How to Wash Stuffed Animals




"Surface Wash Only" is a myth.  Standard stuffed animal toys can be submerged and washed carefully.  I'll show you how to rescue your most loveable (and roughly loved) from being discarded on the grounds of being "unsanitary."

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Step 1: Select a Creature

Find one that really needs a bath.  This guy has a mystery stain.  Gross.

Step 2: Submerge!

Soak in cold water, submerging and squeezing.  Nasty stuff will most likely come out of the stuffing.  Keep squeezing it out until the water comes out clear.

Step 3: Scrub

Scrub your critter with a mild detergent (i make my own with Ivory soap).  Cold-water liquids like Woolite work well, but your usual liquid detergent or liquid dish soap are good too.  Use a toothbrush to really get down into the fur.  (sorry, no photo of the scrubbing action; can't do that one-handed)

Step 4: Squeeze

Press out the excess soap by squeezing your animal under the water again.  You'll probably see more gross stuff.  Continue until the water coming out runs clear.

Step 5: Rinse

Rinse under cold water and continue squeezing out the suds.

Step 6: Hang to Dry

Hang outside on a line, because these guys drip a LOT.  If you can't put them out in the sun, devise a way to hang them over the bathtub or other area where water isn't a problem.

Step 7: (optional) Squeeze Again

Gravity alone might not allow more dense stuffed animals to drain properly; squeeze the water down from the legs and out through the feet (or whatever is hanging lowest from the line).  The motion is admittedly not unlike milking a cow.

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11 Discussions


2 years ago

Step 4 is a very disturbing photo.


3 years ago

Thanks. I'll try it.


5 years ago on Introduction

Interesting to read…here below I have pasted a link and that was quite amazing to


6 years ago on Introduction

Depending on the solution of the fluff, it may be adapted to be accommodated. In the washing machine before, assured that there are no protruding eyes or other parts that may be damaged during a cycle. It takes a lot of time to dry, as the internal filling can cause odor wet.


6 years ago on Introduction

This would have totally saved ernie from getting his hair all frizzy in the dryer. Great Instructable!


7 years ago on Introduction

You can also toss them in your regular washing machine, but only in a gentle cycle, cold water only and if you have them in a pillowcase/laundry bag. What gets most upholstered items is usually the heat of the water or the dryer; fake fur will melt into a crispy mess and it's all over if that happens :(

2 replies

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

My mom always stuck dolls and stuffed animals into a leg of old pantyhose; i always end up with a bear with a smooshed snout though using that method!