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How to Wash Plushies: A Guide to Proper Plushie Care

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We all love our plushies. Whether it’s a cute stuffed animal or a kawaii anime friend, we want the best for them. We treat them with the utmost care, hold them tight when we need them, and keep them safe. However, sometimes, due to time or less than ideal handling, they need tender love and care in the form of a good washing.

Let’s look at how to wash Japanese plushies!

Two Rilakkuma plushie bears in a backpack pocket.

Image via Shutterstock

Maintenance Is Key

The first step of plush toy care is maintenance. Regular plushie maintenance is easy and can save on washing and drying time overall. All it takes is a lint roller. 

Lint rollers are sticky, but not sticky enough to leave residue or cause damage. They pick up any dust that usually builds up and gives plushie a dirty appearance. 

Don’t have a lint roller? Just use tape! As long as it’s not too sticky, it will do the same job perfectly.

However, if there are stains, or it’s been too long for this method to work, you may have to give your plushie a serious bath!

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Know Your Plushie

Before washing your plushie, you have to look at it carefully to determine what method is best. How old it is can determine if it needs to be hand washed or just machine washed. If it’s only dirty in one spot, you can just use the spot washing technique. If it has a lot of parts to it, hand washing is less likely to damage it.

Age, size, parts, and the level of dirtiness are all important things to think about before choosing one of these washing methods.

Doing It By Hand

For those who want to avoid using a washing machine, there are two different ways to wash a stuffed animal or plushie friend: spot washing and sink washing. Both methods require water, a small amount of soap, and a washcloth. 

Whichever one you choose, there are some rules you should follow. First, avoid hot water. Use warm water or cold water instead. For soap — non-bleach, unscented laundry detergent is often the best choice, but some people also use hand-friendly dish soap. Last, microfiber washcloths are recommended for this process.

Three Hello Kitty plushies in a basket at a Sanrio/Hello Kitty store

Image via Shutterstock

The spot wash, or surface wash, method is pretty easy. Prepare your water and soap in a bowl. Dip your washcloth into the soapy water and dab it onto problem areas until they are nice and clean. Light scrubbing is okay too. 

If you don’t have a microfiber towel, a kids toothbrush is soft enough to lightly clean it too. Simply rinse the areas you cleaned with clean water after.

The sink method is also a simple one. Prepare the soapy water in a sink (or a bathtub for larger plushies). Place the plushie in the water and let it soak for a little. Lightly scrub any problem areas with a towel, kids toothbrush, or your hands.

Rinse it in clean water and squeeze out any excess soap. When you’re done, gently squeeze out any excess water.

Washing Machines

If your plushie is newer and can handle this method, all you need is a washing machine, a mesh washer bag or pillow case, and some extra laundry. Top loader washing machines with agitators should be avoided.

First, place your plushie into your washer bag. If you don’t have a washer bag, just use a pillow case and seal the top with a hair tie. This will help the plushie not to get too rattled around.

Set the washing machine to a delicate setting with warm or cold water, use a mild detergent, and put the plushie inside. If you want to lessen the rattling, just put in some more pillow cases or towels to act as cushioning for your friend. Then, just turn it on. Once it’s finished washing, DO NOT put it in the dryer. Read on to discover the safest way to dry your squeaky clean plushie!

A massive display of Pokemon plushies including pikakchu and snorlax

Image via Shutterstock

How to Dry Your Plushie

There are three easy ways to dry your plushie after squeezing out any excess water. The first and best is air drying it, by hanging it in a warm, dry space. However, you can also let it dry in the sun. 

Sun drying is a little tedious though, because you have to flip it every hour. Plus, if you leave it for too long, your little friend can get sun damage. And we don’t want that, so you really have to watch it.

The last method is blow drying. The problem with this method is that some plushies use synthetic materials. That means that if the temperature is too high, you might damage it. The best way to avoid this is to use the cold or warm settings on the blow dryer while avoiding any higher settings.

But after drying your little friend, they’ll be all clean and ready for cuddles!

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