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How to Clean and Sanitize Stuffed Animals

Stuffed animals, plushies and favorite teddy bears that get loved on can pick up germs, especially when held by sick kids. Cleaning and sanitizing them will get them back into waiting arms in no time.

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By Mary Gagliardi
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Some stuffed animals and plushies can be safely machine washed, and easily added to the clothes washer along with your other laundry for cleaning. When used as directed, adding Clorox® Laundry Sanitizer to the washer makes it easy to clean and sanitize it all in the same laundry load. 

Other stuffed animals and teddy bears labeled “spot clean” or “do not wash” require a different approach: vacuuming first to remove dust and dirt, and then sanitizing with Clorox® Disinfecting Mist. Check the plushie care label and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Gather your supplies

Steps to sanitize non-washable plush toys

  1. 1

    Vacuum all the surfaces

    Using the upholstery attachment, vacuum the entire surface of the toy to remove dust and dirt.

  2. 2

    Spot clean any stains

    Spray Clorox® Disinfecting Mist onto any stains and use the microfiber cloth to wipe them away.


    Pre-test in an inconspicuous area before use.

  3. 3

    Spray plushie all over with Clorox® Disinfecting Mist

    Spray until all surfaces are wet. Do not saturate.


    Treated surface must remain visibly wet for 1 minute to sanitize.

  4. 4

    Air dry

    Allow plush toy to air dry completely. 

Steps to sanitize machine washable plush toys

  1. 1

    Add the stuffed animal to the clothes washer

    Place the plushie in the mesh bag first, then add it to the clothes washer. You can add it along with other delicate laundry or wash it by itself.

  2. 2

    Select a delicate cycle and warm water

    If possible, select a warmer water temperature for better cleaning. Otherwise, follow the instructions on the care label.

    washing machine controls
  3. 3

    Load the dispensers

    Add Clorox® Laundry Sanitizer to the softener compartment; use the detergent compartment to add the laundry detergent.


    The laundry sanitizer must be added using the softener compartment; do not pour it onto the laundry or into the detergent compartment when loading the machine.

    washing machine dispenser
  4. 4

    Start the washer

    The sanitizer will be added at the correct time by the softener dispenser. 

    washing machine start button
  5. 5

    Tumble dry

    If you washed the plushie by itself, add a few cotton t-shirts to the dryer along with the plushie to help it tumble properly. 


    Air dry if tumble drying is not recommended on the care label.

    washing machine knob