A teddy bear with a red bow tie sat in a white plastic laundry basket.

How to wash soft Toys: Tips on keeping your child's furry best friend fresh & clean

It’s lovely when kids want to take their favourite toy everywhere, but these little adventures can mean those plushies get dirty pretty quickly. Whether it’s night-time drool from sleepovers or sticky jam from sharing their breakfast, it’s a good idea to clean soft toys and teddies every now and then to keep them fresh and germ-free.

The trouble is that it can be difficult to know how to clean soft toys without damaging them, and with teddy or dolly often being a child’s most prized possession, there’s definitely a lot on the line. That’s why we’re here to help you get rid of stains, smells, and germs from plush toys – and keep them in one piece, too! So whether it’s washing stuffed animals like dinosaurs, cleaning teddy bears, or freshening up dolls, there’s nothing to worry about. Below are some essential tips to help you effectively clean soft toys.  

 

How to wash stuffed toys

  How to wash plush toys really depends on the type of toy you’re dealing with. Not only in terms of material, but also in terms of the toy’s features, and even its age. Here’s a step-by-step guide to washing soft toys and getting them clean and fresh once more:

  • Decide how to wash soft toys

First, check the care label to see if there is any washing advice, and then check out the toy to see if it could withstand a machine wash. Give it a good feel to see if there’s any stiffeners inside, like plastic to hold a giraffe neck up, which could become damaged in the machine. Hand washing stuffed animals might be better for more intricate and detailed toys.  

  • Prepare for cleaning soft toys

What would your child say if their favourite soft toy came out of the wash missing an arm? It’s not worth finding out! Before cleaning soft toys by hand, or machine washing, give the toy a quick once over to look for any loose stitches or areas of damage. If you can, fix any damaged areas with a needle and thread before washing to reduce the risk of damage.  

  • Protect while washing soft toys

If a toy is old, or if it has detailing like embellished clothing or button eyes, make sure to protect it as best you can if you’re washing stuffed animals in a washing machine. An empty pillowcase is great for this. Simply pop the toy in the pillowcase and secure with safety pins if you need to. The pillowcase will also help protect the toy’s material from getting snagged in the drum.  

  • Choose the right detergent

When picking a detergent for washing soft toys, think about the toy and your child, too. Plush toys don’t need a very strong detergent, and if your children are very little, it’s best to use a non-bio detergent, like Persil Non-Bio which is gentle on delicate baby skin. If cleaning soft toys by hand, rinse well to remove any traces of detergent residue.  

  • Use the best settings to clean soft toys

A lot of busy mums and dads want to know how to wash soft toys in the washing machine, and the answer is to make sure you’re using the best settings. Wash at a lower temperature than what you’d normally wash clothes at because higher heats can melt any glues in the toys and cause them to fall apart (it’s the same for the tumble dryer, too, so dry naturally).  

 

Washing Soft Toys Regularly

Now that you know how to clean soft toys easily, it’s a good idea to add ‘washing soft toys’ to your regular cleaning schedule. You might find it’s convenient to clean soft toys when you wash your child’s bedding, but don’t be afraid to step in at any time, especially if a toy becomes particularly dirty.

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