A treasured teddy bear brings a smile to your child's face in the morning and a comforting feeling when she's drifting off to sleep. She may not be able to sleep without it or play tea party without it by her side. While it's likely that your child's large teddy bear travels almost everywhere your child goes, it's also likely it's capturing germs and bacteria with every trip. Keep the teddy clean — and your child secure — by removing bacteria, germs and even dust mites with safe cleaning techniques.
If Teddy fits in a front-loading washing machine, let him take a spin through the wash cycle to remove stains, spills and daily wear and tear. Remove any clothing or accessories before washing, and stitch up any loose seams before tossing him into the machine. Use a gentle laundry detergent and wash on the gentle cycle to ensure that your child's prized possession is both clean and intact after washing. Before machine-washing, check the care label; for some teddy bears, machine washing is not recommended.
When Teddy is showing signs of wear and tear, step up your cleaning regimen by washing him with a vinegar and hot water mixture. Simply soak the teddy bear in a bucket and wash him with the mixture. Just for fun, make his cleaning a bath-time game with your child's help. If Teddy can fit in the washer, add two to three caps of distilled vinegar to the rinse cycle and lightly sprinkle baking soda into the mix. The baking soda will help deodorize her favorite furry friend.
If the teddy bear can't fit in a washing machine, spot cleaning will do the trick. Leslie Reichert, cleaning coach and author of "The Joy of Green Cleaning," recommends using soap and water to wash large stuffed animals. "If something is really stained or ground in, use pure bar soap and a fingernail brush," she says. Simply wet the brush and rub it on the bar of soap. Create a nice lather and scrub the stuffed animal, wiping the area with a wet cloth until all the soap has been rinsed off. Keep Teddy looking fluffed and fabulous by letting him air dry and fluffing him with a dry towel or hair brush.
Although Teddy may be the cutest around, unfortunately many stuffed animals carry all kinds of germs, as well as lice, bed bugs and even dust mites, says Reichert. Kill off the unwanted health risks with heat. If your child's treasured bear fits in a pillowcase, enclose him securely and toss him in the dryer for a few minutes to kill dust mites. With an oversize teddy, use a lint roller, or even vacuum with the drapery nozzle to suck out dirt and grime.
Whether your child admits it or not, even Teddy will start to smell bad if he does not take a bath. After spot cleaning, remove odors by placing Teddy in a large plastic bag with baby powder, cornstarch or baking soda. Secure the bag and give Teddy a shake. If your child is helping, make it a dance party while her treasured toy is absorbed with the powder. Once Teddy is covered in powder, let him sit for a few hours before dusting him off with a brush or a vacuum cleaner.