Thursday, January 26, 2017

How to Clean Plush Toys

Note: We are not responsible for any damage to your toys that may occur from following cleaning suggestions listed here! 

Helpful Cleaning Tips

Yes, It is possible to wash many plush toys. Washing should be a last resort because there is a risk of damage. We have washed quite a few stuffed animals and have mostly had good results. Check a few things first to see if the plush is a reasonable candidate for washing. Read the tag on the item for possible information on construction and materials.

As a general rule, the more expensive the plush, the less likely it is safe to wash. If you've got a soiled item that looks like a washing candidate, put it a cloth bag -- a pillowcase is excellent -- tie the bag closed and toss it in for washing. The plush (and the bag) must fit loosely inside the washing machine. Use a bag of some reasonably sturdy woven fabric, not a mesh bag like those intended for washing hosiery. The goal here is to protect the surface of the fake fur so you don't get any split ends or felting or other physical damage from the washing process.

By "wash" we mean cold water wash and cold water rinse with mild detergent on a gentle cycle. If you don't have access to a good washing machine with a gentle cycle, stick to surface cleaning. For detergent, we've had good results with Dreft. Never use bleach, nor fabric softener.

After washing, take the still-tied bag out of the washer. If the toy was safe to wash, it's usually safe to dry, too. Air drying is OK, but puts you at risk of getting mildew started inside the stuffing. Still in its protective bag, put it in a clothes dryer for a cycle on the most gentle, low-temperature setting.

From selling stuffed animals we have had a bit of experience with cleaning. Most of our cleaning experience has come from buying and re-selling vintage and "previously loved" toys. Quite a few of the recycled animals we have sold required various amounts of cleaning.


Dusting is not cleaning but rather basic maintenance. But it's good to know about basic maintenance, and any more serious cleaning.

The basic tools for plush care are a hair brush and a damp cloth. An old terry washcloth is perfect for the damp cloth. Wet the cloth and wring it out well; we're talking damp here, not wet. Get a hair brush to be used only on the plush. Synthetic fur does not need to pick up hair care products transferred from a brush used by people. Brushes with metal bristles, intended for pet care, can work very well on plush but can tear up the backing fabric if not used carefully. You want a brush with well-spaced stiff bristles for most uses.

A vacuum cleaner and a lint roller are additional options for dusting.

Rub the surface of the plush lightly with the damp cloth to clean off dust, pet hair, food crumbs or whatever else has gotten onto the fur. Use the hair brush to straighten and arrange the nap of the plush, fluff flattened fur or smooth ruffled fur. For long fur, use the brush gently to separate snarls.

Remember that any hair pulled out with the brush probably will not grow back, so brush gently. The brush will also lift out dust or debris buried in the fur. Give the surface another swipe with the damp cloth after brushing to remove anything the brush lifted.

A lint roller can be used instead of a damp cloth. The lint roller works especially well on pet hair. In our house there are four cats and a dog as well as lots of plush, and plushes that are near cat walkways have to get lint-rolled fairly often.

Pay attention to the style of fur you're working with! Don't brush out a plush surface that is supposed to look felted, tangled or woolly. Stick to lint rollers or vacuums for such material.

Surface Cleaning

For surface cleaning you'll want to use an upholstery cleaner or a mild detergent in water. Spot-cleaning products or alcohol may also be used for surface cleaning, but test very carefully.

Before using any cleanser on a plush, test for compatibility on an inconspicuous spot. Wait until the test spot dries. Brush off any dried cleanser residue and examine the test spot. Is it still the same color? Especially look for a ring of lighter or darker discoloration around the test area. Pull the fur in the test spot and be sure it's not falling out. If you see any problems with the test area, you'll need to pick a different cleaning product or live with whatever it was you wanted to clean out.

After a successful test, use your selected cleansing product to clean the plush. Have enough cleaner to clean the whole toy. Once you take the step of using a cleaner or detergent, you will generally need to clean the whole object rather than just a problem spot. Especially with older toys, one clean patch will usually look different than the rest of the animal. Even with a tested cleaner, proceed with caution. A cleaner that is fine for the base material may damage nose or paw-pad fabric, or affect air-brushed details.

Use just enough cleanser to thoroughly wet the plush and the backing material, avoid letting much soak through to the stuffing. A sponge is generally the best applicator, and gives you good control over the amount of cleanser applied to the plush.

Childhood Plush Toy Replacement. We Can Help You Find It!

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Hear what others have to say about our service.

Cute,soft,and very clean, A++ seller Very helpful ,easy to work with and came packaged very well. Thank you   
Joyce--- Pinetta, FL
Great person to buy from. I got a great price on the item and the shipping was real fast. The item was more than I expected. If you want real good service, then this the person to buy from. I rate this person A+++
LJ-- Pasadena, TX
Biglerville, PA 
I am so happy with "Nick 2" (teddy's new name). He was here when we got home from shopping. The first thing I said was "He is so fat!" Mine is so loved and matted and slept on that he is less than half the size and a totally different color. I am sure it will not be long before "Nick 2" is just as well loved. Is there somewhere for me to leave you feedback so I can benefit your selling. I know we did not do it through an Ebay or Ioffer but I would love to give you the nod. 
Thank you so much! Kelli 
Reston, VA
Hi Latrice, 
I received the bears and they are great. I gave your website info to a few of the companies that were trying to locate this bear for me. They were amazed that you found them. They say they get emails all the time so now they know where to go. Thanks Again!!! Susan
Mount Larel. NJ
Good Morning, I am searching for a "long lost toy" like one that belonged to my sister. I was browsing your site and noticed you have a 1976 yellow duck. I am not sure what year the duck I am looking for was made in, but I am very interested in your duck. Would you happen to have a photo of the duck? It would be greatly appreciated. 
WOW! Thank you so much.That's the duck!!! 
Brentwood, CA
Bear arrived safe and sound. Thank you for your very prompt and courteous service. Stacy Oregon, OH
Hi Latrice,
I just got them today! Thanks..I love them!
I do like your white Gund Snuffles too...will you be getting any more? Winnie
Markham, Canada
I saw a Dakin teddy bear in the local senior center and fell in love with him, but he was not for sale. He was used as a  prop. I contacted Dakin and found they no longer manufactured the teddy. I was pleased to find your shop and delighted when the restored teddy bear arrived at my house. He has settled in with the other two teddy bears and seems to be happy in his new home.

Thank you for your promptness in delivering this teddy bear to me. He arrived in excellent condition.  Doris


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