Is your child or pet's favorite stuffed toy in need of a bath?

According to Fisher-Price, toys should be cleaned at least once a month. This is especially when you notice that they've been soiled, after a play date with other children or when your child is recovering from an illness (diarrhea/fever).

Other factors include being dusty after sitting on a shelf for too long, receiving too much love from the little owner, or if your child suffers from asthma or has allergies.

One of the biggest concerns about washing stuffed toys is that too much washing can wear off the fur on stuffed animals. We all know that the less you wash stuffed toys, the longer they'll look new, so don't give your toy a bath unless necessary.

You can't wash your stuffed toy in the washing machine if…

  • They have a music box sewn inside (for those toys that play music if you press them)
  • They are very old and fragile. 
  • They have delicate parts and items.
  • They are filled with little foam balls.
  • They are too big or firmly stuffed.

*If the toy is old and fragile, hand wash with gentle squeezing and NO wringing! Toys that have wool, rayon plush and alpaca fur are to be surface-washed only!

How to wash stuffed toys in the washing machine?

Examine the toy carefully. Is there any parts that needs to be removed first? Stitch up any rips or loose parts. Remove any batteries. 

Just like laundry, read the tag/label (if any). Lots of stuffed toys come with machine washing instructions - read them before making decisions. If it states that the toy is fully washable, go ahead and place it in a mesh laundry bag or zippered pillowcase and wash on the delicate cycle using mild detergent and cold water. (Do not use hot water!)

The mesh laundry bag or pillow case provides an extra level of protection by minimizing damage to the eyes, nose and any fragile features. If any parts fall off, they'll be caught in the mesh bag/pillowcase so you can reattach them after their bath. For smaller toys - place them into socks!

After washing, remove format the mesh bag/pillow case and hang dry outside - don't put it in the dryer! If you must use a dryer - beware that some synthetic furs can melt in high heat, so use the lowest heat settings possible.

You can hang them up on a clothesline - but keep them away from direct sunlight which can cause the color to fade!

Lastly, comb out any fur knots. Gently poof up the stuffed animal by using a blow dryer or synthetic bristle hairbrush, and you're done!

To clean a stuffed toy using baking soda (non-toxic, absorbs oils & neutralizes odors), give it a liberal dusting by rubbing baking soda and letting it sit for about 20 minutes. Use a soft brush to remove the baking soda from the fabric. 

Alternatively, place the toy in a plastic bag. Dust it with baking soda and close the bag, shaking it until the toy is coated. Let it sit for 20 minutes, remove it from the bag and brush the baking soda away.

You'll have a clean and nice smelling toy to return to your child or pet! 

If these steps are too much of a hassle for you, perhaps consider a professional's help at toy cleaning? You can even pick up the toys together with your dry cleaning! 

If all else fails and you can't salvage your child's beloved toy, perhaps you can find a new or similar one to replace it. Visit http://bit.ly/1gUVo7H for baby and children toys!