Stuffed animals and plush toys are so adorable that kids as well as adults love the way they look and feel. Because of their softness and plush qualities, they have an almost magnetic ability to attract dust and other particulates from the air. That can cause problems for anyone who suffers from asthma or allergies, so it’s important to know how to clean stuffed animals properly.
Keep Stuffed Animals and Plush Toys Clean to Alleviate Allergy Symptoms
Plush toys should be vacuumed regularly to maintain cleanliness. Even if they’re not played with or exposed to dirt and irritants through daily use, stuffed toys on display can collect dust. Regular vacuuming is essentially, but be sure to use the lowest setting possible. It will do a thorough job without potentially damaging the toys by pulling on fur or plush fabric, as a high setting could.
Use a dusting brush for toys with longer fibers. A light brushing motion to gently lift the fibers to loosen particles. For smooth materials, use an upholstery, drapery or mattress tool. You should avoid using a crevice tool or any other attachment that reduces the opening to the vacuum, as they effectively increase suction and can be the same as using a higher setting.
If you do use the wand without a tool, keep it at least 4” away from the toy, to prevent damage. If you have any doubts, test it on the inside of your forearm arm. If you can just feel the suction, it’s OK. If you see the skin pulling, it’s too strong.
Cleaning a Very Dirty Stuffed Animal or Plush Toy
Some plush toys that have become very dirty can be machine-washed or can be spot-cleaned by using normal cleaning products. Always check the label for cleaning instructions, and if you’re using cleaning agents, first test them on a small, inconspicuous spot on the toy to see if it will cause damage.
To machine wash, put the toy in a pillow case with the open end loosely tied and use a gentle, cold water cycle with a mild dye free and scent free detergent. Put the plush animal in the dryer on a gentle and low setting, but only long enough to get it mostly dry. Then let it air dry to finish cleaning the plush toy.
An Easy Way to Remove Dust Mites
Those with allergies are often affected most severely by dust mites which can thrive in places like furry, soft stuffed toys. A trick to get rid of mites is to wrap the toy in a plastic bag and freeze it overnight to kill them. Make sure the toy is dry and the bag is as air tight as possible, to prevent any moisture damage during the treatment.