How to Deodorize Stuffed Animals

Kranti asked: How do I clean stinky beanie babies? My daughter got Dora and Boots beanie toys recently. Within a month, they are smelling, and they are not dirty (at least they don’t look dirty). How do I clean them?

Stuffed animals and plush toys can pick up odors from innumerable sources, and even when they look clean they can harbor quite a stench. Washable stuffed animals will benefit from this foolproof method. Can’t toss your toys in the washing machine? See “Additional Tips” for more ideas.

You Will Need:

  • Washing machine
  • Baking soda
  • Laundry detergent

Steps to Remove Odor:

  1. Fill the washing machine with water. Stop the cycle when the water is full so you can soak the stuffed animal(s).
  2. Pour ½ to one cup of baking soda in the water. Agitate water to mix.
  3. Add stuffed animal(s) to the wash. If the animals have embellishments or require gentle washing, place them in a pillow case. If there are no embellishments or fragile areas, it should be fine just placing it in the washing machine as is.
  4. Allow to soak overnight or for several hours.
  5. Add laundry detergent and run the cycle.
  6. If the odor seems to be gone at the end of the wash cycle and the toy is dryer safe, run through the dryer at least two cycles. This ensures the toy is dried all the way through, which will prevent mildew later.
  7. If odor remains or the toy is not dryer safe, lay it out in the sun. The sun is a natural deodorizer.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If you can’t wash the toy, try spraying it with Febreeze or another fabric refresher. You can also place it in a closed bag with baking soda or leave it in the sun for several hours. Another option is to put white vinegar in a spray bottle and lightly coat the plush before leaving it in the sun.
  • These cleaning methods are meant for cleaning Beanie Babies/stuffed animals that are used as toys. If your Beanie Babies are collectibles, they will require more gentle cleaning to keep their tags and features in excellent condition. For these, see our guide How to Clean Beanie Babies.

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