How to Wash Stuffed Animals - A Complete Guide


According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, dust mites, mold and pet hair can get trapped in the fur of stuffed animals and be a real nightmare for anyone with allergies or asthma. Here's how to wash stuffed animals. 

Every kid has that one stuffed animal that they won’t let leave their sight. Maybe it's a bear, a dog, a chimpanzee, a frog! (Hey, we’re rhyming!) It travels with you on vacations, trips to family member’s houses, perhaps even to school from time to time. And it’s not just kids who consider their stuffed toys precious. Even into adulthood these plushy companions can continue to provide comfort and hold sentimentality for us. So of course it’s common to be nervous about giving it a wash.

However, according to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, dust mites, mold and pet hair can get trapped in the fur of stuffed animals and be a real nightmare for anyone with allergies or asthma. But do you know how to wash stuffed animals? Don’t worry–we have the information you need to snuggle your stuffed companion worry free.

Can You Wash Stuffed Animals?

Even a stuffed animal can appreciate a regular bath! Most stuffed animals can (and should) be washed. While your favorite plush toy may not need to bathe as often as you do, a regular wash can help prevent stains, mold, and dust mites. Not sure how to wash stuffed animals without ruining them? It’s easier than you may think! Be sure to consult the stuffed animal’s care label before washing to see if the manufacturer has advised against washing or provided specific care instructions.

How to Wash Stuffed Animals

The best way to clean a stuffed animal depends on how the plush toy is constructed. Before deciding how to clean a stuffed animal, it’s important to consider how well made, delicate, or detailed the toy is. Many simple toys without a lot of adornment can be washed in the washing machine. If the stuffed animal is older and well loved with delicate seams, or contains fancy detailing and embellishment such as sequins, hand washing may be the way to go. When in doubt, wash by hand to prevent any heartbreak!

How to Wash Stuffed Animals in the Washing Machine:

  1. Select the gentlest cycle available on your washing machine. This will help keep the fur on your animal safe, as well as avoid color bleeding for your more vibrant stuffed animals!
  2. Put your little friend in a mesh bag or a pillowcase with the ends tied to protect it. (Padding the drum of the washer with towels is another way to add a layer of protection.)

  3. Wash in cold water using a mild detergent like our Unscented Sensitive Skin pods. If the animal is particularly dirty, try a detergent containing enzymes, like our Stain & Odor Laundry Pods.

  4. If disinfecting is a concern, use warm water and add an Oxi Booster Pod.

  5. Allow the stuffed animal to air dry.. You can also use a hair dryer turned on low- or medium-heat to help to fluff up fur once the toy has reached the just-damp stage (like a finishing touch or a blow out at the salon!)

Hand Washing Stuffed Animals

  1. Fill a sink or basin with warm water and 2 pumps of Ultra Concentrated Detergent.
  2. If disinfecting is a concern, add an Oxi Booster Pod. Allow a few minutes for the pod to fully dissolve.

  3. Submerge the plush toy in the water using a pumping motion, so that it becomes saturated with the detergent solution.

  4. Let it rest in the water for a generous soak for 15 minutes to an hour, depending on how dirty it is. Feel free to agitate it from time to time to help to release any lingering dirt.

  5. Drain the sink and press down gently on your plush toy to extrude as much water as possible.

  6. Transfer it to a clean towel and roll it up, pressing again to extract more water.

  7. Lay the item on the towel to air dry. After the item is mostly dry, you can use a hair dryer to fluff the fibers back up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have questions about washing stuffed animals? We have answers!

Can you put a stuffed animal in the dryer?

Consult the stuffed animal’s care label to see if you are able to put it in the dryer. Many newer stuffed animals are able to be machine dried. When in doubt, we recommend allowing a stuffed animal to air dry and gently fluffing its fur with a hair dryer. This will prevent any damage or shrinking.

Should stuffed animals be washed?

It is important to clean stuffed animals, for both your health and the longevity of the toy. While full washing is the best way to make sure your stuffed animal is clean, you can also try spot cleaning, or even freezing the stuffed animal for 24 hours to kill off dust mites and zap germs,

How do you clean a stuffed animal without ruining stuffing?

Cleaning a stuffed animal should not ruin the stuffing. To prevent mold growth, make sure the stuffed animal fully dries after washing. If the item has holes in the seams or you are concerned the stuffing may fall out, we recommend gently hand washing or spot cleaning the item rather than washing it in the machine.

Can you wash a stuffed animal with stuffing still in?

Yes, you can absolutely wash a stuffed animal with stuffing in it! As long as the stuffing is able to completely dry, your fresh and clean stuffed animal should be as good as new.