Can it go in the washing machine or not? Can you use an ordinary detergent or do you have to use a special product?
Most stuffed animals can safely take a spin in the washing machine, although there is always the possibility of damage, which is something you need to take into consideration.
That said, machine washing will be a great choice for most parents looking to clean their children's stuffed animals. Here are the best practices for doing this:
Machine drying is also fine, but it's best to use the low temperature setting so you don't melt the glue.
You can't wash your stuffed animal in the washing machine if they:
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The kitchen sink is great for hand laundering, but a spacious sink, bathtub or wash bucket are also great choices. What you want is a space big enough for you to submerge the item in water, with enough room for you to reach in without making a huge mess of water. And, of course, make sure the space where you wash the lint is clean.
Fill the sink with warm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. It's easy to overuse detergent, which will make rinsing a nightmare. Measuring out a teaspoon and adding more if necessary is a good way to avoid excess detergent.
As for products, regular laundry detergent, Dr. Bronner's Baby Shampoo or even Johnson's Baby Shampoo are fine - you don't need a specialized product, but if you do, there is Soak, which is a no-rinse formula, to whiten laundry.
For stuffed toys that are dingy, stained or discolored, using a booster like OxiClean, Borax or baking soda, coupled with a long soak in the detergent solution, will help brighten up your stuffed animal.
Dip the plush toy into the water using a pumping motion (apply pressure to the plush as if it were a sponge), so that it is saturated with the detergent solution. Then, let it bubble and soak for 15 to 60 minutes, depending on its condition and degree of soiling. Shaking it occasionally will also help release the dirt.
After letting the stuffed animal soak, drain the wash water. It will probably be pretty gross! It's okay if you find the condition of the water oddly clear.
After the water drains, wipe or rinse the sink free of suds, then fill it with clean water and apply a little pressure to the stuffed animal while it is submerged to help release the soap. Repeat as needed until the toy is lather-free. If the toy is solid, you can also rinse it directly under running water.
Before removing the stuffed animal from the sink, gently squeeze to extrude as much water as possible. Then transfer it to a clean towel and roll it up, pressing again to extract more water. Then place the object on the towel to air dry. If, when the toy has dried to the point of being just damp, it looks a little tangled, use a hair dryer on its lowest setting to bring the fibers up.
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