If you've ever had teddy bears or other
stuffed toys, you know how dusty and dirty they can get if
left laying around or placed in the care of a young child.
They do get dirty after awhile and unless they are placed in
some type of protective casing, they need to be cleaned from
time to time. Some are machine washable and many are not.
Especially if you are a collector that has spent quite a bit
of money on some antique or rare old teddy bears. Remember a
Teddy Bear is really no different than an antique piece of
upholstery or tapestry. They come in many different fabrics
and should be cleaned similarly. Gently with great care.
Here are some suggestions on caring for your Teddy Bear.
1. Some synthetic bears
can actually be machine washed on the most gentle cycle. Do
not wash with other colored clothes or items. Using a mesh
bag to put the bear in is not a bad idea. I would not use
much detergent if any but maybe a little fabric softener
would be a nice touch. Allow it to air dry. Do not put in
dryer or use a hair dryer. Machine washing is not something
that would be recommended for antiques or real old or
fragile teddies. Remember that bears that talk or make
sounds probably have a device inside them that may get
ruined if machine washed.
2. Let me say that for the next steps "patience" is a must.
For a really dirty teddy bear the human instinct is to get
some strong cleaner and put it in a spray bottle and spray
and scrub the heck out of it. While this may get some good
results some times, it may also ruin certain fabrics by
changing color, texture, and overall appearance of the teddy
3. For the many teddy bears that are not machine washable,
The material of an old teddy bear is really not much
different than the care you would give to an antique piece
of upholstery or tapestry. Brush gently with a soft brush to
loosen particular dust and soil. Carefully vacuum it by
putting cheese cloth or using a nylon over the vacuum head
of your vacuum tool to remove loose soil.
4. Using a clean damp cloth (warm water only-no soap as soap
tends to leave a residue that can cause quick re-soiling)
wipe down the teddy bears fur. You'll be surprised how much
soil can be removed with simply wiping down the bear. This
should help restore some of the shine and brighten the color
like it had when it was newer.
5. If teddy is severely soiled you may have to repeat this
process 2-3 times to get as much soil removed as possible.
Do not soak the teddy bear. If you have to, allow it to air
dry then repeat the process.
6. The next step is allowing the teddy bear to air dry. It
is best to lightly brush the teddy bear's fur before it
dries, so that the nap is all laying in the same direction
(usually laying down) . If you let it dry first before you
brush it it may change the texture and appearance and you
may not be able to get it back after it's dry.
7. At times a little mending may be needed.
8. Don't forget to hug them at least once a day.
9. Make sure to allow as many kids as possible to admire and
maybe hold them. Teddy Bears love children.
10. For teddy bears that don't get used much and maybe sit
on a shelf for a long time, you can either buy a case to put
them in or you can use a large clear zip lock bag or freezer
bag and slip on over the bear's head & body. This allows you
to still see the bear but will help keep the dust and dirt
for getting them dirty.
Hopefully some of these tips have helped you care for your
teddy bears. Remember the older and more antique the teddy
bear the more caution and care needs to be used.