Why you should not throw your stuffed toys into a washing machine

Your biggest mistake

You have a stuffed toy that requires attention and some TLC. After some googling, you read that you can either hand-wash or use a washer to clean a stuffed toy. Being a tech-savvy individual, you questioned the purpose of hand-washing when you can use a machine (and also because we are so used to throwing our clothes into a washer and have never faced much of an issue doing that so far), and thus decided to give your beloved stuffed toy a good wash in the washer... Only to find that tears have started to appear, its eyes have fallen off, some areas have started to bald... AND MORE?? 😱

Isn't a machine supposed to help us do all the work instead of create more problems?

Why is the washing machine doing this to your precious baby? Why is it not right to throw your stuffed toy in a washer?

That's the problem with machines

And why we always stress that handiwork is so important in preserving memories in this ever so technoid world. Here are 6 reasons why you should not throw your darling stuffed toy into a washing machine:

1) It damages the fabric and stitches of your stuffed toy

Especially during the drying phase, where the drum of your washer spins vigorously to remove all the water. Your stuffed toy undergoes a lot of stress and pressure from being tumbled around at high speeds. As a result, the stitches can come apart and thin fabric can tear.

How washing machines work

2) This also applies to other parts like the eyes, nose, fur, fabric

It's not just the stitches - parts like the eyes, nose, fur and fabric also undergo the same stress and can crack/fall off easily. All these damages can lead to the destruction of the exterior of your stuffed toy.

3) The issue with air-drying (destruction of the interior)

Just like any other clothing, you leave your stuffed toy out to air-dry. After a day or two, the exterior seems dry, and your stuffed toy feels clean and smells amazing!

Except it won't last.

Think about it: your entire toy was soaked in water. Air-drying it will only ensure that the exterior is completely dried, but not the inside. Just like cooking: just because the piece of salmon looks cooked on the outside, doesn't mean that it's cooked on the inside.

The result? Stuffings inside that are still damp can cause the growth of mould, which dirties your stuffings and can produce a musty smell. Additionally, the mould can multiply and might eventually even reach the surface of your stuffed toy, where you can see dark spotted mould stains. Worst case scenario? When the mould stains become permanent because your stuffed toy was not saved in time AND possible regrowth of mould even after deep cleaning.

Left: black mould stains all over bunny’s white body; Right: we had her cleaned, but not all of the stains could be completely removed (we call these "stubborn stains").

4) Lumpy stuffings

Your entire stuffed toy was soaked in water, with its stuffings. This can result in stuffings clumping up together after drying - not something that stuffed toy owners will want, as the feel of it when hugging will be very different... definitely not as soft as before.

5) Then why not dry clean?

The dry cleaning process is largely done by machines, with the drying process being one of very high temperatures and that can damage both the exterior and interior of your stuffed toy.

6) Matted fur as a result of air-drying

If your toy is a furry one, you might realize that its fur has become stiffer and generally less fluffy after drying. That's because you missed out an important step, which is to brush its fur during the drying process.

Left: slightly matted fur which feels stiff and looks flat; Right: freshly brushed up fur that looks and feels fluffy!

The best way to clean stuffed toys

At Stuffed Toys Hospital, we only use 1 method to clean your toys, and here's how:

  1. All stuffings are removed.
  2. Only the "skin" of the toy is washed in water, along with a carefully formulated gentle cleaning agent suitable for sensitive skin.
  3. Air-drying of the toy. Here, if the toy is furry, meticulous fur brushing is done.
  4. Once the toy is completely dried, stuffings are added back, and the toy is sewn up.

Stuffed Toys Hospital provides only the best services, handled with utmost care: from simple services like stitching and addition of stuffings, to tedious repair works like fur addition and fabric replacement - they are all done by hand only.

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