According to Real Simple, stuffed animals have a lot more germs than you would expect. On one hand, that’s to be expected if they are played a lot with and go everywhere your kids go.
Plushies can also be like a transfer vehicle for lice, dust mites and similar critters. Or if your child has been sick but still hugging the favorite stuffie.
In anyway it’s a good practice to clean the stuffed animals on a regular basis. There are plenty of options how to do so.
First, though, always check the label of the plushie for cleaning instructions. Some toys can be simply thrown into the washing machine for a cycle on mild temperature. Other though require hand washing or even surface washing.
In any case, if the plushie has stuffiing with plastic pellets, don’t machine wash it. You risk creating mold inside the toy. Also, be careful not to add too strong detergents. Instead, add regular detergent and maybe a special germ-destroying add-on.
For hand-washing stuffed animals, also opt for mild detergent and cool water. Spot clean stains and use gentle motions all the time. Don’t squeeze, twist or mash the toy as you can damage it. Be slow, gentle and patient.
For dry-washing check this out. It’s a cool method what won’t remove all germs, but it will still clean-up delicate toys.
Finally, the drying. Don’t put the stuffed animals in a dryer. Instead, remove as much water as you can and then use a towel to get even more water. Then place in a well ventilated area to air-dry. It’s best to avoid the sun for too long, to preserve the colors of the fabrics. And also, be patient. It can take more than a day for a bigger and fuzzier plushie to completely dry.