How to Clean Stuffed Animals

Every once in awhile a favorite stuffed animal must be cleaned, whether due to normal wear and grime, or due to random accidents. Cleaning stuffed animals is easier than you think.


Machine Washing
  • The first thing that you should do is check the tag on the stuffed animal to see if it can be washed in a washing machine. Put the stuffed animal in a mesh laundry bag or a pillowcase. Tie off the laundry bag or pillowcase securely so that the stuffed animal doesn’t have too much extra room.  Wash on the delicate cycle with cold water and your regular laundry detergent. Keep the item in the laundry bag and dry in the dryer on low heat.


Deep Cleaning Stuffed Animals
  • If your item is machine washable and is still dirty after you’ve removed it from the washer, you can also deep clean it following our deep clean instructions. Soak in warm/hot water in a strong detergent. Add Odoban, Nature’s Miracle, Biz, or Dawn as necessary for urine, vomit, grease, or stubborn stains. Soak for several hours, agitating occasionally. Follow with a water only wash cycle, and check for any remaining stains before drying on low heat.


Delicate and Electronic Items
  • These items need to be surface cleaned or spot cleaned only. Water and excessive tumbling in washers and dryers will most likely ruin these items:
    • Antique and fragile items
    • Items with music or electronic boxes
    • Objects with glitter or sequins attached
    • Stuffed animals will styrofoam beads inside (like Beanies Babies)
How to Spot Clean
  1. Start with a bowl of diluted laundry detergent and warm water. About a tablespoon of detergent in a medium size bowl or basin should do it. Agitate the water and make sure the detergent dissolves.
  2. Grab a clean, white rag and dip it into the solution and then scrub in gentle circles. If the rag gets too dirty, then switch it out. If there is a particularly stubborn area, get a clean toothbrush and gently scrub these areas.
  3. Once finished, take a new, clean, damp cloth, and gently rub to remove the remaining soap residue. You may need to switch out this cloth as well, or repeat as necessary.
  4. Finally, carefully use a soft bristled brush to fluff up the fur.
  5. Hang your stuffed animal in front of a fan or in the sun on a warm day to dry.


Cleaning Oversized Stuffed Animals
  • Extra large stuffed animals can be more difficult to clean but not impossible. You have a few options. If you or someone you know is crafty, you can cut a slit in the side of the stuffed animal, remove the stuffing, and add a zipper or velcro. When it comes time to clean the stuffed animal, you simply open him up, remove the stuffing, and wash the outside in your machine. WIthout all that stuffing, it will most likely fit into your washing machine and dryer without a problem.
  • Another option is to bring your oversized item to a laundromat that has extra large washers and dryers. Follow the washing machine directions above but keep in mind that you will most likely have to use multiple dry cycles to get the stuffing completely dry.


  • Many stuffed animals that say spot clean only can actually survive a washing machine, but please do this at your own risk.
  • Be realistic about what your stuffed animal may look like after washing. While it will be clean, the fur may look slightly different.




Laura Reznicki