Things You'll Need
Detergent with color-safe bleach
Hanging the animal in the sunshine may be enough to remove mild mold or musty smells from stuffed animals, eliminating the need to wash it. If the mold is inside the stuffing, simply remove the stuffing and add new polyester filling.
If the mold growth is very severe, the best option may be to discard and replace the stuffed animal.
Your child's beloved stuffed animal may be a danger to his health if it contains mold, a type of fungus which is sometimes linked to respiratory problems. Mold, which is usually a green or black color, typically grows on organic substances such as food, but stuffed animals may contain enough organic material to support mold growth, particularly if your child chews on the toy. In many cases, what you think is mold may actually be mildew; although the two terms are often used interchangeably, they are different but similar types of fungi. You must remove the mold for safety.
Wash the stuffed animal in the washing machine or hand wash with the hottest water possible and a detergent with color-safe bleach. Hot water aids in killing mold spores.
Add 1/2 to 1 cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle; vinegar aids in killing the mold spores and removing the associated odors. Alternatively, dilute 1 cup of bleach in the wash water before adding the stuffed animal; diluted bleach lightens colored fabrics without leaving bleached spots.
Wring as much moisture from the stuffed animal as possible. Mold and mildew grow on damp fabrics.
Hang the stuffed animal on a clothesline in full sun; set them out in the morning so they can receive more sunlight for a longer period of time. Sunlight is one of mold's worst enemies and helps to kill any mold remaining in the mold.
Spray the animal with a solution of one part water to one part white vinegar and hang in the sun for a second day if the mold still remains after the first day.
A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.