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Even Stuffed Animals Need to Bathe

Did you have a favorite stuffed animal as a child? One you never let out of your sight, maybe even out of your grip? These best buddies get hugged, kissed, slept on, stepped on, sneezed on, stolen by jealous sisters, hidden by devious brothers, and are often companions at meal time (which means they get to sample the applesauce, pudding, and spaghetti). In short, these little guys are a furry mess. 

Stuffed animals need to bathe regularly. It’s just good hygiene. But don’t put them in the tub (although chances are good that someone under the age of 5 already has). Instead, you can wash them in your washing machine, and if you follow some simple steps, they’ll come out looking refreshed and like new. 

First, make sure you repair any ears that are falling off, sew up any holey armpits and affix any ripped tags. If you send your child’s best stuffed friend into the depths of the washing machine with minor wounds, they could come out worse than they went in. And if you were trying to sneak in this wash cycle during naptime, your child is bound to know something is up when he wakes up to a mangled teddy bear.

Remove any loose pieces and accessories that could come off during the wash cycle. Then, place Fluffy in a zippered pillowcase. If you think this is inhumane, you’ve seen Toy Story too many times. We’re talking about a toy here. It’s not looking at you with sad eyes as you bury him in the pillowcase. A stuffed animal cannot suffocate. Get a grip, zip it up and drop it in the washer along with the rest of your laundry.

Use the gentle cycle on your machine and toss in a gentle detergent and softener (try these booster pacs that combine a softener with a fresh scent—there’s no reason Fluffy can’t smell great too). 

Promptly remove your child’s BFF (best furry friend) and let him air dry, either on a clothes line or a drying rack. Avoid the dryer; this can cause the fur to matte and the toy to become misshapen.

Repeat this every two weeks for stuffed animals that see a lot of playing time. In between washing, take a few minutes to brush your child’s furry friend to remove dust and keep the fur from matting. Be gentle and don’t forget Fluffy likes to hear bedtime stories while you brush his fur.