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How to Clean Old Stuffed Animals

Old stuffed animals need the extra care since they have long retired from the hectic life of our childhood adventures.  To properly clean old stuffed animals, it requires patience and hard work.   This process will completely clean the old furry fellows and requires changing the stuffing material inside them.  This shouldn’t be done more than a couple of times in their lifetime.

“Open-heart Surgery”

  • Cut a small hole on the furry friend.  Choose a place that is not too conspicuous but easy to remove all the stuffing inside
  • Remove any ribbons, jewelery on the stuffed animal
  • Fill a bucket with hot water
  • Measure 3-4 tablespoons of baking soda and mix it in the bucket
  • Soak the furry friend in the bucket of hot solution for 20-30 mins
  • After the allotted time, gently scrub the stuffed animal.  If the stuffed animal is very old, the water may not be clear anymore
  • Dump the water out and refill it with lukewarm water
  • Rinse the stuffed animal with water. Repeat this at least 2-3 times to completely get the baking soda out. The fur might feel stiff from the baking soda, do not worry!
  • Use a gentle liquid fabric softener that does not have a strong scent.  If the softener is scented, be sure to pick one that you like because the scent will likely stay.
  • Fill the bucket with warm water and put a quarter of the usual amount for a normal load of laundry.
  • Soak the stuffed animals for 15-20 mins in the solution.
  • Rinse the furry friend in lukewarm water. Repeat this step at least 3 times.
  • Gently wring dry the furry fellow.
  • Hang the furry friend in a dry cool place. The best way to dry an old stuffed animal is put hang it out in a cool, dry place for a few days.  During those days, also put it in the sunlight.  The drying process may take a few days.  You can put the furry friend in the dryer in low-heat to speed up the process.  It is extremely important that the stuffed animal is completely 100% dry before proceeding to the next step.  Bacteria, dust mites and bad odor can creep up from the furry friend if the furry friend is not completely dry before it gets new stuffing inside. Refer to how to dry stuffed animals  for more information.
  • Decide on the type of stuffing.  Polyester and cotton filling are soft stuffing that are appropriate for stuffed animals with delicate features. Wool and kopak filling are firmer than the former types and are more appropriate for teddy bears and furry animals in larger stature.  Consider using a combination of filling in the furry friend.  For the head, firmer stuffing will give structure to the cute face.  For the limbs, softer filling is better for the more delicate parts. Be creative!  (More to come on the different types of filling)
  • Gently put in the stuffing through the hole cut earlier.  This step can take  a couple of days if you want the furry friend to look as beautiful as before the surgery.  It takes time for the stuffing to settle and it’s the best to patient and sculpt the shapes before the stuffed animal is sewed up.  Fill the face and the limbs first with the stuffing. Let the material settle in the animal for a few days.  Massage the stuffing once a day.  After a few days, fill the rest of the stuffed animal with the stuffing.  Wait for a few days to settle and sculpt as needed.  After the filing has settled in and the furry friend is finally recognizable, sew up the opening.   A cute outfit that is well-fitted for the furry friend is a good way to hide the sewed part. It’ll also help keep the furry friend clean!

Materials needed
Bucket, baking soda, stuffing (reviews on the different types of toy stuffing material coming soon!) and fabric softener with little to no scent.


Clean Old Stuffed animals


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