How to Make a Stuffed Animal Fluffy Again: Easy Tips and Tricks



A child gently fluffing and reshaping a teddy bear, with a focused expression. A small table with a brush and a spray bottle of fabric softener is visible, set in a bright and cheerful playroom.

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Stuffed animals are often our childhood companions, and we tend to hold onto them even as we grow older. However, over time, these beloved toys can become matted, dirty, and lose their fluffiness. Fortunately, there are several ways to restore a stuffed animal to its former glory and make it fluffy again.

Over time, stuffed animals can lose their fluffiness due to wear, washing, or long-term storage. Reviving their softness and fluffiness can breathe new life into them.With these methods, you can help restore the fluffiness and softness of a beloved stuffed animal, making it feel cozy and cherished once more. Always check the care label before applying any treatments to ensure they are safe for the toy’s material.

Key Takeaways on Making Stuffed Toys Soft Again

  • Washing: Gentle Cycle: Washing the stuffed animal on a gentle cycle with mild detergent can help fluff up the fibers. Ensure you follow any care labels and instructions on the toy.
  • Brushing: Soft-Bristled Brush: After washing and drying, gently brush the stuffed animal’s fur with a soft-bristled brush to detangle and fluff up the fibers.
  • Tumble Drying: Tennis Balls Trick: Place the stuffed animal in a dryer with a couple of clean tennis balls or dryer balls. The balls will help fluff up the stuffing inside as they bounce around. Use a low heat or air-only setting.
  • Restuffing: New Filling: If the stuffed animal has lost its firmness, consider opening a small seam and adding fresh stuffing. This can rejuvenate the toy and make it feel brand new.
  • Steam: Handheld Steamer: Gently steam the fur with a handheld steamer, keeping the steamer a few inches away. The steam can help puff up flattened fur. Brush afterward to shape and fluff.
  • Hair Conditioner: Softening Treatment: Mix a small amount of hair conditioner with water and gently comb it through the stuffed animal’s fur. Rinse with water (if the toy can be washed) or use a damp cloth to remove the conditioner. This can make the fur softer.
  • Air Drying: Shake and Fluff: After washing, shake the stuffed animal gently to fluff up the fur. As it air dries, periodically fluff the fur to ensure it dries in a fluffy state.
  • Storage Tips: Prevent Compression: When storing, ensure the stuffed animal isn’t compressed under heavy objects, which can flatten its fur. Store it in a breathable bag or box in a cool, dry place.

Steps to Make a Stuffed Animal Soft Again:

  1. Gentle Wash:
    • Check the stuffed animal’s care label for washing instructions.
    • Place the stuffed animal in a pillowcase or mesh laundry bag to protect it.
    • Use a gentle cycle with cold water and a mild detergent.
    • Avoid using fabric softener directly, as it can leave a residue.
  2. Vinegar and Baking Soda:
    • Add 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. This acts as a natural fabric softener.
    • For stuffed animals that are particularly dirty, consider adding 1/2 cup of baking soda during the wash cycle.
  3. Air Dry:
    • After washing, gently squeeze out excess water.
    • Reshape the stuffed animal and let it air dry. Avoid direct sunlight, which can fade its color.
    • If you’re in a hurry, use a hairdryer on a cool setting, but be careful not to overheat or melt any synthetic fibers.
  4. Tumble Dry (optional):
    • If the care label allows, you can also tumble dry the stuffed animal on a no-heat or low-heat setting.
    • Add a few clean tennis balls or dryer balls to the dryer. They help fluff up the stuffed animal and prevent clumping of any internal stuffing.
  5. Brushing:
    • Once the stuffed animal is completely dry, use a soft-bristled brush or a pet brush to gently brush the fur. This helps untangle any matted fur and restores its softness.
    • Brush in the direction of the fur’s natural grain.
  6. Fabric Softener Spray:
    • Mix a small amount of fabric softener with water in a spray bottle.
    • Lightly mist the stuffed animal with the mixture.
    • Gently brush the fur as it dries.

Preparing to Clean: Essential Supplies You Need

Before you start cleaning your old stuffed animal, gather these essential supplies to make the process easier and more effective:

  • Clean towel

  • Stiff-bristled hairbrush or dish brush

  • Vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment (optional)

  • Fabric softener (optional)

Preparing to Clean 1

Step-by-Step Guide: Cleaning Your Stuffed Animal with Care

To clean your stuffed animal and restore its fluffiness, follow these steps:

  1. Check the label: Always read the care label on your toy to determine the appropriate cleaning methods and materials.

  2. Remove loose debris: Use a soft-bristled brush or lint roller to eliminate any loose dirt and debris from the fur.

  3. Hand wash or machine wash: Follow the label instructions to either hand wash or machine wash the stuffed animal using a gentle detergent and cold water. If you are cleaning stuffed animals in a machine, make sure it is on a short and gentle cycle and use a mesh laundry bag. Alternatively you can let it soak for about half an hour before rinsing.

  4. Dry the stuffed animal: Gently squeeze out excess water, avoiding twisting or wringing. Lay the toy flat on a towel and roll it up to absorb the remaining moisture. Let it air dry completely.

Step by Step Guide 1

Using a Steam Cleaner to Refresh Stuffed Animals

Another method to clean and refresh your stuffed animals is by using a steam cleaner. Steam cleaning can help remove dirt and allergens, sanitize the toy, and restore its fluffiness. Here’s how to use a steam cleaner on your stuffed animals:

Step 1: Check the care label Before steam cleaning your stuffed animal, make sure to check the care label for any specific cleaning instructions. Some toys may not be suitable for steam cleaning due to their materials or delicate features.

Step 2: Prepare the steam cleaner Fill the steam cleaner’s water tank according to the manufacturer’s instructions and allow it to heat up. Make sure to use a handheld steam cleaner with a gentle, low-pressure setting.

Step 3: Steam clean the stuffed animal Hold the steam cleaner a few inches away from the stuffed animal’s surface and release the steam in short bursts. Move the steam cleaner slowly across the toy’s surface, focusing on dirty or stained areas. Be cautious around delicate features like buttons, ribbons, or embroidery to avoid damaging them.

Step 4: Let the stuffed animal air dry After steam cleaning, allow the stuffed animal to air dry completely in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources.

Step 5: Fluff up the fur Once the stuffed animal is completely dry, use a soft-bristled brush or comb to gently fluff up the fur. Brush in the direction the fur naturally falls to avoid creating tangles or pulling out fur.

Steam cleaning can be an effective way to clean and refresh your stuffed animals, but it’s essential to use caution and ensure the toy is suitable for this cleaning method. Always check the care label and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

Using a Steam Cleaner

Proper Drying Techniques: Ensuring Your Stuffed Animal Stays Soft & Fluffy

To dry your new stuffed animal and maintain its fluffiness, follow these tips:

  1. Use a towel to remove excess water: Gently rub the towel over the fur to soak up as much water as possible.

  2. Do not twist or wring the toy: Twisting or wringing can damage the stuffing and fur.

  3. Place in a well-ventilated area to air-dry: Keep the stuffed animal away from direct sunlight or heat, which can cause fading or shrinking.

  4. Use a hair dryer on low heat (optional): Hold the dryer at least six inches away from the toy, moving it around to prevent overheating.

The Art of Fluffing: Tips to Make Your Stuffed Animal Cuddly Again

Once your stuffed animal is clean and dry, use these techniques to make stuffed animals soft fluff up its fur and make it cuddly again:

  1. Use a hairbrush or comb: Gently brush the fur in its natural direction to remove tangles and fluff it up.

  2. Blow dry with a hair dryer: On a low heat setting, hold the dryer about 6 inches away from the fur, moving it around to evenly distribute the heat and fluff up the fur.

  3. Tumble dry with a dryer sheet (optional): Place the stuffed animal in a pillowcase or mesh bag with a dryer sheet. Use a low heat setting and let it tumble dry for 10-15 minutes to fluff up the fur and remove static cling.

Remember to be gentle when fluffing your stuffed animals to avoid damaging the fur or stuffing. With patience and the right techniques, your furry friend will be soft and cuddly once more.

The Art of Fluffing

FAQs on How to Make Teddy Bears or A Stuffed Animal Soft Again

Can I wash my stuffed animal in a washing machine?

Before washing your favorite stuffed animal in a washing machine, check the care label for specific instructions. Some stuffed animals can be machine washed, while others may require hand washing or dry cleaning. If machine washing is permitted, use a gentle cycle, cold water, and a mild detergent to make the stuffed animals soft – see our guide to cleaning stuffed animals here : cleaning stuffed animals

Can I use fabric softener when cleaning my stuffed animal?

Yes, you can use fabric softener when cleaning your stuffed animal. Dilute the fabric softener with water according to the instructions on the bottle before applying it to the toy. Fabric softener can help soften the fur of lumpy stuffed animals and make it more plush.

How can I dry my stuffed animal without damaging it?

To dry your stuffed animal or plush toys without causing damage, gently squeeze out excess water and avoid twisting or wringing the toy – get it to slightly damp. Place it in a well-ventilated area to air-dry, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Alternatively, you can use a hair dryer on a low heat setting or tumble dry on low temperature setting with a dryer sheet inside a pillowcase or mesh bag – put it on air dry setting.

What kind of brush should I use to fluff up my stuffed animal?

Use a soft-bristled hairbrush or comb to slowly brush your stuffed animal’s fur afterward. A stiff-bristled brush can or soft comb can also be used for more matted fur but be cautious not to damage the fur or create bald spots. Slowly brush in the same direction to avoid damaging.

If there is any damage on your teddy bear, try a fabric or crafts store to get some replacement fur or some replacement polyester fiberfill stuffing to make your stuffed animal nice and plump again. You can do this periodically anyway to remove the unhygienic stuffing with all those icky germs. Just remove stuffing and replace with new stuff.

What kind of brush

My stuffed animal has delicate features, like buttons or ribbons. How should I clean it?

For stuffed animals with delicate features, it’s best to spot clean using a damp cloth and mild detergent. Gently dab at the stained or dirty areas, being careful not to damage any delicate parts. Avoid submerging the toy in water, just damp fur gently and allow it to air dry completely.

Can I use a vacuum cleaner to clean my stuffed animal?

Yes, you can use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove loose dirt and debris from your stuffed animal’s fur and make stuffed animals fluffy again. However, be gentle to avoid damaging the fur or pulling out any stuffing.

How often should I clean my teddy bear?

The frequency of cleaning your stuffed animal depends on how often it is used and its exposure to dirt and allergens. For frequently used stuffed animals or those with allergies, consider cleaning them every few months. For toys that are rarely used or displayed, cleaning once a year should suffice to keep the stuffed animal look.

My stuffed animal is old and delicate. How can I safely clean and fluff it up?

For old and delicate stuffed animals, it’s best to be extra cautious. Check the care label for specific instructions, and consider spot cleaning with a damp cloth and mild detergent. When fluffing the fur, use a soft-bristled brush and gently comb in the direction the fur naturally falls. Be patient, and accept that some older stuffed animals may not be able to regain their original fluffiness entirely.

stuffed animal is old and delicate

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