How to Wash Stuffed Animals and Plush Toys 

Kids & Baby

​Washing your child’s stuffed animal is not for the faint of heart, but it has to happen.

Not only do their stuffed animals get covered in all the molecules your children are, but they don’t have the benefit of a regular bath schedule. That means they get gross, but that doesn’t deter your child from sleeping with their face on their lovey or toy.

There’s no hard and fast rule dictating when and how to wash stuffed animals. But it’s a good idea. They trap dust, mold, and pet dander, which are common triggers for asthma. You’ll also need to wash them if anyone in the house happens to come home with lice because those little critters can hide in a plush toy or stuffed animal’s fur.

Project Nursery Registry

While some stuffed animals should never see the inside of a washing machine, there are still ways to clean these plush toys. Even better, there are bears, rabbits, and more who not only survive the wash but thrive in it.

In our guide, we offer a list of stuffed animals that are easy to wash (and sometimes dry) and break down how to wash and clean stuffed animals so that they continue looking brand new.

Comparison Table

How We Made Our Choices

Brown bear plush toys

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We decided to include both stuffed animals generally and plush toys as well as specialty toys dedicated to children with sensitive skin or allergies.

All our toys vary in size, shape, and material, but we made sure that almost all of them (with one exception) are washing machine-friendly. We also prioritized those toys that handle the tumble dryer because we know line drying can be agony for young ones.

We combined knowledge of materials, customer reviews, and how easy the toy is to clean, and made our decision to add it to our list based on its score.

Washable Stuffed Animals

stuff animal on the tree

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A quick spin in the washing machine (and the tumble dryer) makes cleaning up your children’s favorite toys that much more straightforward. All the toys on our list are easy to clean, and almost all are machine-washable to a high standard. 

Take a look!

Bedtime Originals Pinkie Gray/Pink Plush Monkey

Bedtime Original’s plush monkey is a small toy that makes the perfect alternative to a security blanket.

The toy measures 9.5-inches long and 8-inches wide and features a polyester construction.

Because its polyester, it is entirely washable. To wash, place it in a gentle cycle. You can also tumble dry it if your little one doesn’t like to be away from their plushie long. Set the dryer to a low setting and be sure to take it out quickly when the cycle ends.

We love that the monkey is very soft and squishy, which makes it a perfect cuddle toy as well as easy to pack in a bag. We also like that a trip through the washing machine doesn’t degrade the toy. It comes out looking like new.

You can even build a whole set of Bedtime Originals plush toys. In addition to monkeys, you’ll also find:

  • Elephants
  • Foxes
  • Owls
  • Unicorns
  • Giraffes
  • Dinosaurs
  • Bunnies

Many of the other toys also come in different colors.

Vermont Teddy Bear

Are you looking for a classic teddy bear that looks like the toys you grew up with.

The Vermont Teddy Bear company designs the classic teddy bear that gives the best bear hugs.

The teddy is perfect for little ones because it is utterly soft without any plastic internal joints.

Your new teddy comes in a protective box, and if any harm should happen to him, you can send him back to the Bear Hospital in Vermont where they will mend it for free. If your bear is too far gone, the Bear Hospital will send you a new bear and their sincerest apologies.

The bear is 15-inches tall and stuffed with 100 percent recycled stuffing. It’s is also suitable for machine washing.

Vermont Teddies come in four colors including light brown, dark brown, pink, and white.

We love that the customer service team at Vermont Teddy Bears commits itself to keep bears with their loving owners for life. They also provide helpful tips for washing the teddy pair.

The team at the Bear Hospital recommend putting the bear into a king size pillowcase and tying open end before sticking the bear in the wash. The pillowcase protects the bear’s plush fur.

Dordor & Gorgor Organic Plush Toy

So many plush toys look cute but have questionable materials and labor practices when you look too close.

Dordor & Gorgor break that mold and do so in a big way.

Dordor & Gorgor’s founder, Melinda, watched as her children experience skin irritation after birth. After sleepless nights and endless rash creams, the family pediatrician made a landmark discovery: the babies suffered from allergies to their clothes.

If they had allergies to their clothing fabric, then it was reasonable to assume they also suffered from the materials found on their cuddle toys. Melinda was absolutely right.

The company’s headquarters is in Walnut, California and it works with a sister company in China. Dordor & Gorgor’s sister company is small and has just over 200 employees. More importantly, they follow labor standards like the Equal Employment Opportunity Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act, so you know your toy didn’t come from suffering.

Dordor & Gorgor’s materials truly stand out from the crowd. All their toys come with materials that meet the Global Organic Textile Standard. Every toy features 100 percent organic cotton that is free from:

  • Pesticides
  • Chemicals
  • Dye
  • Free
  • Bleach
  • Lead
  • BPA
  • Latex

Choosing materials like this is so important for babies in particular. A baby has extra sensitive skin, so while an older child or an adult may play with toys with no problem, the dyes, bleach, and pesticides found on many toys can cause issues for a baby’s skin.

Even organic cotton comes with this hazard. Some companies used dye and chemicals on organic materials, which negates some of the benefits of organic cotton.

Dordor & Gorgor dye their 100 percent organic cotton with natural ingredients, often made from flowers. There’s no chemical use at all during manufacturing.

While this is great for sensitive skin, parents should note that the fabric colors may fade over time. Dordor & Gorgor are happy to exchange faded toys for fresh ones—for free.

We love these toys because they are hypoallergenic and still soft. They are also machine washable, which is another huge win for parents. 

Kellytoy Squishmallows

Kellytoy Squishmallows are soft plush toys that are 8 to 16 inches tall, which makes them perfect for cuddling or as a pillow.

Each Squishmallow has a marshmallow-like feel thanks to its stretchy, low pile, velvet-style fabric. The polyester fabric and fiber mean that each toy is easy to machine wash on a warm setting. You can even tumble dry them on medium heat.

You can buy the Squishmallows in the style of your child’s favorite animal including:

  • Simon the Sloth
  • Stanley the Panda
  • Grey Elephant Mila
  • Blue Penguin
  • Brown Bear
  • Green Frog
  • Piper the Pink Penguin
  • Purple Owl
  • Charlotte the Cat
  • Fifi the Fox

We love these Squishmallows because they are impossibly soft—like a cloud is trapped inside. Kids can bring them to the sofa for family movie night without messing up their bedding.

Adults also love them, too, and their size means that the animals don’t disappear in adult hugs.

Healthy Baby Asthma and Allergy Floppy Monkey Stuffed Animal

Does your child struggle with allergies and allergy-related asthma? The Healthy Baby stuffed monkey may be the perfect antidote.

There are two ways to help kids’ stuffed animals remain animal free. First, it needs fabric and stuffing that maintains low allergen levels. The stuffed monkey does that, and it even boasts an asthma and allergy-friendly certification. The manufacturers also note that there are no allergy-triggering chemicals involved in the process of making the monkey.

Second, kids benefit when you washed their stuffed animals regularly to remove what allergens collect on the fabric. The designers created the monkey with the purpose of allowing it to take multiple trips through the washing machine regularly.

You can wash it in the washing machine multiple times, and it won’t tear or start to look aged beyond its years. You can even wash and dry it weekly without doing any damage to it.

The monkey contains no small pieces on the exterior, so it's suitable for giving to a young child for cuddles. However, there are plastic pellets in the bottom of the monkey to help it sit up on its own.

Additionally, it is about 13.5-inches tall, which does make it too large for newborn babies.

KINREX Stuff Elephant Animal Plush

The KINREX elephant is a sweet baby grey elephant suitable for young children, toddlers, and older children. It features a super soft polyester for a plush feel that is still durable.

It measures 9 inches by 9 inches and only weighs 165 grams so that it won’t dwarf a 0-3-month-old, but it will grow with them as they bond with their stuffed animal. Like every other stuffed animal on our list, it is also washable and easy to clean.

However, you should not machine wash or tumble dry this stuffed animal. It only survives hand washing in cold water and a line dry.

We like that you can buy the elephant in a gender-neutral grey as well as in other colors. KINREX also makes plush animals like a three-toed sloth and a stuffed bunny.

HMQD Cute Alpaca Rainbow Alpaca Plush

HMQD’s little plush alpacas are 11-inch stuffed toys that weigh only around 100 grams and make sweet gifts as well as fun children’s room or party decorations.

HMQD made it with a polyester fabric and cotton filling to ensure its safe for kids.

It is not machine washable because you could damage the eyes. However, you can handwash and line dry it without damaging the filling or the plush feel.

The alpaca comes in four colors including brown, green, pink, and red.

Living Textiles Plush Toy

The Living Textiles Plush Toy is perfect for babies but also suits toddlers.

Its body comes from 100 percent cotton knit for the softest, coziest toy imaginable. It also comes with a rattle inside the body for a sensory experience.

The toy comes in the following animal type:

  • Amelia the Elephant
  • Amy the Mermaid
  • Ava the Cat
  • Charley the Fox
  • Emma the Ballerina
  • Finn the Giraffe
  • Joe the Monkey
  • Kenzie the Unicorn
  • Shiloh the Stegasaurus
  • Taylor the T-Rex

Each is 12-inches tall.

All the animals are a classic, nursery style that looks and feels like a toy your parents might have had. The design remains simple because Living Textiles’s focus is on the quality of the fabric. 

Rather than worrying about embroidery or wild colors, it focuses on creating a pure cotton fabric that is durable and cuddle-friendly.

Best of all: all the toys are machine wash-friendly.

Disney Baby Classic Stuffed Animal

We found your favorite Disney characters in washable form.

These plush toys are soft and cuddly, but they also stand up to the washing machine. There’s no sewn-on eyes, tails, or tags, which also means they are infant friendly.

These toys are classic Winnie the Pooh characters that match the illustrations from A.A. Milne’s books.

You can buy:

  • Eeyore (14-inches)
  • Piglet (9-inches)
  • Winnie the Pooh (9-inches)
  • Tigger (9-inches)

Each animal has snuggly, plush fur made from polyester, which means you can also tumble dry it on low heat. All the animals also wear a sweet ribbon around their neck that says, “My sweetest adventures always include you.”

These make lovely room decorations, crib toys, party decorations, and snuggle companions.

Personalized White Plush Bunny

Looking for a personalized keepsake for a child who needs a machine washable toy?

The personalized white plush bunny is a velvety-soft 8-inch plush toy that’s perfect for giving on Easter, at births, or just as a general present.

It comes from a polyester and cotton blend with extra long (six-inch) ears. You can even ask the manufacturer to embroider it with the child’s name. There’s room for one line with ten letters or spaces.

The bunny also comes in white or brown, and you can choose from blue or pink embroidery on the ears.

How to Wash Stuffed Animals

You can wash a stuffed animal without ruining the toy, but only if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

The success rate of a good wash depends on two things: whether the animal is suitable for washing and what kind of washing machine you have.

Let’s dive into the do’s and don’ts of washing stuffed animals.

Never Machine Wash These Stuffed Animals

Although you can wash many toys, there are stuffed animals that don’t belong in the washing machine under any circumstances.

You’ll need to spot clean any stuffed animals that:

  • Are antique and fragile
  • Wear delicate unremovable clothing
  • Contain small foam balls (similar to Beanie Babies)
  • Talk or sing (thanks to a music box)

Avoid a Top Loading Machine

A top loading washing machine tends to include an agitator (the plastic device in the middle where the soap goes).

Agitators do real damage to things like stuffed animals (and pillows) because they force them to conform to the agitator as the machine spins. 

Wash the Toy in a Pillowcase

Even if your toy is suitable for use in the washing machine, it still benefits when you put it in a pillowcase first.

The pillowcase protects any button eyes, but it also makes the cycle less treacherous. The water and soap still seep through the pillowcase, but the teddy bear’s fur receives better protection.

Use a Light Detergent

Don’t use a heavy-duty detergent or bleach on the cycle. Soaps designed for baby clothes tend to work best. If you don’t have any on hand, consider a non-bio detergent.

Lighter detergents not only protect the toy, but they protect your child’s skin.

Skip the Washing Machine Altogether

Do you have a toy that can’t handle the washer?

There are still plenty of other ways to clean up their favorite bear or rabbit.

To get rid of smells, put the toy in a large plastic bag and sprinkle in some baking soda. Seal the bag and then give it a good shake. Baking soda sops up the smells, and all you need to do is brush it off with a dry washcloth or rag to remove the residue.

If there’s a stain you don’t like, consider using a stain stick or another stain remover to spot clean the toy. It offers far less risk because it only treats part of the toy, and there’s no water required.

Finally, tackle dust mites and germs by sticking it in the freezer for a day. It will kill off any living things, and the bear can tell your child all about its trip to the Arctic. 

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