How To Clean Stuffed Animals

Is it completely germophobic to be cleaning your kids' stuffed toys every month? Of course, I'm asking for a friend of mine (wink)! I completely understand that our kids need to grow their immune system by being exposed to various degrees of bacteria, still, I can't look at these toys and remain calm. It makes me cringe. Just like that tiny chalk mark the teacher used to forget to erase on the board back in school. Ok, there goes my free-spirit reputation!

All that nonsense being said, there are some easy ways to clean stuffed toys depending on what kind you are dealing with.

FIRST, READ THE LABEL: Is the toy machine washable?
- If yes, move on to solution #1.
- If no, move on to solution #2.

• Solution #1:

Throw the toy in a mesh bag or a zippered pillowcase for regular sizes (I actually don't have those so I use pins with a regular pillowcase), and wash with regular detergent on the gentle and cold cycle. Preferably, let it air dry. Should you absolutely have to use the dryer, set it on the lowest heat possible, "fur" can melt with heat.

• Solution #2:

Put the toy in a plastic garbage bag and pour in about 1/2 cup of baking soda for an average sized animal. Adjust the quantity based on the size of the toy. Close the bag and shake it for a bit. Then let it rest for about 15-20 minutes inside the closed bag.

Once this process is done, shake or brush off any excess baking soda (I sometimes vacuum it off, too.).

If there are stains, spot clean using a damp cloth and a gently detergent (I use natural unscented baby detergent) and water.

• Alternative Solution #2

Some toys can also be hand washed. You can do so using a mild detergent and making sure to wring out the water and air dry.

(Image credits: Shutterstock)