How to Clean Stuffed Animals in the Washing Machine

Did you know it’s perfectly safe to throw many stuffed animals in the washing machine? On gentle cycle using warm or cold water, a washing machine will get your stuffed animals clean without ruining them!

My daughter refers to her stuffed animals as her “friends”. She takes them everywhere and consequently, they have gotten quite dirty.

Tips for Cleaning Stuffed Animals Before

Especially Minnie Mouse, her favorite. Several spots are visible and she just has a dingy, dirty stuffed animal look.

Know when It's okay to disregard the Care Label - The care label instructs to hand wash

The care label instructs to hand wash, but after a quick examination I decided to disregard that recommendation. She and the other two don’t have any glued on parts or delicate clothing. They are polyester and have plastic pellets not foam balls. I figured I’d take my chances on using the washing machine.How to Wash Stuffed Animals

The washing machine was set to delicate cycle, on turned the water, and in went the soap and stuffed animals. I closed the top and they were washed. All of them survived! Minnie Mouse was by far the dirtiest and all the spots didn’t come out the first time. So I applied some Spray N’ Wash, scrubbed a little, and ran her again. That did the trick.

Afterwards I hung them up to dry.

They are now all clean and smell nice and fresh!


  • The care label – if it can be hand washed, it can likely withstand the delicate cycle in the washing machine. Your washing machine may even have a hand wash cycle.
  • Material – Take notice of the care label and use your sense of touch as well as sight to thoroughly examine all parts of the stuffed animal to be washed. Polyester and acetate (a form of cotton) are fine to wash.
    The stuffed animals I washed have plastic pellets and were fine, but you wouldn’t want to machine wash something with foam balls such as Beanie Babies. Be cautious of delicate clothing items and things that are glued on, they may not survive!
  • Age – The older it is, the more fragile it will be.


  • Ere on the side of caution if using a top loading washer with an agitator by putting stuffed animals in a mesh bag to prevent them from balling up or snagging.
  • Always use warm or cold (NOT HOT) water and run the delicate or hand wash cycle.
  • After you wash stuffed animals, be sure to hang dry! You don’t want to melt any glued on or plastic parts.
To clean hard toys that can unquestioningly be immersed in water, check out this recipe for an all-natural disinfectant rinse and let your kids wash their own toys!

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