As parents, you’re probably all too familiar with the complete and utter anguish that is felt by a small child who has been unwillingly separated from his favourite cuddly toy or comfort item. Whether it’s been lost or mislaid somewhere, or the separation is only temporary, a toddler without his beloved teddy is a force to be reckoned with. Stuffed animals, teddy bears and comfort blankets get taken EVERYWHERE, and as a result seem to pick up a lot of dirt, grime and general grubbiness. If the cleanliness of your little one’s cuddly toy has crossed over from reasonable to revolting, here’s how you can give it a clean-up and ensure more hygienic snuggle times from now on:
Pop it in the wash at a low temperature & easy on the spin!
If the soft toy has a care label, have a look at the washing instructions for anything specific that you need to know about. Choose a lower temperature than you’d use for washing clothes, opt for a mild, non-biological detergent to avoid any irritation for your child’s skin, and make sure your spin cycle isn’t too fast – we wouldn’t want teddy getting dizzy!
Use a pillow case for protection
It’s a good idea to wash cuddly toys inside a protective bag to avoid any snags or lost parts; use a pillowcase if you don’t have a laundry bag. Finally, avoid tumble drying, as the heat could cause glue to melt or any synthetic materials to be damaged.
Hand-wash to be on the safe side
Any soft toys that are particularly old, delicate or have lots of embellishment might be better to be washed by hand, just in case… Make sure you rinse toys well to get rid of all traces of soap or washing liquid, and let them air dry for beautifully fresh-smelling results.
Spot-clean nasty stains
Sticky hands, nap time dribbles and mystery marks can make an otherwise-clean cuddly toy seem unappealing. If the dirt is confined to a small area, it’s possible to spot-clean with a damp cloth or sponge rather than subjecting your child to the trauma of seeing teddy taking a ride in the washing machine!
Dry clean for all-round freshness using baking soda!
For teddies that aren’t suitable for machine-washing, or just need a bit of a freshen-up rather than a full-on soak, you can give them a dry cleaning treatment. Baking soda is great for absorbing odours and getting things smelling fresh, as well as absorbing oils and dirt. A great tip is to put both the baking soda and the toy in a bag (a freezer bag or well-tied plastic carrier bag is ideal), and give it a good shake. Let the toy rest for a while, before dusting the excess powder off. You could use a vacuum cleaner, or a small hairbrush, to make sure it’s all gone. Dry shampoo is an alternative to baking soda, which will leave your cuddly friends smelling sweet in no time.