Monday, June 11, 2007

Mom Tip: Washing Stuffed Animals

Now updated with picture of the real (and real clean) Cosmo!

Hi guys. Please don't write me off for my recent lapse in posts, nor for my occasional domestic expositions, like this one. Different things come up at different times in life.

Hazel has a favorite stuffed animal, a teddy bear named Cosmo. (I name all of her dolls and animals from our list of baby names that will realistically never make the cut.) Sadly, Cosmo has never been washed in his 27 months with us. Disgusting, I know, but his tag says "surface clean only", which I've never bothered with, and I was afraid of ruining him in the washer. Bad, bad news if Cosmo got ruined (no back-up.) But last night I realized Cosmo was so gross it was worth the risk of losing him - none of us could go on with him in our lives that dirty.

I read a tip in some parent magazine about washing stuffed animals. Those parent magazines hunt me down, I get 3 or 4 of them and I've never paid for a subscription. I do like to read some of the features, though - they always make me realize my experiences that seem earth-shattering are actually universal, and I'm on par with the good and the bad of other mothers. Anyway, the tip was to put the bear in a pillowcase and knot it, then run it through the washer and dryer. I looked it up on the internet just to see if that same tip was out there, and it was on several sites.

Cosmo came out perfect, and several shades lighter, I might add. I never knew he was light brown, and now he just smells like Dreft, and not kid sweat. So thumbs up on the pillowcase technique - it really works.


Therese said...

excellent tip. thank you! i'd also heard (but i haven't verified it online) that it's a good idea to put stuffed animals into the freezer overnight to kill dust mites (are there dust mites in brooklyn? or is this just an australian thing?) and your cure/erasure/smiths/DP post has made me so nostalgic, i'm going into the kitchen to put on some morrissey right now... "the more you ignore me/the closer i get/ you're wasting your time..." brilliant lyricist. so cheeky. love him.

Maren said...

I actually have an item (a stuffed doll, I think) which gives this as the preferred washing method on the tag. On the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory tour, they say only one thing will void their warranty on a bear: putting it in the dryer. They say wash it in a pillowcase, but line dry it. Probably just as good, and maybe easier on some critters' delicate fur. Do post a pciture of Cosmo. Is he/she named after Kramer? Who was the giver of such a treasured gift?

Disco Mom said...

Yeah, probably safer in general to line dry. Ginger got a fleece blanket with a squeaky chick in one corner. One trip through the dryer deflated the squeak.

Cosmo is not exactly named for Kramer. I like the name on its own merits and resonance. But perhaps it's because of Kramer that we can't quite take it seriously enough to use it for a kid. We might need a generation or two distance from Seinfeld for that to happen.

He came with a Babies R Us gift card around his neck from a co-worker at one of Hazel's showers. He was just the bear at the checkout stand, packaging for the gift card. Hazel has tons of stuffed animals but I like his little face (and good size for taking places), so I forced the issue early on to make him her favorite. It worked :)

Tona said...

My kids loved this entry. We have washed beanie babies mixed in with the regular wash many times -- sometimes by accident and sometimes on purpose and never had a bad incident at all, and they came out beautifully. Of course, they're small, and they're also not uniquely important to a certain child. H wishes that you had posted a "before" picture to see how bad it was, but maybe what was making him unpleasant wasn't all visible.

Jenifuz said...

I'm trying this today on Ethan's favorite dog Oscar. He's very worried that it will come out looking awful! I'll let you know how it turns out!

Maren said...

I like the new picture.
We recently had a toy stow-away in the laundry, and it was a disaster. It was a rubbery chameleon Quinn gave to Laurel last year. It was kind of squishy because it was filled with millions of tiny, tiny plastic balls. The rubber partly disintegrated in the dryer (better than melting like crayons do!) and the balls distributed themselves evenly throughout the whole load. I shook all the clothes out on the back porch, but I'm still finding little tiny balls in the lint catcher with each load that goes through the dryer!

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