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How To Clean Stuffed Animals: Handwashing or Washing Machine

Whether you’re an adult with a collection of Mewaii stuffed animals or a mom worried about her kids, we all know that stuffed animals are very dirty and can get dirtier over time, it needs to be cleaned from time to time. We need to be careful while doing this since stuffed animals are not common toys, they can get ruined after cleaning. That’s why, today, I’m going to show you how to clean stuffed animals without ruining them.

Fortunately, there are many ways to clean stuffed animals, many of them can easily be washed in a washing machine, but others can’t, and a handwashing method is more suitable. Knowing how to dry them properly is important too, that way your kawaii plushies don’t get moldy or start smelling bad.

dirt bear plush toy in pavement

How To Clean Stuffed Animals Without Ruining Them

There are a few different approaches you can take to cleaning stuffed animals.

  • The first is to use a damp cloth or paper towel. You can use this to wipe off any dust or dirt that might be on the surface of the long cat plush.
  • You can also take a vacuum cleaner and run it over the animal to suck up any dirt or dust that might be on its surface.
  • The last option is to put all the kawaii stuffed animals in the washing machine, with a gentle cycle, and then air dries it.

Machine Washing

Most stuffed animals can be cleaned using a washing machine, but others, especially those stuffed with fur or the ones that have electronic parts or things attached with glue you don’t want to remove, need to be washed by hand. Alternatively, you can select a cool, gentle wash and use products from somewhere like The Laundress designed especially for delicate items.

After you have decided whether it can be put into the washing machine, you should put your stuffed animal in a mesh bag for laundry to protect it from friction (you can use a pillowcase and tie a knot on the top).

Put cold water and choose the delicate cycle, you can use your usual detergent. You can run a second rinse to get rid of all the suds.

Note: Some of the stuffed animals will have a label with washing instructions you must follow.

Before Washing

If your stuffed animal has fur, make sure you brush it before washing it. You should also brush the stuffing inside of it before washing it. Finally, if your stuffed animal has any plastic parts or pieces on it (like eyes), then remove those before washing the toy.

After Washing

Lay it flat on a towel or other absorbent material. Then cover it with another towel and leave it for at least 12 hours to dry out completely before using it again.

purple blue and white push toy after cleaning it
Source: Unsplash

Washing by Hand

The easiest method to clean a stuffed animal is washing it by hand, since you can choose to spot-clean it. But, you must be wondering how you know if your stuffed animal needs to be hand washed instead of the washing machine.

When should you choose handwashing over machine washing:

  • The fabric of the toy can be damaged in the machine
  • Have things like eyes, beads, or sequin that are attached with glue (and you don’t want to remove it)
  • It has electronic parts that can’t be easily removed, like lights or a music box.

After you have decided if your stuffed animal can be hand washed. Find a bucket and fill it halfway with cold water, add some spoons of detergent (your usual laundry detergent) and mix it.

Soak your stuffed animal and wash it, and rub it with your fingers gently and carefully. Try to softly squeeze the water out without wringing it.

Turn on the tap water and continue, rubbing and washing gently to get rid of the detergent under the running water.

Spot Cleaning

If you don’t want to soak your stuffed animal, you can clean it this way. You can start using a vacuum to clean it and then add your usual detergent to a cup of cold water, and use the corner of a towel or a rug to softly clean the surface. Use another side o the towel or a new one and with plain water clean the soap away. After you have finished, let the stuffed animal air dry.

Tip: If your stuffed animal smells bad, you can use a deodorant to make it smell better, spray it from a recommended distance a couple of times and let it dry.

How to Dry Wet Stuffed Animals

You can put many of those stuffed animals in the dryer, but I Highly recommend you let them air-dry or line-dry. You can speed up the dry part by wrapping the toy in a towel and softly pressing it. Repeat the process as you please and let it air dry for at least 12h.

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