How to wash your stuffed animals


(This blog is going to be terribly icky. If you can’t stand to read about adults playing with stuffed animals, click away now.)



(Still with me? Read on.)



We have a houseful of stuffed animals. The best-loved are a little brown dog who came from CVS back in the 1990s, and a big fat polar bear we purchased with prize tickets at Dave & Buster. We act out little dramas with them, and generally have a good time. The dog’s name is “Blot,” by the way. If the polar bear has a name, I don’t know it.




When animals get played with, and roll around on the floor, they get dirtier and dirtier. The formerly-white polar bear was turning dingy, and a little whiffy.



Neither animal wanted to go for a ride in the washing machine, though I tried very hard to make it sound like fun.  So I looked up instructions online (from a charming website called, and it turned out to be pretty easy, as follows (all stuffed-toy owners pay attention, now):



        Make sure your pets are washable. If they are stuffed with polyester fiber, and don’t have all kinds of things glued on them, then you are in luck. Polar bear had google-eye appliqués, which I removed. Both dog and polar bear were wearing pretty necklaces, which I also removed.

        If they’re stained, dab laundry detergent on the stains.

        Put them in a lingerie bag or pillowcase, and tie it up. (The spin cycle can be traumatic if you’re a little brown dog.)

        Wash on the gentlest cycle.

        Dry carefully. (I took them out of the bag and let them go commando in the dryer. In forty-five minutes, they were nice and dry, and neither looked the worse for it.)

        If they’re not entirely dry, recommends using a blowdrier. The kids can help with this; tell them that it’s a pet makeover session, and the pets are going to the salon.



The whole family is clean and lovely now. I reglued the Polar Bear’s eyes, and he can see again. He was a little shell-shocked by the washer/dryer thing, but when he saw how bright and clean he was, he forgave us. The little dog is also much cleaner, and looks much fluffier now.



And both of them are bragging about how brave they are, and how the other was crying like a baby the whole time.



But you know how kids are.



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

4 Responses to How to wash your stuffed animals

  1. starproms says:

    I have lots of those animals too. They all get washed from time to time. I also have two dolls, which I love.

    • I don’t wash them as often as I should. I still have my childhood teddy bear, who is hideous, but who would crumble to dust if I tried to clean him. So he sits on top of a shelf and rests. He’s earned his retirement (and exemption from cleaning).

  2. I have the one I love but I keep it very well haha, I should laugh at myself coz I’m Dolls Shop owner but I’ve never know how to wash those dolls 😉

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