Removing the mildewed smell from stuffed toys

Cleaning Mildewed Stuffed Animals

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Cleaning Mildewed Stuffed Animals

How do I get the mildew smell out of a stuffed animal toy? Any ideas?

What's Causing the Mildew Smell?

This happened to us once due to liquid being spilled on a much-loved stuffed animal belonging to my son. What is causing the mildew smell? If it is inside, you may have to replace the stuffing. That's easy. Just cut a small opening along a seam (don't do this in sight of the child!) and pull out the insides. Throw them out and stuff with plastic bags, packing foam peanuts, or the inside stuffing from another stuffed animal that is not so loved. Then stitch up the seam with a couple tight stitches. If the outside of the animal smells, rub in baking soda or cornstarch, put it in a plastic bag tied tight for a few days, then brush it and shake it hard, and leave it outdoors in the sun if you can.

Remove Stuffing when Cleaning Mildewed Stuffed Animals

It has to be washed out. If the stuffed animal is washable, wash it in hot water and air fluff in the dryer. Then hang it up to completely dry. Alternatively, remove the stuffing through a small hole, wash the de-stuffed animal, re-stuff with fresh, clean batting/stuffing, and then sew the hole shut.

Tips: Eliminating Musty Smells

Place in Box with Newspaper

Place the stuffed animal in a cardboard box with several sheets of crumpled newspaper and securely close the box. Leave for a few days. The charcoal in the newsprint should eliminate the mildew smell. Baking soda may also be effective.

Get Help from the Doctor

Somehow, our dark laundry had become tainted with a sour smell, likely from an old kitchen rag that got washed with a dark load. Re-washing load after load never helped. Drying in the sunshine, which often serves well to air-out items, didn't help. The lingering odor was around for months. Finally, I squirted about an eighth to a quarter cup of Dr. Bronner's liquid soap (eucalyptus, in this case) directly into the wash. Problem solved.

Related: Make your own cleaners

You can find this product in most vitamin and health food stores. It may be a bit more expensive, but it is concentrated, and a tiny bit goes a long way. It can be used for many household purposes, as well.

Try Crystal Wash. 1000 loads of laundry - no detergents, no dyes, no chemicals, no perfumes.

Wash with Lysol®

Try washing the stuffed animal in the washing machine on gentle cycle with just a few drops of old-fashioned Lysol®, the one in the brown bottle. This works wonders. Be sure to run through the rinse cycle, and if the smell of the Lysol® is too strong, rinse again. I have found that the old-fashioned Lysol® is very helpful with things like that.

Take the Next Step:

  • Spend less time and money doing your laundry. The Dollar Stretcher Frugal Laundry Guide can help you do both.
  • Never overspend for store-bought cleaners again. Use The Dollar Stretcher's Guide to Homemade Cleaners to find frugal, effective recipes for keeping your entire house and laundry clean and fresh.
  • It's tough raising kids today! You need every time and money saving idea you can find. That's why you'll want to get our free weekly Dollar Stretcher for Parents newsletter. You'll find great ideas designed just for parents that will help your family 'live better...for less'! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.

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