When your kids are at a certain age, it’s hard to tear them away from their stuffed animals. The problem with that, however, is the fact that these stuffed toys collect dirt and bacteria rather quickly owing the sheer amount of ‘playtime’ they have with your kids. Hence, cleaning these toys is important for your child’s health and promotes good hygiene.
To clean and sanitize germy stuffed animals, the method will depend on their levels of delicateness. Sturdy stuffed toys are easier to clean while very delicate ones will need special attention. Nevertheless, we’ve got them all covered in three various methods to clean dirty stuffed animals.
Sturdy Toys – Machine Wash > Throw in Dryer
Stuffed toys generally have cleaning instructions written on their labels or the box they came in. While many are machine-washable and can be put in the dryer, others may lose their shape or the material might get damaged. If there are no instructions or the label is missing, it’s best you wash the toy by hand. When washing stuffed animals in the machine, always use a delicate cycle regardless of their level of sturdiness. Using excess fabric softeners is advised to help retain the plush feel of the toys. Avoid overloading your machine with stuffed toys as they may not get cleaned efficiently. Tumble dry them on the lowest setting and use a lot of dryer sheets so that the fibers don’t become static.
Semi-Sturdy Toys – Use a ‘Delicates’ Bag
If the stuffed toys aren’t as sturdy as other machine-washable toys, they should not be thrown in the washer without a bag like the ones used to wash your delicates. These bags will protect the plastic bits on the toy (the eyes and nose); as well as the fibers and material. Be sure to use cold water and a delicate cycle for semi-sturdy stuffed toys. To dry, we suggest putting them in a dry cleaning bag to keep them safe as they are tumble dried on the lowest setting. Avoid placing too many stuffed toys in one bag; not more than half the bag should be filled up with this cleaning method to work efficiently.
Delicate Toys – Air Vacuum > Brush > Sanitize > Freshen Up
While some delicate stuffed toys can be washed by hand, others cannot be cleaned with water at all because of the risk of damaging the toy. Here’s an effective method for cleaning such toys:
- Place the dirty, dusty stuffed animal into a clean garbage bag
- Use the hose of your vacuum cleaner and place it at the opening of the bag
- Close the bag around the mouth of the vacuum cleaner hose and put a rubber band around it to hold it in place
- Turn on the vacuum and let it run for about a minute
- Take the toy out and gently brush it using a soft-bristled brush to remove leftover dirt/dust
To sanitize and freshen it up, spray the toy with diluted white vinegar; just enough to slightly dampen the toy and allow it to dry completely; then sprinkle baking soda over it and brush it off after 10-15 minutes.