How to Wash Teddy Bears: A Step-by-Step Guide




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Teddy bears are more than just a toy – they can hold sentimental value and be a treasured possession for years to come. However, with frequent use, teddy bears can become dirty and in need of a good cleaning.

While the thought of washing a teddy bear thorough cleaning it may seem daunting, it’s actually a simple process that can be done at home. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the process of washing a teddy bear and restoring it to its cuddly and clean state.


Check the Label

Before washing your teddy bear, it’s important to check the teddy bear’s care label for any specific care instructions. Some teddy bears may have special cleaning requirements, such as hand washing soapy water only or avoiding certain cleaning products. If the label is missing or unclear, it’s best to err on the side of caution and choose a gentle cleaning method.

Remove Any Loose Dirt or Debris

Before washing your teddy bear, it’s a good idea to remove any loose dirt or debris. This can be done by gently brushing the fur with a soft-bristled brush or using a lint roller. Removing loose dirt and debris before washing stuffed animals can help prevent it from getting trapped in the fabric during the washing process.

Choose a Cleaning Method

There are several methods for washing teddy bears, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Some popular methods include:

  • Machine washing: Place your teddy bear inside a mesh bag and toss it in the washer. Use a gentle cycle and mild detergent. Avoid using fabric softener or bleach, as these can damage the fabric.
  • Hand washing: Fill a basin with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Gently agitate the water and place your teddy bear inside, making sure it is fully submerged. Rinse with clean water and gently squeeze out any excess water.
  • Spot cleaning: For small stains or areas of dirt, spot cleaning may be sufficient. Mix a small amount of mild detergent with water and apply to the affected area with a clean cloth. Gently rub the area and rinse with clean water.

When choosing a cleaning method, consider the type of fabric your teddy bear or stuffed animals is made of and how delicate it is. Always test any cleaning products on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before using them on the entire toy.

Hand Washing

Hand washing is the gentlest way to clean your teddy bear, especially if it is soft toy that is old or fragile. Follow these steps to ensure your teddy bear is clean and well-maintained:

Fill a Sink or Bucket with Cool Water

Fill a sink or bucket with enough cool water to submerge the stuffed animal teddy bear. Make sure the water is not too hot as this can damage the bear’s fur.

Add a Mild Detergent

Add a small amount of mild or gentle detergent to the water. Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach as this can damage the bear’s fur and color.

Wash the Teddy Bear

Gently wash the teddy bear by hand, making sure to cover all areas. Pay extra attention to any stains or dirty spots. Use a soft-bristled brush or cloth to gently scrub the bear if needed.

Rinse the Teddy Bear

Rinse the teddy bear thoroughly with cool water to remove all traces of laundry detergent used. Make sure to rinse all areas, including the bear’s face, ears, and paws.

Squeeze Out Excess Water

After rinsing, gently squeeze out excess water from the teddy bear. Avoid wringing or twisting the bear as this can damage its shape. Use a clean towel to pat the bear dry, removing as much water as possible.

Machine Washing

If you prefer to machine wash your teddy bear, follow these steps:

Place the Teddy Bear in a Pillowcase

Place the old teddy bears or bear in a mesh bag or pillowcase to protect it from getting damaged during the wash cycle.

Choose a Gentle Cycle

Select a gentle cycle with cold water, to prevent any shrinkage or damage to the fabric.

Add a Mild Detergent

Use a mild detergent that is free of bleach or fabric softener to clean stuffed animals to avoid any damage to the teddy bear’s fur or stuffing.

Wash the Teddy Bear

Start the wash cycle and let the machine do its job. Avoid using too much detergent or fabric softener as it can cause the teddy bear to become stiff or discolored.

Air Dry the Teddy Bear

After the wash cycle is complete, remove the teddy bear from the pillowcase and let it air dry. Avoid using a dryer as it can cause damage to the teddy bear’s fur or stuffing. Instead, place the teddy bear on a towel or hang it up to dry.


After washing your teddy bear, it is important to dry it properly to avoid damaging the fur or stuffing. Here are some tips for drying your teddy bear:

Air Dry the Teddy Bear

The best way to dry your teddy bear is to air dry it. Avoid using a tumble dryer as the high heat can damage the fur or cause it to become matted. Here’s how to air dry your teddy bear:

  • Gently squeeze out excess water from the bear.
  • Place the bear on a clean, dry towel or blanket.
  • Leave the bear to air dry in a warm, dry place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
  • Turn the bear over every few hours to ensure even drying.

Fluff and Brush the Teddy Bear

Once your teddy bear is dry, you may notice that its fur looks a little flat or matted. Here’s how to fluff and brush your teddy bear to restore its fluffy appearance:

  1. Hold the bear by its feet and gently shake it to fluff up the fur.
  2. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently brush the fur in the direction of the nap.
  3. If the fur is particularly matted, you can use a wire pet brush or a metal comb to gently tease out the tangles.
  4. Be careful not to brush too hard or tug too roughly on the fur, as this can damage it.

FAQS on Teddy bear cleaning

Can I wash my teddy bear in the washing machine?

Yes, you can wash most teddy bears in the washing machine. However, it’s important to check the care label on your bear to see if there are any specific washing instructions. If the label says “hand wash only” or “spot clean only,” you should avoid washing the bear in the washing machine. All washable stuffed animals will be clearly labelled and it is best to put them in a mesh laundry bag when putting them in the machine.

How often should I wash my teddy bear?

It’s a good idea to wash your teddy bear or your child’s stuffed toys every few months to keep them clean and fresh. However, if your bear gets dirty or smelly before then, it’s okay to wash it sooner. If your child has allergies or asthma, it’s especially important to wash their stuffed toys and animals frequently to reduce the buildup of dust mites and other allergens.

Can I use a hair dryer to dry my teddy bear?

It’s not recommended to use a hair dryer to dry your teddy bear, as the high heat can damage the fur and cause it to become matted or crunchy. Instead, let your teddy bear air dry naturally. If you need to speed up the drying process, you can place the bear in a warm, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

How do I spot clean my teddy bear or plush toys?

To spot clean your teddy bear, you can use a damp cloth or sponge with a small amount of mild liquid laundry detergent or soap. Gently rub the dirty area with the wet cloth again, being careful not to saturate the fabric. Rinse the area with a clean, damp cloth and pat dry with a towel. For tough stains, you may need to repeat this process a few times when cleaning stuffed animals/

What’s the best way to dry my teddy bear?

The best way to dry your teddy bear is to let it air dry naturally. After washing, gently squeeze out any excess water and lay the bear flat on a clean towel or blanket. Make sure to turn the bear over every few hours to ensure even drying. Avoid hanging the bear up by its arms or legs, as this can cause the stuffing to shift and the bear to lose its shape.

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