A favorite stuffed animal is with a child through thick and thin, often displaying its special relationship with dust, stains, and germs. But how to clean stuffed animals in the washing machine without them sustaining damage or looking different? We’ll show you how to clean stuffed animals in the washer by using the correct washer cycle, supplies, and drying method.

Your Guide for How to Clean Stuffed Animals in the Washer

The thought of washing a stuffed animal is often just as scary for a parent as it is for a child. No one wants to damage this special friend but a good cleaning is often needed after travel or illness and can reduce allergies. Dependable Repair Services‘ easy steps for how to clean stuffed animals in the washer will put a parent at ease and keep this trusted companion looking his or her best.

Step #1: Make Sure the Stuffed Animal is Machine Washable

The first step in knowing how to wash stuffed animals is confirming that their outer material and stuffing can be machine-washed. Check the label for washing instructions. If machine washing isn’t advised, it may tell you how to hand wash stuffed animals safely. These are other instances where you should avoid putting a stuffed animal in the washer:

  • There is a music box or electronics permanently sewn inside
  • The item is very fragile or old
  • There are glued-on decorations (other than eyes)
  • The item has delicate clothing or decorations that can’t be removed
  • The stuffing is a material other than batting (i.e. foam balls)

In addition, we suggest washing stuffed animals in a washer without an agitator. This component can clump batting and ball up the stuffed animal.

Step #2: Secure Loose Parts

Before washing, examine the stuffed animal for tears and remove any loose clothing or decorations. Stitch up any tears or rips, taking care to snip loose threads that can snag in the washer.

Step #3: Place the Stuffed Animal in a Mesh Laundry Bag

Though this may seem like an extra step, using a mesh laundry bag reduces the risk of damage from tumbling or snagging. This is especially helpful when you wash old stuffed animals or those with delicate materials. These mesh washing machine bags come in different sizes, enabling you to even wash large stuffed animals safely and easily.

how to clean stuffed animals in the washer

Photo Credit: Mama’s Laundry Talk

Step #4: Select Your Wash Cycle

How to clean stuffed animals in the washer also involves knowing the right settings and detergent amounts. Here’s how to avoid washer damage and still give a stuffed animal the cleaning it needs:

  • Use a small amount of detergent and wash the stuffed animal separately from other items. Depending on the size of the stuffed animal, a teaspoon may be all that’s needed
  • If your washer doesn’t have a detergent dispenser, add it to the washer’s running water before adding the stuffed animal
  • Set the washer on a delicate or gentle cycle with cold or warm water to avoid damage from excessive tumbling or hotter temperatures

Step #5: Dry the Stuffed Animal Properly

After washing, remove the stuffed animal from its mesh bag and gently reshape with your fingers to redistribute any clumped stuffing. We suggest air-drying stuffed animals to avoid any risk of heat damage. Hang the stuffed animal with a clamp hanger and allow to air dry completely. If the stuffed animal could use some extra fluffing after drying, place it in the dryer on a no-heat setting for ten minutes.

how to clean stuffed animals in the washing machine