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How to clean a stuffed animal

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teddy bear drying
Stuffed animals do best when they air dry
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Knowing how to clean a stuffed animal can prevent an upset child

A child's stuffed animal is often his best friend and is usually with him wherever he goes. As a result, these toys become dirty and can even carry germs which can make him and those around him sick.

When you know how to clean a stuffed animal, however, you can keep your child happy and prevent illness from spreading.

Is it Washer Worthy?

Tossing your child's toy in the washing machine is perhaps the easiest way to get the fabric clean. Unfortunately, not every toy is suitable for the washer. Those that feature glued-on items, such as sequins, will typically become damaged if placed in the machine. However, glued-on eyes will likely tolerate the process.





Additionally, if the toy is old and fragile; features any mechanical parts, including music boxes; has small foam balls inside or wears delicate clothing, the washing machine is off limits.

If the toy is a simple, plush stuffed animal, it will likely do well in the washing machine.

Using a Washing Machine

No matter how sturdy your child's toy is, you can't simply throw it inside the washing machine. First, you'll need to examine it and remove any items that aren't washable, such as clothing or bandanas, then place the toy in a mesh bag. These bags are often used for holding lingerie and other delicate items when being washed. They will offer some protection to the toy when it is in the machine.

Additionally, try to use a washing machine that doesn't contain an agitator. Although this is not a necessity, it probably won't be as rough on the toy as a washer that features an agitator is. Laundromats typically feature these types of washers.

Set your machine to the "delicate" or "gentle" cycle. Anything higher than that may damage the toy. Place a mild laundry detergent inside the machine and allow it to begin washing.

Hand Washing

If the toy isn't a good candidate for the washing machine, you can hand wash the item instead. Fill your sink or tub with warm water and place a small amount of mild laundry detergent in the water.

If the toy only has a few dirty areas, dip your washcloth into the water and rub the spots until they are gone. Go back over them with a cloth that has been dipped into soap-less water and remove any residual detergent that is left on the toy.

If the toy has been handled by a sick child or has many soiled areas, you can dip the item inside the water and give it a gentle scrub. Rubbing the areas with your hands or fingers is often enough to remove the debris or germs. It may take several dips into the water before the job is completely done. Once it is, rinse the toy under a gentle stream of water to remove any soap that is left behind.

Drying

Even if the toy handled the washing machine with ease, it may not have the same type of luck in the dryer, which is why air-drying is usually the best route. Simply hang the toy from a hanger that features a clamp over an area that can tolerate water drips, such as the tub.

You could also hang the toy on drip dry hangers, which feature clothespins that grab onto toys and allow them to dry. Leave the toy here until it is completely dry. You may be able to speed up the process by squeezing the toy to remove some of the excess liquid.

Knowing how to clean a stuffed animal is essential for just about any parent. When you return the washed toy to your child the reunion will be reward in itself.

Resources:

Mama's Laundry Talk: How to Wash Stuffed Animals

The StuffedZoo.com: Cleaning Stuffed Animals Made Easy

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