How to spot clean stuffed animals?

Susan Fernandez November 11 2021

Stuffed animals and plush toys are wonderful to have in a child's life. However, over time these toys can get dirty and need to be cleaned. There are some steps you can take to spot clean stuffed animals so that they will last for years!

How do I know if my stuffed animal needs to be cleaned?

There are several signs that your stuffed animal may be in need of a good cleaning. For example, if your stuffed animal smells or is visibly dirty then it probably needs a deep cleansing after all this time being cuddled and played with! Another way to tell is by checking the tag sewn into the back of the toy. If there is a non-washable label on it, you should spot clean only. In fact, most major companies make stuffed animals with this warning so you should always check here first.

What is dangerous about dirty toys?

Bacteria and other germs can grow on stuffed toys over time. This is especially dangerous for children since they play with these toys frequently. Children are more susceptible to getting sick because their immune systems are not as strong as adult's. Dirty stuffed animals have also been known to cause head lice outbreaks!

How long do bacterias live in dirty toys?

Bacteria and other unsanitary items can live in a toy for a long period of time. In fact, research has shown that some bacteria have been found to stay alive in the worst-case scenarios for up to two years!

What will happen if I don't clean my stuffed animal?

  1. Your child could get sick from touching their dirty stuffed animals over and over again.
  2. Your children's toys will take on an unpleasant smell from being dirty.
  3. You may start seeing lice outbreaks among your household because of dirty material allowing head lice to survive comfortably for months at a time!
  4. Over time these items can lose their shape and fall apart while still in the possession of the children you love so much.

How do I spot clean my stuffed animal?

When spot cleaning your stuffed animal, be gentle and use little amounts of water! You can also choose to just use a dry cloth if you have one around the house. Make sure that when it comes to detergents, shampoos, or other types of cleaners that they are all pet-friendly because children will often want to help in some way or another! What products can I order online?

There are many great products out there on how to get rid of stains on stuffed animals. One is called "Shout Color Catcher sheets" which are absorbent sheets that soak up any possible dye transfer from clothes while washing. Another type of product that is great for cleaning stuffed animals is those sheets that clean scuff marks off shoes! "Shout Advanced Gel" is the best example and can be easily found online.

How do I vacuum dirty toys?

You can use a hand-held vacuum or a regular vacuum to clean stuffed animals. For the best results, you should check the tag before cleaning. This way if it is a non-washable item then you aren't wasting your time and energy while being gentle with the toy!

How do I wash them by hand?

To manually wash your stuffed animals, you should try adding a tiny bit of dish soap and lukewarm water. You can also use baby shampoo if you desire to clean them even more! Be gentle because these toys are valuable and children love to hold them tightly.

What if my stuffed animal's nose or eyes need to be sewn back on?

If you notice a loose thread or an eye or nose that has come off completely, don't worry! You have options. You can try to sew it back on yourself but this could cause potential damage to the toy if not done properly. In this case, take it to a professional who knows how to do children's sewing jobs without causing more harm than good! Always keep your receipt from your purchase in case anything goes wrong with your toy after you wash it.

Is it bad to get water in my stuffed animal's ears or mouth?

While it may be wise not to put your toy completely underwater if you are careful enough you can achieve spot cleaning without worrying about getting the inside wet. If you do notice any excess dye on the fur, using a dry cloth is another way to go! But again, make sure that your child keeps this type of toy away from their eyes. If anything gets into their eyes they should immediately get help from an adult nearby. That being said, always supervise children while doing any type of deep cleaning on toys!

Dry toys properly after cleaning

Be sure to dry your toys as thoroughly as possible. If you use a towel, make sure to ring it out several times otherwise the fabric can become stiff and uncomfortable for playtime afterward. You may also want to consider using a blow-dryer on a low setting if you have one available since it won't be too hot for the toy!

If I have allergies what steps should I take before washing my stuffed animal?

One easy step that all allergy sufferers can take when it comes to washing toys is to use a pillowcase. Just toss it over the stuffed animal and tie it off so the inside of the case doesn't get dirty! This will give you a good piece of mind that your toy isn't harboring allergens or other germs that could make you sick while you sleep!

Do I need to change the stuffing?

It is not necessary to change the stuffing in your toy and can even be harmful if you try to do it yourself. Just like removing the fur that has come loose, this should also be given to a professional unless you want to risk tearing your beloved plushie apart! While there are benefits to replacing/refreshing the stuffing inside of a worn-out or flat toy, this is something that should only be done to enhance playtime with children and not because it has become dirty.

What do I do if my toy isn't washable?

You have several options when deciding what to do with dirty plush toys that are not washable. You could put them in storage for later use or display purposes, send them off to relatives who may want them, donate them to charities like Goodwill, or even give them away on sites like Then you can get new ones for your children without worrying they will get sick! Remember, this is a great way to get your children involved in the cleaning process since they are the ones who will be using these items!

Thanks for reading about how to spot clean stuffed animals. Now go out there and take care of those cuddly creatures that your kids love so much! There's nothing better than seeing their smiling faces after you've given them an awesome new toy that doesn't have any germs living inside it anymore.

What if my child wants to help?!

Children always want to be involved in whatever their parents are doing, including taking care of their toys. A great way for children to help is by making sure all pieces of their favorite stuffed animal are accounted for! If any buttons, eyes, or noses have fallen out while normal use (not during washing!) make sure they get put away somewhere where kids can't access them easily. While children may not always think to do this, it's a great way to keep yourself from having to search for pieces that have been around the house for years.

How often should I wash my stuffed animal?

Every child is different and some toys get dirty more quickly than others. In general, if your children love their stuffed animals they should have them washed once every two weeks at a minimum! That being said, those with allergies or those who are sick with a cold or flu virus should take extra care in washing all of their beloved toys as soon as possible!


Whether you choose to use a pillowcase or hand-wash your stuffed animal with some dish soap and warm water, it's always best not to put these types of toys into the washing machine. If they do get left in and end up getting washed (and we're not saying that it will happen!) be sure to take them out as soon as possible and air dry them before giving them back to your children.