How to Spot Clean a Stuffed Animal

If you crocheted a stuffed animal using a hand wash-only yarn, then you can’t just throw the little guy into the washing machine. You’ll need to spot clean. Here’s how to do it!

This little symbol on your yarn means you need to hand wash! Always follow the yarn washing instructions!

How to Spot Clean

Spot cleaning basically means cleaning a particular area of an item without submerging the entire item. It’s a phrase frequently used in the garment industry, but applies to your stuffed animals, too!

  1. Wet a washcloth in water or in water + a wool safe wash (like Eucalan no rinse wash)
  2. Dab at the spot that has become soiled, moistening the stuffed animal’s fabric. Do not scrub! Agitation causes felting.
  3. Allow to air dry.

That’s all!


How do I tell if an animal needs to be spot cleaned? The yarn is your guide! Wash the animal like you would wash a garment made with that particular yarn, paying careful attention to the instructions. Keep in mind, though, that it’s incredibly important that the animal (and it’s stuffing) completely dries. If your yarn can’t stand the dryer, then you won’t be able to dry the animal… meaning you shouldn’t get the stuffing wet! Spot clean, only.

Cute crocheted owl

What if it’s still dirty? If you follow the above steps and it’s still dirty, then wash again. You can feel free to dip the tip of a limb in water, avoiding soaking the stuffing, to get a bit more water and detergent into the stain.

My stuffed animal is a complete mess. (like, it fell in a puddle). What can I do? If you think the animal might be headed toward the trash can, you can always try machine washing it. The good news is that the stuffing often prevents some amount of felting, so you could be safe. It’s a last ditch effort, though!

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