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How To Wash a Teddy Bear in the Washing Machine

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Washing a cherished teddy bear can seem like a daunting task. You want to clean it without causing any damage. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of how to wash a teddy bear in the washing machine safely and effectively.


To wash a teddy bear in the washing machine, first check the care label to ensure it’s machine-washable. Remove any removable parts and secure any loose threads or tears. Place the bear in a mesh laundry bag or zippered pillowcase, and wash on a gentle cycle with cold water and mild detergent. After washing, air dry the teddy bear flat on a clean towel, away from direct sunlight. Avoid machine washing antique, delicate, or electronic bears.

Preliminary Steps Before Washing

Before you toss your teddy bear into the washing machine, there are some preliminary steps you should take.

  1. Check the Label: Not all teddy bears are machine washable. Look for a care label on the toy. If it says “dry clean only” or “hand wash only,” do not put it in the washing machine.
  2. Inspect the Teddy Bear: Look for any tears or loose threads. If you find any, mend them before washing to prevent further damage. Also, remove any removable parts such as clothing, accessories, or batteries.
  3. Prepare the Teddy Bear for Washing: Place the teddy bear in a mesh laundry bag or a zippered pillowcase. This will protect it from the vigorous movements of the washing machine.

Washing Machine Settings

The settings on your washing machine are crucial to the safe washing of your teddy bear.

  1. Select the Gentle Cycle: The gentle cycle is less vigorous and reduces the risk of damaging the teddy bear.
  2. Use Cold Water: Hot water can cause colors to fade and may damage certain materials. Always select a cold water setting when washing your teddy bear.
  3. Use Mild Detergent: Harsh detergents can damage the fabric of your teddy bear. Opt for a mild or baby-friendly detergent.

Risks and Precautions

Washing a teddy bear in a machine comes with certain risks. These include damaging the toy, tearing seams, clumping the stuffing, and dislodging parts like eyes or accessories. To mitigate these risks:

  1. Secure Loose Parts: Stitch up any tears and secure loose parts before washing.
  2. Avoid Washing Machines with Agitators: These machines can be harsh on stuffed toys. If possible, use a front-loading machine or one without an agitator.
  3. Air Dry the Teddy Bear: After washing, air dry the teddy bear instead of using a dryer. Heat can damage the toy.

Post-Washing Care

After washing your teddy bear, it’s essential to dry it properly. Air drying is the best method. Simply lay the bear flat on a clean towel and let it dry naturally. Avoid direct sunlight, which can cause colors to fade. If you need to speed up the process, use a hair dryer on a low heat setting.

When Not to Machine Wash

Remember, not all teddy bears are suitable for machine washing. Antique or delicate bears, bears with electronic components, and bears made of delicate materials like silk or wool should not be machine washed. Instead, consider surface cleaning or taking them to a professional cleaner.

By following these steps, you can ensure your teddy bear is cleaned effectively while minimizing the risk of damage. Remember, always check the care label and when in doubt, opt for hand washing or professional cleaning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use fabric softener when washing a teddy bear in the machine?

Yes, you can use fabric softener. It can help to keep the teddy bear’s fur soft and fluffy. However, opt for a mild or baby-friendly fabric softener to prevent any potential damage.

How often should I wash my child’s teddy bear?

The frequency of washing depends on how dirty the teddy bear gets. Generally, washing it once every month is sufficient. However, if your child frequently uses the teddy bear or if it gets dirty quickly, you might need to wash it more often.

What should I do if the teddy bear still looks dirty after washing?

If the teddy bear still looks dirty after washing, you can try spot cleaning. Use a soft cloth dampened with a mild soap solution and gently rub the dirty area. Rinely the area with a clean damp cloth and air dry.

Can I use bleach to remove stubborn stains from the teddy bear?

It’s best to avoid using bleach on teddy bears as it can be too harsh and potentially damage the fabric and color. Instead, try a mild detergent or a stain remover that is safe for use on colored fabrics.

What if the teddy bear’s stuffing gets clumped after washing?

If the stuffing gets clumped after washing, try gently breaking up the clumps with your hands while the teddy bear is still damp. If the stuffing is still clumped after the bear is dry, you can consider replacing the stuffing.

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