Toy Cleaning and Care Tips

Cleaning and care Tips

Many people ask us how best to clean and store their treasured toys. We offer a surface cleaning service, and have experience tackling even the grimiest of teddies! Read our cleaning tips below to find out what you can do at home to care for your toys. Proper cleaning and storage will greatly prolong the life of your precious antique or child’s favourite toy!

Surface cleaning soft toys

For most teddy bear cleaning, we recommend a surface clean. 

The best way to do this is with carpet foam or a mild shampoo and warm water solution. 

Do not get your toy very wet – just enough water to loosen the dirt. A steam cleaner is helpful if you have one.

Apply the foam or suds with a toothbrush and wipe down with a clean cloth to remove dirt. You may need to do this for several hours if the toy is very dirty. 

Starting with a soft, wide brush, gently brush out your toy’s fur. You can gradually build up to finer wire brushes to fluff up the fur. Make sure to brush very gently to avoid pulling out any fur. 

If you don’t fancy surface cleaning yourself, contact us – we can certainly do this for you. There are some pricing guidelines here.

Toys stuffed with foam

Often teddies from the 1960s and 70s are stuffed with chopped foam which degrades over time, and can work through to the surface as a sticky dust. In these cases the foam can be replaced with a modern polyfill after a thorough cleaning.

Machine Washing Modern Soft Toys

Modern stuffed toys won’t be destroyed if you put them in the washing machine, but the stuffing will all clump together. It’s best to remove the stuffing first and replace it when the toy is dry. 

The toy should be placed in a pillowcase to protect it and washed on a gentle cycle. 

You can also soak it in warm water with some gentle soap instead.

If you don’t want to restuff it yourself after washing, we can do this for you – give us a shout! There are some pricing guidelines here.

Storage and cleaning tips

Like any textiles, cuddly toys are vulnerable to damage from excess sunlight, extremes of temperature and humidity, and insects. Try to keep these factors in mind when storing and displaying them.

Teddy bears on display should be dusted regularly. Give them a gentle brushing, or carefully hoover, with a stocking or other material placed over the end of the vacuum.

It’s best to keep soft toys out of the reach of pets. We get a lot of dog-related injuries at the toy hospital!

If you put a teddy in storage, a cardboard box and acid-free tissue paper is the ideal container. A plain cotton bag is also a good option. Long-term storage in plastic is not recommended.

Moth and Insect Infestation in teddies

Keep your toys in a dry and well ventilated area. Moths love warm, dark and musty places, such as attics and the back of cupboards.

Use a natural moth repellent such as cedar wood balls.

Learn to spot moth eggs on your toy. They look a bit like sand.

doll cleaning

Doll Care And Cleaning

You can clean your doll with dish soap or a special formula, using a soft cloth and cotton buds.

Store your hard bodied doll in a well ventilated place, out of direct sunlight. This is to help avoid Sad Doll Disease – find out more about sad doll disease here.

Fabric dolls and clothing are susceptible to the same sorts of damage as soft toys. 

OR IN CASE OF EMERGENCY…

If all this sounds daunting, or you don’t want to risk your antique doll or teddy bear cleaning it yourself, we are happy to undertake the task. We offer surface cleaning as part of a repair job, or on its own. The cost ranges from £20 depending on the size of the toy and how delicate or dirty it is.

Find out more about our repair services here.

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