Dry Clean Stuffed Animals At Home With One Common Household Ingredient

Your seven-year-old probably has one or two stuffed animals that have become reliable companions. They help her sleep, and they occupy her during a long car trip. And when she's sick in bed with the flu, her beloved toy is by her side, along with the dog. Unfortunately, in no time at all, that cute stuffed toy is covered with body oils, germs, dog dander, and possibly dust mites. We've found that using baking soda to "dry clean" your stuffed animal effectively deodorizes it and removes oils. 

Some stuffed animals are conventionally washable with water and soap, and some are not, but we recommend alternating both methods if possible. The paradox is that you should probably be washing your child's stuffed toy more often than you already are regardless of how often they engage with it. If they're playing with it, it's getting germy; if it's gathering dust, dust mites hop on board, and that can be unpleasant since most of us are allergic to them. It's a smart practice to routinely get rid of dust in the air, and from your toys, because of the staggering number of mites that dusty surfaces attract.

How to dry clean your stuffed animals with baking soda

Gather your supplies. You'll dry clean one stuffed animal at a time for this hack. Find the appropriately sized bag into which you'll seal it closed (use a Ziploc or garbage bag), and measure out a half cup or so of baking soda. Have your vacuum standing by with its furniture attachment handy. Place a towel under your shaking area.

Put the toy in the bag, add the baking soda, zip or tie it closed, then shake vigorously. Although waiting a minimum of 30 minutes is a good starting point, you'll get more benefits from keeping it sealed for a couple of hours. After enough time has passed, open the bag, shake off the powder, then use the fabric attachment to vacuum off all the excess.

This hack works with any stuffed animal, and it's especially useful for non-washable toys that either have electronics inside or an audio component or are filled with beans and any other non-fabric substance. If your stuffed animal has fabric stuffing inside and no electronics, you might also occasionally wash it in the washing machine and allow it to air dry so it keeps its shape. If your oversized stuffed toy is simply too big to fit in your washer, there are still ways you can cleanse it with gentle soap and water in addition to shaking it clean with baking soda.