how to refresh older stuffed animals
As many of my readers are likely aware, I have a large collection of stuffed animals, but my favorite one is the first generation Jellycat Bashful Bunny that I have had for the past 10 years or so. Recently I noticed that my bunny was starting to turn purple, likely from the purple stain that is applied to my hair, which bleeds onto anything when given the opportunity to do so. As Jellycat no longer makes the first generation bashfuls (they have been replaced with a second generation that uses a different fabric), I decided that my bunny needed to be refreshed, and as there is not really any good documentation on how to clean a high-end stuffed animal, I figured I would write a blog on it.
understanding what you’re dealing with
What the stuffed animal is made out of is important to know about before coming up with a strategy to refresh it. If the stuffed animal has plastic pellets to help it sit right (which the Jellycat Bashfuls do), then you need to use lower temperatures to ensure the pellets don’t melt. If there are glued on components (as is frequently the case with lower-end stuffed animals), forget about trying this and just buy a new one.
If the stuffed animal has vibrant colors, you should probably avoid using detergent, or, at the very least, you should use less detergent than you would normally. These vibrant colors are created by staining white fabric, rather than dyeing it, in other words, the pigment is sitting on the surface of the fabric, rather than being part of the fabric itself. As with plastic components, you should use lower temperatures too, as the pigment used in these stains tends to wash away if the temperature is warm enough (around 40 celsius or so).
the washing process
Ultimately I decided to play it safe and wash my stuffed bunny with cold water, some fabric softener and a tide pod. However, the spin cycle was quite concerning to me, as it spins quite fast and with a lot of force. To ensure that the bunny was not harmed by the spin cycle, I put him in a pillowcase and tied the end of it. Put the washing machine on the delicate program to ensure it spends the least amount of time in the spin cycle as possible. Also, I would not recommend washing a stuffed animal with other laundry.
Come back in 30 minutes after the program completes, and put the stuffed animal in the dryer. You should remove the stuffed animal from the pillowcase at this time and dry both the animal and the pillowcase separately. Put the dryer on the delicate program again, and be prepared to run it through multiple cycles. In the case of my bunny, it took a total of two 45 minute cycles to completely dry.
Once done, your stuffed animal should be back to its usual self, and with the tumble drying, it will likely be a little bit fuzzier than it was before, kind of like it came from the factory.
Bonus content: 1 minute of a tumbling bunny.