Can You Wash Plushies In The Washing Machine?



Can You Wash Plushies In The Washing Machine

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Yes, most plushies can be washed in the washing machine.

Plushies, those cherished companions that bring joy to both young and old, often find themselves in need of a little refreshment. Whether it’s due to everyday dirt and grime or the aftermath of a wild tea party with teddy bears, knowing how to properly clean your plushies is essential.

So, can you toss them in the washing machine for a spa day of their own? In most cases, the answer is a reassuring yes! But there are some vital considerations to keep in mind to ensure your beloved plushies emerge from the wash looking as good as new.

In this article, we’ll delve into the dos and don’ts of washing plushies in the washing machine, alternative cleaning methods, and address some common questions.

Dos and Don’ts of Wash Plushies In The Washing Machine


  • Check the Care Tag: Always begin by inspecting the care tag on your plushie. The manufacturer’s washing instructions provide crucial information for the best cleaning method. Following these guidelines is the safest bet.
  • Use the Gentle/Delicate Cycle: When using the washing machine, opt for the gentlest cycle available. Settings like Delicate or Gentle are your plushie’s best friends as they minimize agitation, reducing the risk of damage.
  • Cold Water and a Small Amount of Detergent: Cold water is your go-to temperature choice for washing plushies. It helps preserve colors and material integrity. Use a minimal amount of mild detergent to prevent residue buildup.
  • Protect Your Plushie: Place your plushie in a protective vessel before loading it into the washing machine. Options include a mesh laundry bag, a zippered pillowcase, or a regular pillowcase with the ends securely tied. This extra layer safeguards against wear and tear.
  • Air Dry: Once the washing cycle is complete, allow your plushie to air dry. Hanging it in a well-ventilated area is the gentlest method to maintain its shape and softness.


  • Ignore the Care Tag: Disregarding the care tag’s instructions can lead to unfortunate mishaps during washing. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Overload the Washing Machine: It might be tempting to toss in a whole plushie collection, but overcrowding the washing machine can result in uneven cleaning and potential damage. Stick to one or two plushies per load.
  • Harsh Detergents: Avoid using detergents with bleach or strong chemicals, as they can harm the plush material and cause color fading. Stick to mild, gentle detergents.
  • Hot Water: Steer clear of hot water settings, as they can also lead to color fading and material damage. Stick with cold water for a safer wash.
  • High Heat Drying: Just as you avoid high heat in the washing machine, do the same in the dryer. Excessive heat can cause the plush material to shrink or become misshapen. Always opt for air drying.

Steps To Wash Plushies In The Washing Machine:

Now that we’ve covered the dos and don’ts, let’s break down the steps to washing your plushies in the washing machine:

Step 1

Inspect the Care Tag: Begin by checking the care tag on your plushie for the manufacturer’s washing instructions.

Step 2

Prepare Your Plushie: Place your plushie inside a protective vessel, such as a mesh laundry bag, a zippered pillowcase, or a regular pillowcase with the ends securely tied.

Step 3

Select Gentle Cycle: Choose the gentlest cycle available on your washing machine, such as Delicate or Gentle.

Step 4

Add Detergent: Use a minimal amount of mild detergent to ensure a gentle yet effective cleaning process.

Step 5

Set Water Temperature: Opt for cold water to preserve colors and material integrity.

Step 6

Start the Washing Machine: Commence the wash cycle and let the machine work its magic.

Step 7

Air Dry: After the washing cycle is complete, remove your plushie from the protective vessel and hang it in a well-ventilated area to air dry.

Alternative Washing Methods For Plushies:

While the washing machine is a convenient option for cleaning plushies, there are situations where alternative methods might be necessary:

  • Hand Washing: If your plushie lacks a care tag or seems exceptionally delicate, consider hand washing. Fill a basin with cold water and a small amount of mild detergent. Gently agitate the water, submerge the plushie, and use your hands to clean it. Rinse thoroughly with cold water and air dry.
  • Spot Cleaning: For minor stains or dirt, use a soft cloth or sponge dampened with mild soapy water to spot-clean your plushie. Pat the affected area gently and air dry.
  • Surface Cleaning: To remove surface dust and debris, use a lint roller or a soft brush without the need for water.
  • Freezing Method: To address odors, place your plushie in a sealed plastic bag and put it in the freezer for a few hours. Cold temperatures will help kill odor-causing bacteria. Allow it to return to room temperature and gently shake out any remaining ice crystals.


Can all plushies be washed in the washing machine?

Answer: Yes, most plushies can be washed in the washing machine, but always check the care tag or manufacturer’s instructions for specific guidelines.

How often should I wash my plushies?

Answer: The frequency of washing plushies depends on usage and exposure to dirt and dust. Generally, washing every few months or when visibly soiled is a good practice.

Can I use fabric softener when washing plushies?

Answer: It’s best to avoid fabric softener, as it can leave a residue on the plush material. Stick to a mild detergent.

Can I wash electronic or battery-operated plushies in the washing machine?

Answer: Electronic or battery-operated plushies should not be machine-washed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, usually involving spot or surface cleaning.

Can I dry my plushie in the dryer?

Answer: It’s recommended to air dry plushies to prevent potential damage from high heat. Avoid using the dryer unless the care tag specifically permits it.

Final Words:

In conclusion, the vast majority of plush toys and stuffed animals can be rejuvenated through a careful washing process in the washing machine. By adhering to the dos and don’ts outlined in this article and consulting the care tag for instructions, you can maintain your plushies’ cleanliness, softness, and cuddle-worthiness.

However, always remember that some plushies may require alternative cleaning methods, such as hand washing or spot cleaning, to ensure their longevity and appearance. With proper care, your plushies can continue to bring comfort and delight for years to come.

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