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How to Wash Soft Toys in the Washing Machine

Washing soft toys like teddy bears can be an emotional experience for your little one, so it’s extra important that they come out of the wash just as perfectly soft as they went in! Follow the tips in this article to learn how to wash teddy bears and similar toys – making sure to keep your child’s favourite soft toys clean and hygienic.

How to Clean Soft Toys: Preparation

First, check the label

Gentle care is the first step in how to wash a soft toy. It’s a good idea to check the label on your child’s soft toy for washing instructions and advice. Not all soft toys should go into the washing machine – you certainly don’t want your child’s favorite teddy bear to rip apart! If a soft toy is old or fragile, or if it has delicate parts like sequins, glued-on eyes, or sewn-on buttons, don’t run the risk of these coming off in the wash. Also, any toys stuffed with foam beads should not be machine-washed. Avoid machine-washing any toys with mohair, wool, rayon plush, and alpaca fur – as well as toys which are simply too big to fit into your washing machine. You can see our tips below for alternatives to machine washing.

Preparing for the Wash

Once you’ve made sure that a soft toy is safe to machine-wash, take a few extra precautions to protect it! If there are any rips or loose parts, stitch these up so the tear doesn’t worsen in the wash. Place the toy in a zippered pillowcase or mesh bag before placing it in the wash. This will make help prevent any damage during the wash or spin cycle. Making sure your child’s toy is well cared for is an essential part of how to wash a teddy bear. You can even show your child how it’s done, and encourage your child to write a story about their teddy bear’s journey!  

Washing and Drying Soft Toys: The Process

Run the Wash

Next, it’s time to put the soft toy in the washing machine! If you have a front loading washing machine, use Surf excel Matic Front Load, and if you have a Top Loading Machine use Surf excel Matic Top Load or Surf excel Liquid Detergent. Then, select your machine’s hand-wash or delicate cycle to gently wash your child’s soft toys. Be sure to run it on cold or warm water, as hot water may damage the toy and may cause any stains to set. Don't wash the toy with other items that are not colourfast, that are heavily soiled, or that may stain the soft toy.


After the washing machine cycle has finished, it’s a good idea to let the toys air dry away from direct sunlight. You may want to squeeze excess water from the soft toys beforehand (use a clean towel to help with this), but do not wring them. A hair-dryer can also help if you need the toys to dry quickly. If there are any knots in the toy’s ‘fur’, you can pick these clean with a toothpick or fluff the fur up with a clean brush, for extra softness.  

How to Wash Soft Toys by Hand

If a particular soft toy isn’t suitable for the machine, you can spot-clean its surface using a damp cloth and a diluted solution of Surf excel detergent. Remember not to apply too much detergent, or it will be difficult to rinse the suds out! Another easy way to remove odors or surface grease is to place the toy in a bag with a few pinches of baking soda. Shake the toy inside the bag, and the baking soda will absorb any grease or odors!

Afterwards, shake the toy free of any baking soda. With the above tips, you’ve now learned the essentials of how to clean soft toys. You can now make sure that these toys will be the object of your child’s love and imagination, and they will stay safe and clean throughout the years!