So I know this seems a little bit weird, but I will freely admit that I still have a few stuffed animals that I sleep with on the regular. So - I got to thinking...should they be washed? I did a little bit of reading and this is what I came up with. For the purpose of this blog, and so that I don’t feel super lame, I am going to talk about parents washing their children's toys...okay? Good - glad you’re okay with it.
Beloved stuffed animals and toys are part of your family - and just like both you and your kids, they need to be washed every once in a while, hahaha!
Most kids have at least one that they stick to almost all the time, or if you’re lucky they have two or three. In my case there are three, and when I was an infant there was just one - he is part of the current three...and yes he is pretty scruffy looking. Basically the point is that these little guys (or girls) end up becoming your children too because it is your job to keep up with them, clean them, and provide boo-boo repairs.
As with all laundry the first thing you need to do is read the tag attached to the toy. It may or may not state cleaning instructions. At the very least, it will list the materials used during manufacturing, which will help you figure out how you are going to deal with washing it.
Cleaning Tips For All Stuffed Toys
Remove dust and surface dirt often, this shouldn’t really be an issue if it’s one that your child is carrying around all the time. Although, if there is one that sits on the shelf or in the bed a little more often you can just use a soft brush or the vacuum upholstery tool to get surface dust off.
Another thing that is important - especially for the favourite toys - is to check periodically for rips, loose buttons, eyes or glued on decorations. Make repairs promptly to avoid more problems down the road - plus you don’t want to be sad when Fluffys’ arm or leg falls off...right?
Machine Washable Toys
This is pretty straight forward - if it says on the tag that the toy is fully washable then all you have to do is place it in a mesh bag or zippered pillowcase and wash on the delicate cycle. If there is a difficult stain like paint or blueberry juice, pretreat before washing.
On the other hand if the toy is older or in delicate condition it probably best just to hand wash it with a gentle detergent and cool water - after all you certainly don’t want to deal with the aftermath of returning your child’s precious toy in worse shape than when you took it.
So - being the big kid that I am - I will admit that I prefer to allow the toys to air dry, and the reason is that I am not a dryer fan to begin with...and I need to keep my besties in great condition.
If your little one is screaming or refusing to go to bed and the toy is still not dry, make sure to set it on the lowest heat setting possible because some synthetic "furs", while washable, will melt in high heat (yeah - it happened to me once).
Non Washable Toys
If the tag says non-washable, the toy contains a mechanical or musical element or glued on decorations, then you are nuts because there is no getting that smell out.
Best you can do with these gems is spot clean by using a white cloth to prevent color transfer. Since I myself have not actually had to do this I am going to recommend what seems the most logical to me.
Take your white cloth and dip it in a detergent and water solution - or maybe use some OxiClean - and then use plain water to “rinse” when the stain is gone. Keep in mind that you need to blot at the stains and keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the stains are transferred onto it. Then BAM, clean toy for you - or your child.
Oh - and it’s probably not the best idea to use oxygen bleach solutions on wool or leather toys, because that’s not proper care instructions for those materials (toys or not).
Well, there you have it everyone! Whether you are a big kid or have lots of little kids you are now an expert on how to properly care for and wash them. It might seem like a big job but honestly none of this stuff is difficult, and you’ll be happy that you took the time once they are all clean and smelling fresh and clean again.
If you have any questions be sure to leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you asap. And of course - if you’re just tired of laundry in general navigate back up to the top of the page, click “sign up here” and let us free up some of your time.
Until next time everyone! Stay clean!
By: Amanda Relyea-Voss