How to Clean Old Stuffed Animals

A treasured stuffed animal from your childhood or even your parent’s childhood can bring back the fondest of memories. Over the years, these stuffed animals can break down and collect dust; some of which seem completely incapable of being washed. However, even the most damaged toy can be cleaned or freshened up with care. Always check the manufacture’s care instructions to see if there are any special conditions for washing the toy; such as the removal of parts or care for stuffing.

Check for any area that is worn on the toy. You will want to repair these areas before washing to avoid destroying the toy.

Remove any music, lights or other special insertions. You may also want to remove any clothing on the stuffed animal and wash that separately to prevent bleeding or wrinkling 1.

Use a vacuum cleaner attachment to remove any loose debris. If the stuffed animal is very fragile and you do not think it will withstand a washing machine, sprinkle the stuffed animal with baking soda and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then, vacuum off any extra baking soda.

Spray on a spot cleaner for removing spots or light cleaning. You can remove any extra cleaner with a damp washcloth.

Place a stuffed animal (that is in good condition) in a pillow case before putting it in the washing machine. Wash the toy separately with a mild detergent using cold water on delicate cycle.

Dry the toy by either placing the toy outside in a shady place (to avoid fading) or in a dryer using a low or no heat setting. Do not over dry the stuffed animal in the dryer or the fur may get damaged.


Spot test any sprays or washes on a small part of the toy to make sure it does not fade or damage the fur.

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