Toy Corner

How to Clean Your Plush Toys

May 29, 2024

woman washing and cleaning her plush toys

Cleaning plush toys is essential not only for hygiene but also for individuals in the home who suffer from allergies or asthma. Regular cleaning can make a significant difference. Ideally, stuffed animals should be cleaned weekly if children sleep with them or frequently carry them around. At a minimum, aim for a monthly cleaning. In cases of illness or lice, disinfect these toys immediately.

Pre-Cleaning Considerations

Assessing your plush toys' pre-cleaning needs is crucial to prevent damage and ensure a thorough clean.

Determine the Material and Cleaning Instructions

First, identify the material of your plush toy. Plush toys can be made from synthetic fibres, cotton, or a mix of materials. Check for a care label. If the toy has a tag, read it carefully for specific cleaning instructions. Some plush toys are machine washable, while others require hand washing or should not get wet at all.

Second, remove any loose parts or batteries. If your teddy bear has removable accessories or components, like detachable clothing or electronic parts, take these off before cleaning. Electrical components especially need to stay dry, so if the toy contains any, disconnect and remove battery packs. Secure electrical sections with tape to avoid damage from moisture.

Spot Cleaning Techniques for Plush Toys

When spot cleaning it is essential to use the right detergent as we are looking to avoid damaging the plush toy. The best cleansers that can be used are mild soap or baby shampoo. If you want to try any other detergent it is advised to use it on a small area of the plush toy to see how it affects it.

Gently remove stains by using a soft cloth or brush dipped in the cleaning solution. Target dirty areas specifically, working in small sections. If your plush toy has fur, use a soft-bristled brush to avoid tangling or pulling out fibres. After applying the cleaning agent, lightly blot with a clean, damp cloth to remove any residue. Ensure the toy dries completely by air drying, preferably in a warm, well-ventilated area.

Machine Washing Plush Toys

Machine washing can be convenient when it comes to keeping your plush characters clean and fresh. It ensures a thorough, consistent wash, particularly for sturdy toys. However, taking the right steps is crucial to avoid damaging your cherished items.

Materials Needed

Gather these essentials before you start:

  • Mild laundry detergent

  • A laundry bag or pillowcase

  • Towels

  • A soft brush

Step-by-Step Guide to Safely Machine Wash

1. Check the Labels: Always examine the care label on your plush toy. Some toys may have specific washing instructions or restrictions, such as avoiding warm temperatures or high spin cycles.

2. Prepare the Toy: Remove any detachable parts or accessories, like clothing or batteries. Place the toy inside a laundry bag or pillowcase, securing it with a knot or zip tie to keep it safe during the wash.

3. Select the Right Detergent: As mentioned previously, use a mild laundry detergent.

4. Choosing the Correct Settings: Use cold water and set your machine to a delicate cycle.

5. Add Towels: To balance the load and reduce harsh movements, toss a few towels in the washer along with the plush toy. This step helps cushion the toy and prevents it from being thrown around too much during the cycle.

6. Monitor the Wash: If possible, keep an eye on the washing process. If the toy starts looking distressed, you might want to stop the cycle early.

Drying After Machine Washing

Proper drying is essential to maintain the shape and prevent mould from growing. Follow these tips:

1. Remove Excess Water: After the wash ends, gently squeeze out excess water without wringing the toy. Wringing can distort the shape and damage the fabric.

2. Air Dry: Place the toy out in the sun by laying it out on a towel, also make sure that the area is well-ventilated.

3. Fluff the Fur: To help restore its original appearance, use your fingers to fluff the fur, this needs to be done gently in order to not damage the plush toy.

Hand Washing Techniques for Delicate Toys

Some of the more delicate plush toys will need hand washing to keep them in excellent condition, the steps we recommend to do this are down below.

Gather Your Materials

For an effective hand wash, gather:

  • Mild detergent (like baby shampoo or gentle laundry detergent)

  • Large bowl or sink

  • A toothbrush or any brush that has a soft bristle

  • White towels

The Washing Process

Start by spot-cleaning obvious stains first. Dip the soft brush in a mixture of water and mild detergent. Gently scrub the stains until they begin to lift. For a thorough clean:

  1. Fill the bowl or sink with lukewarm water.

  2. Add a small amount of mild detergent.

  3. Submerge the plush toy. Ensure it soaks evenly.

  4. Gently squeeze the toy to work the water and soap through the fabric, avoiding wringing to prevent stretching or damage.

  5. Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove all soap residue.

  6. Dry the toy by placing it on a white towel. Roll the towel with the toy inside to remove excess water carefully.

Dry Cleaning Methods at Home

Required Supplies

  1. Baking Soda: Acts as a deodoriser and gentle abrasive.

  2. Plastic Bag: Contains the baking soda and toy during the cleaning process.

  3. Vacuum Cleaner: Equipped with an upholstery brush for safe dirt removal.

  4. Lemon Slice: Useful for spot cleaning and removing stains.

  5. Microfiber Cloth: Ideal for wiping and dusting.

  6. Upholstery Brush: Helps in brushing off dirt and baking soda residue.

Below is a step by step guide that you can follow at home:

  1. Prepare the Bag: Pour ½ cup of baking soda into a plastic garbage bag. For larger toys, add a bit more baking soda to ensure coverage.

  2. Add the Plush Toy: Place your toy inside the bag. Ensure it rests comfortably at the bottom. Squeeze out most of the air, leaving a small space for movement.

  3. Secure the Bag: Twist the top of the bag and hold it tight. Shake the bag gently; it’s imperative to do this step with care to avoid damaging the toy. Shake for 2 minutes or until the toy is well-coated with baking soda.

  4. Let It Sit: After shaking, put the bag down and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. This sitting time helps the baking soda to deodorise the toy and lift away any dirt or grime.

  5. Remove the Toy and Clean: Take the toy out of the bag. Use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery brush attachment to carefully remove the baking soda. Alternatively, a soft-bristled brush can help eliminate any residues.

  6. Spot Cleaning: For persistent stains, take a lemon slice and gently rub the affected area. Wipe with a microfiber cloth to lift the stain further if needed.

  7. Final Touch: Once the toy looks clean, use the microfiber cloth for a final wipe down. This ensures any remaining particles are removed and the plush looks its best.

Regularly practising these dry cleaning methods helps maintain the appearance and hygiene of your plush toys without the risk of water damage. Proper care keeps them in top condition, ensuring they remain a pleasant and cherished part of your collection.

Maintaining Plush Toys Between Washes

Plush toys need regular upkeep to stay in top condition. This section covers practical ways to maintain plush toys between washes for lasting cleanliness.

Dust and dirt can settle on plush toys over time. To combat this, routine dusting is essential. Use a soft nylon brush to sweep away loose dirt. Aim to do this once a week to prevent build-up.

Stains can be a real nuisance for plush toy owners. But with some preventive measures, you can keep them at bay. First, keep plush toys away from food and drink. If spills happen, act quickly. Blot the area with a clean cloth to absorb as much liquid as possible. For oily stains, sprinkle baking soda on the affected area and let it sit for 15 minutes before brushing it off. This helps absorb the oil without damaging the toy. If a stain does set, spot clean with a lemon slice and a microfiber cloth, as highlighted in earlier sections. This simple method ensures your plush toys stay clean and stain-free with minimal effort.

Following all these steps will ensure that your plush toys will stay clean for your children and ensuring that it does not hold to any germs or bacteria, if you are looking for a new plush toy, then take a look at our collection, as we have a wide range from Steiff.