How To Make Stuffed Animals Soft Again? Tips and Tricks

Discover how to make stuffed animals soft again to retain your beloved stuffed animal with previous charm. Whether it’s a treasured teddy bear, a cherished plush toy, or any other adorable stuffed companion, the wear and tear of daily adventures can leave their mark, causing the once irresistibly soft material to feel less inviting. 

Fear not, for in this guide, we’ll delve into effective tips on how to make your stuffed animal soft again. Discover ways to rejuvenate that familiar touch and bring back the warm and comforting embrace of your favorite stuffed friend.

Photograph of Brown Teddy Bears

Why Do Stuffed Animals lose stuffing?

Stuffed animals become less soft over time due to several reasons:

  1. Compression: Constant squeezing and hugging can lead to the fibers getting compacted, making the toy feel less fluffy.
  2. Dirt and Dust: Accumulating dirt, dust, and oils from hands can cling to the surface and reduce softness.
  3. Moisture: Exposure to moisture, whether from spills or humidity, can cause the fibers to clump together and lose softness.

Washing Machine vs. Hand Wash: Which is Better for Stuffed Animals?

Both methods have pros and cons, but generally:

  • Washing Machine: Suitable for larger toys, but can be harsh on delicate materials or stitching. Use a gentle cycle in a pillowcase or laundry bag to protect the toy.
  • Hand Wash: Safer for delicate or valuable stuffed animals. Fill a basin with lukewarm water and mild detergent. Gently wash and rinse by hand, avoiding excessive agitation.

What Detergent Should I Use to Wash Stuffed Animals?

Opt for a mild detergent, such as those designed for delicate fabrics, baby clothes, or wool. Avoid strong detergents with harsh chemicals, as they might damage the toy’s fabric or color.

Can I Use a Hair Dryer to Dry Stuffed Animals?

Using a hair dryer on a low, cool setting can be safe, but it’s best to avoid excessive heat. Keep the dryer at a distance to prevent the melting or warping of synthetic materials.

Should I Air Dry or Use a Dryer for Stuffed Animals?

Air drying is generally safer as high heat in dryers can damage materials and melt adhesives. If using a dryer, opt for a low, cool setting and place the toy in a pillowcase or mesh bag to protect it.

How to Fluff Up the Fur of Stuffed Animals?

To fluff up a stuffed animal’s fur:

  1. Gentle Shaking: Gently shake the toy to loosen compacted fibers and restore some fluffiness.
  2. Brushing: Use a soft-bristle brush or a clean toothbrush to gently brush the fur in the direction it naturally lays.
  3. Steam: Hold the toy over a gentle stream of steam (not too close) to help relax the fibers and regain softness. Avoid wetting the toy.

Remember to always check the care label or manufacturer’s instructions before washing or drying your stuffed animals, especially if they are valuable or have special features.

How to Soften Old Stuffed Animals:

  • Gently hand wash the stuffed animal with mild soap and cold water.
  • Place the stuffed animal in a pillowcase and run it through a gentle cycle in the washing machine.
  • Use a fabric softener during the rinse cycle to help restore softness.
  • Allow the stuffed animal to air dry completely, avoiding direct sunlight.

How to Make Stuffed Animals Soft Again? Tips and Tricks

  1. Spot clean stains with a mixture of water and mild detergent.
  2. Use a lint roller or tape to remove dust and loose debris from the surface.
  3. Plump up the stuffing by gently manipulating and fluffing it.
  4. Sew up any small tears or loose seams to prevent further damage.
  5. Store the stuffed animals in a clean and dry environment to prevent future deterioration.

Using a Steam Cleaner to Restore Softness to Stuffed Animals:

  • Use a handheld steam cleaner on a low setting to avoid damaging the fabric.
  • Hold the steam cleaner a few inches away from the stuffed animal’s surface to prevent excessive moisture.
  • Gently steam the surface of the stuffed animal, moving in a sweeping motion.
  • Allow the stuffed animal to air dry completely before use.

Brushing the Fur to Remove Matting and Restore Softness:

  • Use a soft-bristle brush or a pet brush to gently remove matted fur.
  • Start brushing from the tips of the fur and work towards the base.
  • Be patient and gentle to avoid damaging the fur or fabric.
  • Regular brushing helps maintain the softness and appearance of the stuffed animal’s fur.

Adding a Softening Agent to Make Stuffed Animals Soft Again:

  • Mix a small amount of fabric softener or hair conditioner with water in a spray bottle.
  • Lightly mist the mixture onto the surface of the stuffed animal.
  • Gently pat and manipulate the fur to distribute the softening agent.
  • Allow the stuffed animal to air dry, and then fluff the fur with a brush.

How to Comb the Fur of Stuffed Animals to Remove Matting:

  • Use a wide-tooth comb or a pet-specific detangling comb for gently working through matted fur.
  • Hold the fur at the base to prevent pulling on the fabric.
  • Start combing from the tips of the fur and work your way upwards, using small, gentle strokes.
  • For stubborn mats, you can use your fingers to gently loosen the tangles before combing.
  • Regular combing prevents severe matting and keeps the fur looking soft and smooth.

Caring for Stuffed Toys to Keep Them Soft:

To ensure your stuffed toys remain soft and huggable, follow these tips:

  • Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight for extended periods, as it can fade colors and degrade the fabric.
  • Keep stuffed toys away from high-humidity areas to prevent mold and mildew growth.
  • Rotate the toys periodically to prevent them from developing flat spots.
  • Gently fluff and pat the toys regularly to maintain their softness.

Tips on How to Clean Stuffed Animals Without Washing:

If washing is not an option, consider these alternatives:

  • Use a lint roller or a piece of tape to remove dust and debris from the surface.
  • Place the stuffed animal in a large plastic bag and add baking soda. Shake gently and let it sit for a few hours before brushing off the baking soda.
  • Spot clean with a mixture of water and mild soap, using a clean cloth to gently blot the dirty areas.
  • Use a fabric refresher spray to eliminate odors.

Preventing Lumpy Stuffed Animals: Proper Storage and Handling:

To prevent lumps and maintain the shape of your stuffed animals:

  • Avoid placing heavy objects on top of them during storage.
  • Store them in a dry, cool place to prevent moisture absorption.
  • Avoid compressing them in tight spaces for extended periods.
  • If possible, store them in a way that allows them to keep their natural shape.

Keeping the Fur Soft as it Dries After Cleaning:

After cleaning your stuffed animals, ensure their fur remains soft:

  • Gently fluff the fur with your fingers while it’s still damp to prevent matting.
  • Allow the stuffed animal to air dry in a well-ventilated area, avoiding direct sunlight or heat sources.
  • Periodically fluff the fur as it dries to maintain its soft texture.

How to Make Stuffed Animals Fluffy Again:

If your stuffed animals have lost their fluffiness, here’s how to revive them:

  • Place the stuffed animal in a dryer on the “air” or “fluff” setting along with a couple of clean, dry towels. Use a low heat setting and check periodically to prevent overheating.
  • Gently shake and knead the stuffed animal to distribute the filling and restore its shape.
  • If appropriate, give the toy a gentle bath using mild soap and water. Make sure it’s completely dry before fluffing.

Using a Soft Comb to Maintain the Softness of Stuffed Animals:

Using a soft comb can help maintain the softness of your stuffed animals’ fur:

  1. Choose a comb with soft bristles or teeth to avoid damaging the fur.
  2. Gently comb the fur in the direction it naturally lies to prevent tangling and matting.
  3. Focus on small sections at a time to ensure even grooming.
  4. Comb lightly and avoid excessive force, especially if the fur is delicate or prone to shedding.
Boy Carrying Bear Plush Toy

Reviving Teddy Bears: Softening Techniques:

  1. Gently wash the teddy bear by hand using a mild detergent and lukewarm water to remove dirt and oils that may have accumulated over time.
  2. Avoid using harsh chemicals or machine washing, as they can damage the fabric and stuffing of the teddy bear.
  3. After washing, carefully squeeze out excess water and allow the teddy bear to air dry. Avoid wringing or twisting the bear, as this can distort its shape.
  4. Once the teddy bear is dry, use a soft-bristle brush to fluff up its fur and restore its softness. Brush in the direction of the fur to avoid tangling.
  5. If the bear has a removable outfit, take it off before washing to prevent color bleeding or damage to the clothing.
  6. Store the teddy bear in a dry and clean area to prevent dust buildup, which can make the fur feel coarse.

Restoring Softness to Your Favorite Stuffed Teddy Bear:

  1. Place the teddy bear in a sealed plastic bag with a cup of baking soda or cornstarch. Shake the bag gently to distribute the powder.
  2. Leave the teddy bear in the bag for a few hours to allow the powder to absorb oils and odors from the fur.
  3. Afterward, gently shake the teddy bear to remove the excess powder and use a soft brush to restore its fluffiness.
  4. For bears with removable clothing, take off the clothes before using this method to avoid getting powder on them.

Maintaining the Fluffiness of Stuffed Teddy Bears:

  1. Regularly give the teddy bear a gentle shake to help prevent the stuffing from becoming too compacted.
  2. Keep the teddy bear away from direct sunlight and heat sources, as these can cause the fur to fade and become brittle.
  3. Store the bear in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture buildup that could lead to mold and mildew growth.
  4. If the bear is displayed on a shelf, consider rotating its position to avoid constant pressure on one side, which can flatten the fur over time.

Reviving matted stuffed animal fur:

  1. Use a hairdryer on a cool setting to gently blow air through the fur in the opposite direction of matting. This can help loosen the fibers.
  2. After loosening the fur, use a soft brush or your fingers to gently separate the matted areas, working from the tips toward the base of the fur.
  3. If the matting is severe, you may need to repeat the process multiple times, being patient and gentle to avoid damaging the fur.

Exploring Different Techniques to Soften Stuffed Teddy Bears:

  1. Try using a fabric softener spray specifically designed for plush toys. Follow the instructions on the product for best results.
  2. Use a fabric steamer to gently steam the fur, which can help relax the fibers and restore softness.
  3. Place the teddy bear in a pillowcase and tie it closed. Tumble the pillowcase in a dryer on a low heat setting along with a couple of clean tennis balls. This can help fluff up the fur.

How to Make a New Stuffed Teddy Bear Soft and Cuddly:

  1. Give the new teddy bear a gentle shake or two to help distribute the stuffing and fluff up the fur.
  2. If the bear has a removable outfit, take it off and give it a gentle wash according to care instructions to remove any manufacturing residues.
  3. Use a soft brush to gently comb through the fur in the direction of the nap to make it softer and smoother.
  4. Spend time cuddling and hugging the bear to help break in the fibers and make it feel more comfortable and loved over time.

Frequently Asked Questions about How to make stuffed animals soft again

How do you fix a crunchy stuffed animal?

  1. Gentle Massage: Gently massage the toy to help soften the stiff fibers.
  2. Moisture Application: Lightly dampen a clean cloth with water and dab it over the surface of the toy. Avoid soaking it.
  3. Fabric Softener Solution: Create a diluted fabric softener solution and lightly dab it onto the toy. Then, wipe off with a damp cloth.
  4. Air Dry Properly: Allow the toy to air dry completely before use.

How to fluff up a vacuum-sealed stuffed animal?

Gently rub down and knead the stuffed animal to redistribute the stuffing. You also can use a hairdryer on a low setting to feature warmth and assist it regain its shape.

How to refresh a filled animal?

Place the filled animal in a pillowcase and place it inside the dryer on a low warmth setting for 15-20 minutes. Adding a fabric softener sheet can help refresh its scent.

How to restore filled animal fur after dryer?

Use a tender-bristle brush or a pet grooming brush to softly comb out the fur. For stubborn mats, lightly mist the fur with water and punctiliously untangle it along with your palms or the brush.

What is the best brush for stuffed animals?

A tender-bristle baby brush or a pet grooming brush with mild bristles works first-rate for keeping filled animal fur without inflicting damage.

Why does my stuffed animal feel rough after washing?

  1. Material Agitation: Aggressive washing, especially in a machine, can lead to the fibers of the stuffed animal’s material becoming rough due to excessive friction and agitation.
  2. Detergent Residue: Improper rinsing might leave detergent residue on the fabric, causing it to feel stiff and rough.
  3. Loss of Natural Oils: Some stuffed animals might have a natural softness from oils or finishes applied during manufacturing. Washing can strip these oils, resulting in roughness.

How do you wash stuffed animals and keep them soft?

  1. Check Instructions: Always check the care label for washing instructions. Handmade or delicate toys might need special care.
  2. Gentle Cycle: Use a gentle cycle if machine-washing is recommended. Place the stuffed animal in a pillowcase or laundry bag to protect it.
  3. Cold Water: Use cold water to prevent color fading and excessive shrinkage.
  4. Mild Detergent: Use a mild detergent to avoid residue buildup. Avoid bleach or harsh chemicals.
  5. Extra Rinse: Ensure a thorough rinse to remove all detergent residues.
  6. Air Dry: Air-dry the stuffed animal to prevent damage from heat. Avoid direct sunlight which can fade colors.
  7. Fluffing: Gently fluff the toy during the drying process to maintain its shape.

How to make Jellycat toys soft again?

  1. Gentle Cleaning: Clean the toy according to its care instructions, using a mild detergent and cold water.
  2. Fabric Softener Soak: Create a mixture of water and fabric softener. Immerse the toy briefly, then gently squeeze (don’t wring) to remove excess liquid.
  3. Air Dry with Care: Allow the toy to air dry indoors, avoiding direct sunlight and excessive heat. Gently reshape the toy during drying.
  4. Brushing: Once dry, gently brush the toy’s fur using a soft-bristle brush or comb to restore its fluffiness.

Is fabric softener bad for stuffed animals?

  1. Potential Risks: Fabric softeners might leave a residue that attracts dirt and dust, potentially causing allergies or skin irritation.
  2. Material Damage: Some fabric softeners can break down fibers or alter the texture of the toy’s material over time.
  3. Careful Usage: If using fabric softener, dilute it significantly and perform a patch test on an inconspicuous area of the toy first.
  4. Natural Alternatives: Consider using techniques like steaming or gentle brushing to soften the toy instead of relying on fabric softeners.

How to fix matted teddy bear fur?

  1. Gentle Brushing: Use a soft-bristle brush or comb to gently remove tangles and matting. Start at the tips and work your way up.
  2. Steam Treatment: Hold a handheld steamer a few inches away from the fur. Gently brush as you steam to help the fibers relax and regain their shape.
  3. Fabric Softener Solution: Apply a diluted fabric softener solution to the matted areas. Gently massage and brush the fur to restore softness.
  4. Avoid Heat: Don’t use high heat sources like hair dryers as they can damage the toy’s fur.
Bokeh Photography of Pink Bear Plush Toy


At zwplushtoys.com, we make environmentally friendly soft stuffed animals. When your cherished stuffed animal starts to lose its original softness and texture, it’s natural to want to restore it to its former glory. By following a few expert tips on how to make your stuffed animal nice and soft again, you can breathe new life into your beloved companion. Remember that the key lies in treating your stuffed animal with care. By selecting gentle cleaning methods tailored to the specific material of your stuffed animal, you can avoid any unintended damage.

Whether it’s a gentle massage, a fabric softener solution, or a moisture application, these techniques can work wonders in rejuvenating your stuffed animal’s texture. Keeping in mind the significance of preserving the cherished memories attached to your stuffed friend, the goal is to make your stuffed animal soft once more while maintaining its integrity. With patience and attention to detail, you can enjoy the comfort and companionship of your favorite stuffed animal for years to come.

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