Mold can begin to grow on surfaces as quickly as 24 hours after they are exposed to water. Untreated, the mold feeds on organic materials and causes damage. A musty smell is a warning sign that toys or other objects have been exposed to mold. Stuffed toys should be cleaned promptly and thoroughly to prevent further damage and health problems caused by mold exposure. The right cleaning method will get favorite toys back in your child's hands in almost no time.
Brush off any visible spots of mold or mildew using a rag or whisk broom. Do this outside to avoid scattering mold spores in your home.
Hang the stuffed animals on a clothesline or spread them on a blanket in the sunshine. This will help them dry thoroughly. If you don't have access to an outdoor clothesline, hang them up or spread them out indoors near a fan.
Inspect the dry toys for a musty smell or visible mildew spots. If toys are still dirty, check the tag to determine if they are machine washable. If possible, wash with laundry detergent and warm water. Dry the toys on the clothesline.
Inspect toys for stains after laundering and drying. If stains or odors remain, spray the surface with white vinegar and let the toys dry outside. Vinegar has a strong odor that lasts several hours, but it is safe for many materials that could be damaged by bleach or another disinfectant.