Sometimes the love we lavish on stuffed animals makes them a bit grimy. Whether your stuffed companion is simply dusty from sitting around or has been actively loved by youngsters who left their mark, dropping large stuffed animals in the washing machine is simply out of the question. Large animals won't fit in the appliance, and, even if they did, would absorb such large amounts of water that they might never dry all the way. Cleaning large stuffed friends requires gently vacuuming them and giving them a sponge bath. After their bath, it's time for some fluffing and brushing.
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Things You'll Need
Tarp or sheet
Vacuum with brush attachment
Lint roller (optional)
High-efficiency laundry detergent or upholstery cleaner
Brush or comb
Remove any accessories that you can from the stuffed animal, such as ribbons, bows or outfits. Wash these items separately according to their care labels. When in doubt, hand wash accessories in cool water, and hang them to dry.
Sniff your stuffed animal. If he smells less than fresh, drop him into a large plastic bag and sprinkle some baking soda into it. If your animal is too large to put in a bag, lay him on a large tarp or sheet and sprinkle baking soda onto him. Let the baking soda sit for at least an hour to absorb any unpleasant odors.
Gently vacuum the dust, and baking soda if you've applied it, off your stuffed animal with the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner.
You can also roll a lint roller over your animal to remove dust and pet hair.
High-efficiency laundry detergent and upholstery cleaners work best on stuffed animals because they produce fewer soapsuds. Never use dish soap or other sudsy cleaners on your stuffed animal.
Find an inconspicuous spot on the bottom of the stuffed animal or in an area covered by its clothing. Test your cleaning solution to make sure it does not harm or discolor the animal's fur. If it does, try another cleaning agent.
To avoid unwanted color transfers, dip a white washcloth into the soapy water. Squeeze the water out of the cloth until it is damp but not dripping wet. Wash the stuffed animal with the washcloth, using a gentle circular motion. Continue this process until you have cleaned the entire stuffed animal.
If you find any stains on the stuffed animal that washing missed, try scrubbing them very gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Do so cautiously, because this can cause damage. Scrub only as hard as you need to in order to remove the stain. If the stain is persistent, leave it. It is better to consider the stain part of your stuffed friend's history and charm than to risk ruining him.
Dampen a fresh white washcloth with cool water and, using the same circular motion, rinse the stuffed animal. You may need to rinse the animal more than once to remove all of the soap.
Air dry the stuffed animal in front of a fan or on your clothesline.
When your animal is dry, gently brush or comb him with a clean brush. Do not use brushes or combs that could be contaminated with hairspray, gel or other hair products. Gently comb out any snarls or tangles you find in longer hair. If your stuffed animal was wearing any clothes or accessories, put them back on.