The Ultimate Care Guide: How to Wash Stuffed Animals

berry cows with stickers

Pictured: SendAFriend’s Berry Bestie Bundle

If you’ve got a plush pal that goes with you everywhere you go, it’s bound to get dirty. Luckily, giving your cuddly companion a bath from time to time can help keep it squeaky clean for extra snuggles. In this guide, we’ll go over the basics of how to wash your favorite stuffed animals without ruining them so they stay in the family for longer. Hint: It’s all about cleaning with care and steering clear of heat, aggressive cycles or harsh detergents.

Your Guide to Washing Stuffed Animals

Our stuffed friends give us great comfort when we sleep, travel and relax around the house, but they also pick up plenty of dirt, stains and gross smells in the process. Though they’re made of many of the same fabrics as our clothes, plush toys shouldn’t be washed the same way you wash your jeans and tees. They need a little extra loving care!

Daily Care: Spot Cleaning

What’s the best way to clean a cow stuffed animal? Spot clean, of course! But the spot cleaning method isn’t just for spotted friends. The same goes for your bears, sloths, lions and unicorns. This should be your go-to method on a weekly or even daily basis to attack stains and smells and keep everybody cuddly.

stuffed cow toyPictured: SendAFriend’s Cooper the Cow Care Package

Shop Our Special Stuffed Animals

If your stuffed friend gets a little dirty, it’s best to take care of it with the occasional hand wash using a soft cloth with cold water and mild soap. Simply fill the sink with cool, soapy water and work up a gentle lather. Using your fingers, use the soapy water mix to clean dirty spots. Rinse under a gentle stream of cool water and let air dry.

Deep Cleans: Machine Wash

One question we often get is: “Are stuffed animals machine washable?” The answer is technically yes, but you need to make sure you’re following care instructions closely so that your pals don’t incur any injuries in the process. Always exclusively hand wash any toys that have electronic components, lights, plastic or fragile parts to avoid damage in the wash. 

Although most purely plush pals will survive a gentle spin cycle, be sure to check with the stuffed animal manufacturer to ensure that machine washing is OK. SendAFriend stuffed animals can go through the wash with no harm so long as you keep things cool and gentle and follow the instructions below.

  • Machine wash cold on a gentle cycle. Hot water and too much agitation can send your plushie into a whirlwind and damage the fabric and construction. Use your machine’s cold setting and choose the gentlest cycle. If you want to add extra protection, wash your toy in a mesh laundry bag. Make sure to remove any clothing or plastic accessories before washing.stuffed animals drying
  • Use a mild laundry soap and avoid fabric softener. Take extra-special care when choosing soap for your stuffed animal’s bath. Go for a super gentle formula labeled “soap” rather than detergent, as these tend to have fewer harsh chemicals, oils and fragrances that could damage your friend. Never use fabric softener, bleach or laundry spot cleaners on stuffed animals, as these can stain the fabric or strip your friend’s fur of color.
  • Let air dry in a cool, dry place. The heat and movement of the dryer is a no-no for stuffed buddies. Water or air that’s too hot can disrupt the glue and seams, causing your friend to fall apart. Too much heat can also alter the density of the fluff, making your stuffed toy less plush. Make sure you always finish your machine-washing session by leaving your toy to dry in a cool, dry place.

Call in the Replacements

With all that loving and cuddling, it may be time to talk about replacing your old, tattered plush with something brand-new. If your stuffed animal is permanently stained, torn or warped, it’s time to upgrade to a fresh new companion and start the process anew!

Care Packages for All

There’s no better option than a stuffed animal care package to send a hug to anyone in the world, but all that love comes at a cost — dirt, grime, stains and smells! With the help of SendAFriend, you can keep your comforting companion clean and cuddly for years to come.

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