My first job was working at Build A Bear Workshop when I was just 16! I learned lots of things about stuffed animal care. Rule number 1: NEVER throw your stuffed animal in the washing machine! I have seen the insides of those bears, and it is quite sad! It will completely ruin the stuffing, making it all clumpy and lumpy!
Let me take you through the process with my own bear, this is Mr. Scholar Bear, he goes to school with me every day and is handled by thousands of children. Needless to say, he has gotten a little dirty over the past 6 years of subbing. Once upon a time, that shirt of his used to say The Beach - Class of 2007!
Upon removal of the shirt you can see his original color. His fur came yellow with a slight black tinge to it to represent my college colors of gold and black.
He has done A LOT of hand holding, look at how filthy his paws are!
In order to clean a stuffed animal properly you need to spot treat them with a good quality carpet cleaner. I love Folex (this is not a sponsored ad), I use it to clean up after our living animals too! You will also need a small brush, I chose a finger nail bush that I had on hand. Important to look for is "no rinsing needed." Soaking the bear all the way through will ruin his stuffing.
Spray lightly and brush the fur with straight strokes. Do not scrub back and forth harshly or you will mat the animal's fur. If you start to feel like you have to much cleaning chemical, wipe it off gently with a wet towel. Here he is half way through the process, his fur on the left is still damp from spraying/scrubbing.
After cleaning toss your animal in the dryer, which is totally safe to do and will not harm them!
Here is my clean bear! Notice how his fur is *almost* the same color as his original fur that was protected by the shirt. I'd say this was quite successful for such a dirty bear!
Everyone loves a side by side comparison!
I was in the same class for several days, and it was per request of some sweet 5th grade girls that I "give him a bath." When I brought him back the next day they were so surprised! Doesn't he look handsome!?!?!