Guide to Cleaning Stuffed Animals

How to wash plushies

  Reading time 5 minutes

Washing plushies might seem daunting, but it’s actually quite simple. In this article, we’ll navigate you through the process of keeping your cuddly friends clean and fresh. Proper care ensures that your plushies remain fluffy, safe, and in great condition for years to come.

Gather Necessary Supplies

Before diving into the washing process, gather the supplies you’ll need. Having everything ready can streamline the process and make it more efficient.

Typically, you’ll need:

  • A mild detergent
  • A small basin or sink
  • A soft brush or cloth
  • A towel for drying
  • Plastic bags (for plushies with electronic components)

Ensuring you have all these items at hand makes the washing process smoother and helps you avoid any mid-task pauses.

Prepare Your Plushie

Preparing your plushie correctly is a crucial step to ensure it’s cleaned properly without suffering any damage. Before washing, examine the plushie for any rips or tears.

Steps to prepare your plushie:

  1. Check the care label on the plushie for any specific washing instructions.
  2. If there are electronics inside, remove or protect them with a sealed plastic bag.
  3. Brush off any loose dirt or debris using a soft brush or cloth.
  4. Secure any parts that could get damaged or tangle, like ribbons or hair.

Proper preparation helps in cleaning efficiently while safeguarding the plushie’s integrity.

Hand Washing Method

Hand washing is often the safest method, especially for older or delicate plushies. This method allows for gentle washing and close attention to any problematic areas.

To hand wash your plushie:

  1. Fill a basin with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent.
  2. Submerge the plushie and gently scrub it using your hands or a soft cloth.
  3. Concentrate on any heavily soiled areas with a gentle scrubbing motion.
  4. Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue.
  5. Gently squeeze out excess water without wringing or twisting the plushie.

Hand washing ensures that the plushie is cleaned with minimal risk of damage, maintaining its softness and shape.

Machine Washing Method

If the plushie is sturdy and the care instructions permit, machine washing can be an effective method. However, precautions are necessary to prevent any potential damage.

Steps for machine washing:

  1. Place the plushie in a mesh laundry bag to protect it during the wash cycle.
  2. Use the gentle cycle on your washing machine with cold or lukewarm water.
  3. Opt for a mild detergent to avoid harsh chemicals that could damage the plushie.
  4. Avoid using fabric softeners or bleach.
  5. Once the cycle is complete, remove the plushie promptly to reshape it if necessary.

Machine washing can save time and effort but always ensuring the plushie can handle it without being compromised.

Steps for Washing Plush Toys

Drying Your Plushie

Properly drying your plushie is just as important as washing it to maintain its form and texture. There are several methods to dry plushies effectively.

Follow these drying steps:

  1. Lay the plushie on a towel and roll it up to absorb as much water as possible.
  2. Place the plushie on a dry towel in a well-ventilated area, flipping it periodically to ensure even drying.
  3. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can fade colors and damage the fabric.
  4. You may use a hairdryer on a low setting or a fan to speed up the drying process.
  5. Once dry, fluff the plushie by gently massaging it or using a soft brush.

Maintaining correct drying techniques helps preserve the plushie’s softness and shape, prolonging its lifespan.


Washing plushies might initially seem complex, but with the right steps and care, it becomes straightforward. Whether you choose to hand wash or machine wash, always ensure you follow proper methods to keep your plushies in pristine condition. Proper drying techniques are also vital in maintaining their original texture and appearance. By following this guide, you can cherish your cuddly friends for years to come, ensuring they’re always clean and huggable.


1. Can I use bleach to clean my plushies?

No, bleach can damage the fabric and colors of plushies. It’s best to use a mild detergent.

2. Can I put my plushie in the dryer?

It’s generally not recommended as the heat can deform or damage the plushie. Air drying is the safer option.

3. How often should I wash my plushie?

It depends on usage and exposure to dirt. Generally, washing every few months is sufficient unless the plushie gets visibly dirty.

4. What do I do if my plushie has a mechanical component?

Remove the component if possible, or protect it by placing the plushie in a sealed plastic bag before washing.

5. Can I use fabric softener on my plushies?

No, fabric softener can leave residues that might affect the plushie’s texture and safety, especially for children.