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If your children have a collection of stuffed toys and stuffed animals, you should consider cleaning them once in a while. They collect dirt, germs, bacteria and other whatnots throughout the years they are playing with it. And considering how fast germs and bacteria breed, you should be worried that your child might be playing with something potentially hazardous.
Most of the toys manufactured today can be machine-washed. However, check the toy for some cleaning instructions. If it says dry clean only, you should follow it and have it dry cleaned. Some parents just spot clean the toys. And just vacuum it to remove dust. However, I find washing machines more efficient in cleaning thoroughly. If the toy is battery operated, do not even consider washing it. The following steps are only for the toys that are made from fabric and washable fur.
Step 1: If the toy has some stains on it, treat the stains first before dumping it in the washer. You can try using a mild detergent that can get rid of stains. Give the spot a bit of wash.
Step 2: Place the toy inside a delicate wash protector. Usually this goes with the washing machine when you purchase it. It looks like a bag. You can place your to delicate washables inside to protect it from lint formation. If you don’t have this kind of protector bag, you can also use a pillow case. Not only can you clean the toy, you can also clean your pillow.
Step 3: Use the gentle cycle of the machine and place mild detergent in the detergent compartment. Set it to delicate cycle only on the lowest spin speed. If the toy has a bit of odor in it, you can dump baking soda inside the pillow case or sprinkle baking soda on the toy before putting it in your washer.
Step 4: After the rinsing cycle, add fabric conditioner to help soften the toy up and make it feel fluffy again once it comes out from the washer.
Just be careful about the toy you are cleaning. Do not machine wash a very large stuffed animal, otherwise, the machine will not tumble and rotate. Also, if there are loose buttons on it, do not machine wash it. The buttons might come off and this might impair the functions of the washer. So now that you know the tips on how to wash your stuff animal, now is the best time to start cleaning your children’s toys.
Reprinted with permission.
Reader comment: I always use a pillowcase knotted tightly around the soft toy. This stops so much stress on the seams reducing the risk of splitting, whilst stopping any fur that may molt from the toy from getting into the pump of the machine. It also stops any filling from getting into the machine if the seam or material should split. I do not wash any soft toys with batteries or growlers (squeakers). Double bagging and putting in the freezer for 48 hours will kill dust mites, good if your child has allergies.