Teddy bear in washing machine

Can You Put Teddy Bears in the Washing Machine?

When kids find a favourite toy, it can end up going everywhere with them. This often results in it getting dirty pretty quickly, so being able to wash teddy bears is a must.

So, is it possible to wash teddy bears in the machine? We’ll take a look below.


Can You Put Teddy Bears in the Washing Machine?

It’s generally fine to put teddy bears in the washing machine, provided you use the correct cycle.

If possible, check the teddy’s care instructions, which should be on its label. But if the label isn’t there anymore, you can use the general washing instructions below.

Start with a patch test. Rub a bit of diluted laundry detergent somewhere hidden to make sure the bear’s fur is colourfast.

  • If it’s colourfast, pop the toy in the washing machine with a small amount of detergent. Ideally, put the bear in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase for added protection.
  • Use a hand wash or delicate cycle, ideally on a cool setting. This’ll help protect the colours.
  • Once finished, air dry.

It should be fairly obvious, but don’t put the toy in the washing machine if it’s got some kind of battery or mechanical parts inside. At the very least, exposure to water will stop this from working. You’ll need to spot clean toys like this using the method below.


How Often Should You Wash Teddy Bears?

Kids’ toys should be washed every 4 weeks or so depending on how often they’re used. For their favourite toy, try to wash it more regularly. Similarly, if your child has been ill, consider giving their toy a good wash once they’ve recovered.

The easiest way to disinfect a teddy bear is to wash it at a minimum of 60 degrees Celsius, which should be fine for most toys. If this isn’t possible, putting it in the freezer for a day can also work (provided it doesn’t have batteries).

Teddy bear on windowsill

How to Hand-Wash Teddy Bears

Hand-washing teddy bears is fairly easy. If the toy can get wet, submerge it in a bowl of hot water and laundry detergent. Work on any stains or marks with a toothbrush or sponge, and then rinse the toy in clean water.

If it can’t be submerged, simply spot clean with warm soapy water and a cloth. Try to avoid getting the toy too wet, and ideally remove the batteries before you start cleaning.

Regardless of which cleaning method you use, air drying is the best option. With decent airflow, a teddy bear should be dry in a day or two. Drying on a radiator or in the dryer should be fine, provided there are no electronics.


Final Thoughts

As long as you’re careful, putting a teddy bear in the washing machine should be fine. Most modern toys are pretty resilient, and the synthetic stuffing won’t suffer in a washing machine.

Of course, delicate and vintage toys should be kept well away from anything that could cause damage, so spot cleaning is a must.