want to do: thread. If you don’t know how to thread your plushie’s eyes, read this guide on Reddit. It has some helpful pictures and easy instructions. Once you’ve got your plushie threaded up properly, go ahead and pop those eyes back in! You can also sew on any other accessories at this time.

Machine Washing:

Yes, it is possible to wash plushies in the washing machine! Make sure they are on a gentle cycle with cold water. Use only a small amount of detergent – just enough to get the job done. If you want your plushie’s fur to stay fluffy, do not add fabric softener. Tumble dry low until the plushie feels slightly damp, but not *completely* dry. Once it has reached this point, take out and let air dry overnight (we’ll talk about why later).

Hand Washing:

Washing by hand with only water is also an option however there are some downsides compared to washing with soap. Plushies washed with water alone will have that essential plushie smell, but they can’t be washed as frequently as those using soap. At the same time, plushies washed with water tend to lose their fluffy appearance very quickly.

Remember, always use cold water! Washing your plushie in hot water will cause the fabric to shrink and become misshapen. Rather than risking it, stick with cold water for washing both by hand and machine washing.

Cleaning With Soap

Baby laying near dog plush toy

Washing plushies with soap is a rather simple process – but you should still follow these steps closely to make sure your plushie stays fresh! First off, never use dish soap or laundry detergent meant for humans. 

They contain harsh chemicals that will break down the fabrics of your stuffed animals over time. Instead, look into plushie soap! This is simply a special kind of soap made for washing plushies. It’s gentle on fabrics and safe to use on most types of fabric too!

To wash your plushie with plushie soap, fill your sink up with some cold water. Add in about five pumps – or more depending on how big the load is – of plushie soap. Gently mix until it has dispersed across the water. Next, add in your plushies one by one and let them soak for fifteen minutes or so. 

Once they have been soaked, wash them using your hands as much as possible. If you need to scrub them a bit harder to get stains out, go ahead! Just be sure not to rub any further than necessary, in order to keep the fabric in good condition. Finally, rinse your plushies off with cold water thoroughly. 

Then, drain the sink and fill it up one more time with clean water. Let your plushies soak for another fifteen minutes – this will help get rid of any soap residue still on them. Drain once more before taking out your plushies and letting them air dry overnight (just like when washing by hand).

Drying Your Plushie:

When you let your plushies air-dry overnight, they’ll lose most of their excess moisture naturally without affecting the fabrics inside. That means less chance of ruining our stuffed animals while they’re drying!

To make sure you have a successful wash, here are a few other tips:

  • Do not dry on heat. Plushies can very easily melt or warp if dried on heat, so don’t do it! If you have a plushie that absolutely must be dried quickly, you can let it air dry for about an hour before popping it into the dryer. This method is a bit risky though, so use it with caution.
  • Use a bag of some sort to store them in while they’re drying. This will prevent any dust from getting onto your stuffed animals – and keep curious pets from exploring as well!
  • When your stuffed animals are finally dry, check for any stains or smells. If there are none present, you can now rest easy knowing your plushies are clean and fresh again!

What You’ll Need

A Smock (optional)

Washing plushies can be easy, but it is still a good idea to put on an old t-shirt or shirt that you don’t mind getting dirty. After all, plushies are typically made of cotton and stuffing, so any messes will probably end up on your shirt instead! If you’re worried about making a mess while washing your plushies, put on an old t-shirt or smock for extra protection.

How to Wash Stuffed Animals with Soap and Water:

Sock monkey plush toy on bed

To wash stuffed animals with soap and water, start by prepping the sink. Fill the sink halfway full with warm water. Add some mild laundry soap, like Woolite or Dreft. You can also use baby shampoo if you don’t have either of those on hand.

Next, remove the plushies’ tags and any other detachable parts. For example, remove batteries from electronic plush or stuffed animals with plastic eyes. Check to see which components are safe to have submerged in the sink full of soapy water before moving forward.

Put your plushies into the sink one at a time. Let them soak for about five minutes before scrubbing them with a soft sponge or fabric-safe brush. If your plushies have stains that need extra help, apply some additional soap directly onto the stains using a toothbrush. Then let the soapy water sit on the stains for another five minutes.

For plushies without any stains, only use the soapy water for five minutes or less. If you let these plushies soak in soapy water for too long, the soap will start to break down their fibers and ruin them! After five minutes, take out your plushies and thoroughly rinse them with clean water until all of the suds are gone.

Next, squeeze excess water out of the plushie’s fur or feathers by pressing it firmly between two towels. You can also put your stuffed animals into a washing machine on a gentle cycle (without any other clothes) if you don’t want to manually wring them out like this.

Finally, line-dry your plushies in a well-ventilated area. You can also dry them in the dryer on a low setting, but make sure your stuffed animals don’t end up with any unusual creases or folds when they’re done!


After reading this blog post, you now know how to wash plushies. We hope that we’ve helped you feel better about the process and that your new knowledge helps keep those fluffy friends of yours clean! If there is anything else that you want us to cover or if something is unclear, please let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to share our blog with a friend who might be interested in learning more about washing their stuffed animals too!

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