Whether your kids or pets are doing the playing, cleaning stuffed animals can be done right in your washing machine or by hand. Follow the simple steps below to keep beloved stuffed animals clean and fresh.

What to know before washing stuffed animals
How to clean stuffed animals in the washer
How to wash a stuffed animal by hand

What to know before washing stuffed animals

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Check for a care tag
If your stuffed animal has care instructions on the tag, use those instructions to help you decide whether to use the washing machine, hand wash or only spot-treat stains.

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Color test the fabric
Make sure stuffed animals will stand up to cleaning by rubbing a small amount of diluted detergent on a less visible part of the fabric. If any color comes away, use only water to clean it.

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Decide when to wash
It’s always good to wash stuffed animals after your child has been sick or weekly if they sleep with them. Otherwise, wash as needed, particularly when the stuffed animals start to look dirty or smell.

Cleaning tip: Stuffed animals with built-in battery packs, mechanical parts or metal should only be spot cleaned, as water may cause damage.

Clean laundry basket with a stuffed animal

How to clean stuffed animals in the washer

Most stuffed animals can be washed in the washing machine, but we’ll also share how and when to hand-wash them. First, we’ll walk through how to wash stuffed animals in the washer, making it easy to do as often as needed.

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Step 1: Protect the stuffed animal 
Place the stuffed animal in a mesh laundry bag, zippered pillowcase or pillowcase with the ends tied for added protection against wear and tear.

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Step 2: Choose gentle wash settings
We recommend using the Delicate, Hand Wash or Gentle cycle setting on your washing machine, along with cold water to help keep colors from fading. Learn more about choosing wash cycles and settings.

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Step 3: Add detergent
Feel free to use your regular detergent when washing stuffed animals, or a mild detergent if you have it on hand.

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Step 4: Air dry
Take the stuffed animals out of the mesh bag or pillowcase and hang or lay them flat to dry.

How to wash a stuffed animal by hand

Older or more fragile stuffed animals may need a lighter touch and can be washed gently by hand using the following simple steps.

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Step 1: Soak in cold water
Fill a bucket or sink with enough cold water to submerge the stuffed animal.

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Step 2: Add detergent
Add a small amount of mild or gentle detergent to the water.

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Step 3: Hand wash
Gently squeeze the stuffed animal to saturate it with detergent. Don’t scrub too hard since older stuffed animals may have loose strings or worn fabric.

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Step 4: Rinse
Refill the bucket or sink with clean, cold water or hold the stuffed animal under cold running water and squeeze it gently to rinse out the detergent, avoiding wringing.

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Step 5: Air dry
You’ll definitely want to air dry an older or more fragile stuffed animal, but to help remove moisture, you can roll it in a clean, dry towel first.

More laundry cleaning tips

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How to sort and separate laundry

Why is sorting laundry so important?

Clothes inside a washing machine

How to choose laundry cycles

Do you know which settings you should be using to wash and dry your family’s clothes? Find answers to all your questions.

Colorful load of laundry in a washing machine

How to wash white, dark and colored clothes

Hooray for laundry day! Everyone loves clean clothes, which is why it’s important to know how to care for your family’s favorite outfits.

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