We have toys that can't be laundered? What are some good ways to clean these infant/toddler favorites?

I read somewhere that putting them in a sealable plastic bag and putting them in the freezer kills the dust mites.

How would you clean the surface of dirt?

2 Answers 2


You could try laundering the toys anyway if you believe that they would be suited for it despite their label. Of course don't risk it with the most precious toy...

Usually though, nonlaunderable (is that a word?) toys have instructions how to care for them. That most often boils down to wiping the surface with a cloth moist with lukewarm water and mild soap.

While this will (after some repetitions) remove the most obvious dirt from the surface, it won't get rid of the dirt that's stuck deeper in the plush, or in the filling. For this kind of dirt, you're kind of stuck between laundering or doing essentially nothing.

Proper deep-freezing would potentially take care of mites, but it has to be a deep and long freeze - not just the fridge's ice tray. Note that will not remove the mites, just kill them. Those dead mites might in turn become food for new mites later on, and for bacteria. And the bacteria won't be killed by deep-freezing, by the way. Thinking about this gets gross pretty fast.

The best advice to me (although not very useful in your current situation) is to start out with toys that are machine washable, for exactly this reason.

  • Great advise Torben. When we buy toys we will definitely look for machine washable. (We have a bunch that were given as gifts...I'll try the lukewarm water with mild soap suggestion...although I'm not sure how we would rinse off the soap...I guess with just more lukewarm water)
    – milesmeow
    Mar 4, 2012 at 20:25
  • @milesmeow the cloth should be moist not wet so the toy should not get soaked. Mar 4, 2012 at 21:05
  • @milesmeow: You can only control which toys you are giving to your children - remember, there is a whole world of friends and family out there, who will bring (literally) dozens of toy animals as gifts ;-)
    – Treb
    Mar 5, 2012 at 8:03

Use Dreft. Some of my kids toys I just threw into the washer on delicate. I put them in the dryer on low with a couple of towels, and brushed out afterward. (They needed BIG cleaning- they were vomited on) Although the tags said don't wash, it was either that or throw them out, and one of them was a lovey stuffy. They came out pretty good.

Other things I just used a damp washcloth over the fur.

Everything else that's a toy that isn't plush, I run through the dishwasher, every couple weeks.

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