Many parents struggle to find an answer to the question of – how to wash stuffed animals. It’s pretty clear why they should be washed, but it’s not easy to find the best way to clean your kid’s stuffed animals while making sure your child’s wellbeing isn’t being jeopardized through exposure to toxic chemicals and aggressive washing agents.
Instead of diving right into the matter, take a moment and check out some of the points we’ve made in this article. These tips and tricks should give you a better insight into the do’s and don’ts of washing stuffed animals, and thus should minimize the risks your child would otherwise be exposed to.
The short answer to this question is – Yes, you can. However, there are a couple of caveats and conditions that must be met before you can safely wash a stuffed toy. In other words, you can’t just toss a toy into the washing machine, choose an arbitrary cycle, and get it over with. Instead, make sure to follow a set of simple rules:
Now that we’ve established what NOT to do, it’s time to find an answer to the questions of how to wash stuffed animals the proper way.
The vast majority of stuffed toys are safe to wash in a washing machine. However, you should take steps in order to minimize the potential damage by choosing the right cycles and detergents. It’s always a good idea to use mild detergents in lieu of stronger ones as they can cause discoloration and other predicaments.
Here are a couple of steps you should follow if you decide to use a washing machine:
Before you put the toy into the washing machine, you should always read the tag. It usually contains useful information in regards to washing, and it helps a lot when it comes to choosing the right cycle and temperatures.
Some people recommend weighing a toy before cleaning it, and it’s for a good reason. Even though it seems pretty redundant, weighing a toy allows you to evaluate its level of dryness after washing. Many people oversee this particular step and consequently end up with moldy and even rotten toys. Always make sure the toy is completely dry before you let your kid play with it.
If you’re struggling to find a mild detergent, go for eco-friendly brands. After washing, air-dry the toy in a ventilated environment. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight as it can cause color fading.
As you can assume, the alternative to the abovementioned method is – washing by hand. In fact, it’s somewhat of a more recommended method than machine washing due to several reasons, mainly because it doesn’t expose the toy to as much potential damage. Washing by hand is also considered a bit safer than machine washing as you have complete control over the process rather than relying on the quality of your machine.
Here are the steps you should take when hand washing a toy:
The first step is pretty straightforward – all you have to do is check for parts that might get damaged if submerged under water. This includes electronic components and sometimes small parts made of (usually) wood that can be found in some toys (wood is used for structural integrity).
Submerging the toy is also pretty simple. The vital part of this particular step you should remember is to use cold water. Submerge the toy and squeeze it, and subsequently lift the toy and squeeze the water out again. Repeat this process for a few times to get rid of surface grime.
While adding the detergent might seem like a simple process, you should be careful of what kind of washing agent you’re using. For example, you should always avoid particularly aggressive agents, and those that contain bleach or large amounts of chlorine. Some people decide to use bleach for disinfecting purposes, but that too comes with a few caveats.
Scrubbing and squeezing can also be done with the help of some improvised tools like a toothbrush or a conventional hard-bristled brush. With that being said, it’s always better to use softer brushes to prevent potential damage.
As we’ve mentioned, the vast majority of stuffed toys are machine washable. However, there are some instances in which one cannot clean a toy in the washing machine due to a particular reason (usually because the toy is old and fragile). In case you stumble upon a similar situation, it might be a good idea to resort to extra-gentle cleaning rather than risking it all with a machine.
Here are the steps for optimal extra-delicate cleaning:
The most important thing about this particular method is to stay patient and persistent. The other two aforementioned methods are usually easier to utilize but can be detrimental for the toy, whereas extra-delicate cleaning can’t.
When drying toys, do not use a hair drier, tumble drying, or any drying cycle for that matter. This can cause damage to the toy and jeopardize its overall integrity as well as aesthetic appeal, especially if old and fragile toys are in question. On top of that, avoid drying the toys in direct sunlight as it can cause discoloration.
Always air dry washed toys.
Another important thing you should pay attention to is the strength of the detergent you’re using. As we’ve pointed out, you should always use mild washing agents in order to preserve both the aesthetic appeal of the toy and your child’s health. Using bleach and chlorine can be a dangerous game if you don’t know what you’re doing.
As you can tell, there are quite a few useful methods you can use to wash your child’s stuffed toys. However, it’s important to get familiar with these processes, so that you can expect the best results each time you decide to wash your kid’s toys.
Remember to pay attention to cleaning agents you’re using, the overall condition of the toy before you decide to wash it, and most importantly – keep your kids safe from dirt, mold, and other nasty stuff that’s lurking in their furry friends.