A close-up shot capturing a pair of hands gently scrubbing a colossal teddy bear's fur with soapy water, showcasing the meticulous process of cleaning a giant stuffed animal.

Do you have a collection of oversized stuffed animals that have collected dust and look a little worse for wear? Keeping your favorite plush pals looking their best can seem like an intimidating task, but have no fear!

With the right supplies and techniques, refreshing those giant stuffed cuties can be a cinch.

If you need a quick solution, here’s the fastest way to clean your big stuffed animals: Use a lint roller, vacuum attachment, damp cloth, or carpet cleaner to tackle surface dirt and debris. Then spot treat any tough stains with an upholstery cleaner and let air dry before cuddling again!

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn pro tips for deep cleaning giant plush toys from start to finish. We’ll cover how to thoroughly wash large stuffed animals at home or by using commercial cleaning services for extra big jobs.

Assess the Toy’s Size and Materials

Measure dimensions to determine cleaning approach

When it comes to cleaning oversized stuffed animals, the first step is to assess their size and fabric composition. To start, use a measuring tape to measure the height, width, and depth of your giant stuffed animal. Knowing the precise dimensions will help determine the best way to clean it.

For small stuffed animals under 2 feet tall, you may be able to wash them in the machine. However, for giant stuffed animals over 3 feet tall, you’ll likely need to spot clean by hand or take them to a professional cleaner.

Jot down the measurements and keep them handy for reference. When measuring, be sure to account for any long limbs, ears, horns or protrusions that add substantial size. A 5-foot long giraffe with a 3-foot neck may require a different cleaning approach than a solid 5-foot teddy bear.

Identify fabric composition for washing guidance

The care instructions will vary significantly depending on what fabric your stuffed animal is made from. Most modern stuffed animals have fabric content tags near the seams. Check the tag for the percentage of materials used. Common fabrics include:

  • Polyester – durable, stain-resistant, and machine washable
  • Acrylic – soft, affordable, but pills easily
  • Cotton – natural, soft, breathable but prone to shrinkage
  • Plush fabrics – soft but more delicate pile fabrics

If your stuffed animal is vintage or the tag is missing, look closely at the fabric itself. Polyester and acrylic feel smooth and slightly slick to the touch. 100% cotton may feel rougher or more textured. Plush fabrics are soft and fuzzy.

You can also perform a burn test by burning a small, inconspicuous piece of fabric to determine the composition.

Once you identify the materials, follow the care instructions closely. Polyester, nylon, olefin and acrylics are generally machine washable while plush fabrics, cotton, linen or silk blends may require professional dry cleaning or hand washing.

Washing stuffed animals improperly risks damage, stains, or misshaping.

Remove Surface Dirt

Getting rid of dust bunnies hiding in your giant stuffed animals can be intimidating. But armed with the right tools and techniques, you can safely remove surface grime without damaging those precious plush pals.

Let’s explore someCleaning tips that will keep Babe the Blue Ox and Teddy Rux-Pin looking fluffy and huggable!

Use a lint roller on soft surfaces

Lint rollers are a stuffed animal owner’s BFF for tackling lint, dust, pet hair and other debris on soft, delicate fabrics. Simply roll the sticky sheets across your oversized plushie’s surface to lift away stubborn surface schmutz. This technique works wonderfully on synthetic furs and fabrics like polar fleece.

Pro tip: For best results, opt for a larger lint roller with maximum sticky surface area to quickly cover a giant teddy bear. And replace the sheets frequently to maintain top lint-removing power.

Try a handheld vacuum with brush for textures

Some giant stuffed pals feature molded textures like long shaggy fur or plush corduroy that lint rollers struggle to penetrate. For these, turn to a handheld vacuum cleaner. Lightweight cordless models with motorized brush heads work great to dislodge dirt and debris deep down in the fibers.

Gently glide the brush across the surface, working with the nap direction. The motorized bristles help loosen and suck up stubborn dust and pet hair clinging to textured materials.

An added perk? Many hand vacuums feature removable, washable filters to maintain suction power.

Spot clean with gentle brush and damp cloth

For sticky spots or noticeable stains on your snuggle buddy, don’t reach for harsh cleaners! All you need is a soft cloth, gentle brush and some lukewarm water.

Dip the cloth in the water, wring out thoroughly and gently blot the soiled area. Let it fully dry before proceeding.

If a stain persists, very lightly brush the fibers with a soft bristle toothbrush. This helps lift stuck-on gunk without damaging the delicate fabric.

Take care not to oversaturate the area to prevent interior stuffing damage. And always fully air dry your giant plush to prevent mold or mildew growth.

Do Don’t
Use lint roller on soft surfaces Rub aggressively at stains
Try hand vac with brush nozzle Over-wet the material
Blot stains with damp cloth Use harsh chemicals

With some gentle TLC and the right cleaning methods for the material, you can keep those mega stuffed pals looking fluffy and fantastical. Who said you have to grow out of snuggling your favorite jumbo-sized imaginary friend? ๐Ÿ˜Š

Treat Stains and Discoloration

Keeping your oversized plush pals looking their best requires paying special attention to stubborn stains or discoloration. With some gentle cleaning methods and patience, you can often return your giant stuffed animals to their original vibrant and fluffy glory.

Dab Upholstery Cleaner on Affected Areas

For light stains, an upholstery cleaner specifically designed for stuffed animals is your best first line of defense. Check the care tag and test on an inconspicuous area first to ensure the cleaner is safe for your stuffed friend.

Then, use a clean, soft cloth or sponge to gently dab โ€” don’t rub โ€” the stain with upholstery cleaner. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before blotting away excess moisture with a dry section of cloth. This allows the cleaner time to lift the stain without oversaturating the stuffing.

Repeat as needed until the stain fades, then let air dry completely.

Try Stain Removing Pen on Set-In Stains

For more stubborn stains that resist upholstery cleaner, reach for a stain removing pen. These handy tools utilize targeted stain-fighting ingredients packed into a convenient marker-style applicator. Look for stain remover pens made specifically for fabric and plush toys.

As with the upholstery cleaner, always test on an inconspicuous location first. Then, simply color the stain with the pen and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before blotting โ€” the mechanical action of coloring releases the stain-fighting solution right where you need it.

Allow to fully air dry afterwards.

Let Dry Fully Before Further Cleaning

It’s crucial to let your giant stuffed friend dry completely before vacuuming or brushing. Any remaining moisture could actually set stains instead of removing them or even encourage mold growth inside stuffing. Thorough air drying also prevents musty odors.

Plush toys dry best in an area with plenty of air circulation rather than direct sunlight. For extra large stuffed animals, consider using a fan to speed drying time โ€” just be sure to keep it on a low, gentle setting to avoid damaging fibers or features.

By treating stains as soon as possible and allowing proper drying time, you can keep your oversized plush pals looking their cuddly best for years to come. Check manufacturer instructions for additional care recommendations on your specific stuffed animal.

With some patience and targeted TLC, even longtime beloved giant plushes can continue bringing joy.

Fully Wash Smaller Stuffed Animals

Hand wash in tub with mild detergent and water

When it comes time to clean your smaller stuffed animals, the safest method is to hand wash them in a tub filled with lukewarm water and a small amount of mild liquid detergent (about 1-2 tbsp). This gentle cleaning solution will help lift dirt and oils without being too harsh on the fabrics and stuffing.

Before placing your plushies in the tub, check the care tag if there is one to see if hand washing is recommended. Most modern stuffed animals are safe to immerse in water, but vintage collectibles may require special care. When in doubt, spot test a small inconspicuous area first.

Allow the stuffed animals to soak for 5-10 minutes, gently squeezing and swishing them around to work the detergent through the fibers. Pay special attention to high touch areas like the paws, mouth, and belly by gently scrubbing with your hands or a soft brush.

Rinse thoroughly afterwards until the water runs clear.

Air dry thoroughly before brushing fur

After hand washing, it’s important to let your stuffed animals air dry completely before brushing or storing them. Rushing this step can lead to mildew or bacteria growth. Turn the toy inside out, gently squeeze to remove excess moisture, and let air dry out of direct sunlight for 12-24 hours.

Once fully dry, use a slicker brush or pet comb to smooth out the fur and restore fluffiness. Gently working in sections is best to avoid damaging threads or creating new tangles. Pay extra care around plastic eyes, noses, and other decorations.

Pro tip: Placing a few clean tennis balls in the dryer along with your stuffed animal will help break up clumps in the stuffing and add loft back to the fur through the tumbling action. Just watch closely and remove immediately when dry.

Use tennis balls in dryer to fluff fur

While most stuffed animals shouldn’t be machine dried, adding a couple tennis balls to the dryer is a handy trick for improving airflow and breaking up clumped stuffing on plush toys.

Wait until stuffed animals are 80-90% dry from air drying before attempting the tennis ball technique. The light moisture remaining will allow the stuffing to move around freely so the balls can effectively work out lumps and tangles.

To try this, place 1-3 clean tennis balls into the dryer drum along with the slightly damp stuffed animal. Use the air fluff no heat cycle for 5-10 minutes, checking frequently to avoid overdrying. The tumbling action coupled with the balls will help refresh flattened fur and make stuffing feel like new!

This clever hack is great for restoring fluffy texture to all types of plushies from small teddy bears to carnival prizes. Just be sure to remove plastic parts first and avoid overheating delicate materials like sequins or glitter fabric by keeping a watchful eye.

Deep Clean Oversized Plush Toys

Spot clean whole toy with carpet cleaner

Spot cleaning with a carpet cleaner machine is the easiest way to clean an entire oversized plush toy. First, set up the carpet machine with detergent and hot water per the manufacturer guidelines. Next, select a large area on the toy’s body and use the upward spraying motion of the machine over the entire toy.

Be sure to get any visibly soiled areas and work your way over the whole toy until it is entirely covered with the cleaner and then extracted to remove the dirty water. Antibacterial detergents with odor remediating properties are most effective at lifting out dirt and stains while leaving behind a fresh scent.

Professional carpet cleaning brands like Rug Doctor provide oversized cleaners and detergents well-suited for cleaning large stuffed toys.

Use professional service for extra large items

For really large 4+ feet plush items that are too heavy to handle at home, a professional dry cleaner may be your best option to deep clean the entire toy. Dry cleaners have large capacity machines designed for bigger items like comforters and drapes.

Find a local dry cleaner with excellent Yelp reviews for cleaning large items and inquire about their jumbo toy cleaning service. Expect to pay higher fees as these require specialty machines and handling, but the powerful clean will be worth it to refresh an oversized favorite from the fair or over 3 feet tall beloved teddy bear.

Bonus tip: adding custom stuffed toys scent glands allows you to add your favorite scent to the toy after cleaning for ongoing freshness ๐Ÿ‘ƒ!

Allow 1-2 days drying time after washing

Stuffed animals and plush toys, regardless of size, require ample time for the inner stuffing and materials to fully dry out after deep cleaning them. Leaving wet toys laying around or re-stuffing them while damp can actually grow mold inside ๐Ÿ˜ฌ!

To avoid this, allow washed oversized plushes to air dry outside in the sun for 1-2 days, turning them over halfway through. You can place them on a clean tarp or gently drape them over patio furniture – just don’t let them touch grass or dirt!

For drying indoor toys, use a fan blowing into the cavity to speed up drying the interior stuffing. Feel deep into the toy before considering it 100% dry. Enjoy your fluffy friend’s refreshed, sweet smelling fluff once fully dry!

Maintain Cleanliness

Keeping your beloved giant stuffed animals clean is important for both their longevity and your health. With some simple habits, you can help them stay fresh and hygienic for years of cuddling to come.

Store in clean, breathable bag or bin

When not on display, be sure to keep your oversized plush toys in a clean, breathable home like a fabric bin or bag. Avoid storage containers made from materials like plastic that can trap moisture and odors over time.

Choosing a breathable storage solution allows air to circulate so they don’t get musty.

For extra protection, you can add moisture-absorbing packs like silica gel packets inside the storage bag as well. This will prevent mold or mildew from growing if they are put away damp or stored in a humid area. Just be sure to replace the packs per the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Keep away from heat, moisture, and dirt

In general, extreme temperatures, excess moisture and dirt are the enemies of stuffed animals! Avoid keeping them in basements, garages or attics which can get too hot or cold. Exposure to direct sunlight will also fade colors over time.

When displaying your plushes, placing them on shelving units or in display cubes helps keep them dust-free. If they happen to get dirty, spot clean gently with a damp cloth and brush loose debris away when dry. Harsh cleaning chemicals could damage materials or dye.

Freshen up regularly with vacuuming

One of the easiest ways to keep your giant cuddle buddies clean is giving them a regular once-over with your vacuum hose attachment. This helps remove dust, dirt and other allergens that settle into fabrics over time.

Focus on crevices, seams and areas prone to collecting build up. You’ll be amazed at what comes out! For plushies with glued-on details like eyes, use your vacuum on low suction to avoid snagging.

Additionally, adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil like lavender to your vacuum can help freshen up stuffed animals while cleaning. Just check first that oils won’t stain the specific materials.

If you notice odors lingering even after regular vacuuming, some experts recommend freezing plush toys overnight to kill bacteria. Simply pop them in a plastic bag and let them chill out in your freezer. They’ll be fresh and ready for more playtime after defrosting!

With some diligence, you can keep your snuggle-worthy giants looking close to new for the long haul. Just be attentive to signs they need freshening up, and don’t let dust bunnies take over! Keeping them clean ensures safe and hygienic cuddle time for years of memories ahead. ๐Ÿงก


With some supplies, elbow grease, and TLC, you can get your beloved oversized stuffed pals looking fluffy and fabulous again. By properly assessing their size and materials, tackling stains, washing and drying thoroughly, and storing properly after cleaning, your mega plush toys will stay cuddle-ready for years to come!

With the cleaning tips and techniques outlined above, you’re on your way to pristine stuffed animals that stay cute, clean, and ready for hugging for years to come. Snuggle up with your favorite giant stuffed friend knowing our comprehensive cleaning advice keeps them fresh.

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