28 March 2011 @ 12:35 pm
Washing an old Teddy Bear  
 Hey everyone, I've been watching for a while and finally have an issue I could use some advice about!

I have a Teddy Bear that is as old as me (25 years), my Mom got it for Christmas just before I was born. 
He used to be white, but has been well loved and is definitely showing it! He's sort of a greyish color now, and I never really thought about it, but my boyfriend thought it was quite gross. Washing him would probably be a good idea, but I'm nervous to because parts of him are wearing out ('fur' wearing off, etc) and I don't want him to come apart in the wash. I only have access to an older washing machine with an agitator. I don't think putting him in a pillow case would be safe enough either.

Would I be able to hand wash him? I've heard it's not good to submerge plush, but I think he is a little beyond spot cleaning by now. 

After my boyfriend had mentioned this, I thought about how I probably wouldn't touch other people's gross old teddies, but for me I don't think about it at all!
 
 
Current Mood: curiouscurious
 
 
 
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
Ashleyxbad_candy on March 28th, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC)
I'd wash him by hand and use a hair dryer to start the drying process and let him sit in the sun for a few hours after that.
demiraks_worlddemiraks_world on March 28th, 2011 06:03 pm (UTC)
This sounds like a good idea.

OR - you could probably have him dry cleaned or sent off to be cleaned professionally.
Malloryspottedzebra on March 29th, 2011 02:24 am (UTC)
I was thinking of trying hand washing, thanks!
Sarcasticia Nitpickersontisiphone on March 28th, 2011 06:35 pm (UTC)
Given the possible emotional impact of accidentally destroying your teddy, I would suggest ponying up for a professional cleaning. There are companies that know how to do cleaning and restoration for such things, though they'll certainly charge you for it.
Malloryspottedzebra on March 29th, 2011 02:25 am (UTC)
I haven't come across a professional place yet but I'll keep an eye out :)
Sarcasticia Nitpickersontisiphone on March 29th, 2011 09:04 am (UTC)
I know Vermont Teddy Bear has a bear hospital, but I don't know if they handle outside patients.
Jocosajocosa on March 28th, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC)
This works really great on my old stuffies. :)

http://mookiegifts.com/gutebebaplto.html
Malloryspottedzebra on March 29th, 2011 02:25 am (UTC)
This does look helpful, thank you!
Arrow In A Streamjabber on March 28th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

Instead of risking damage, I'd get your boyfriend a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit and some alone-time to contemplate his values and priorities.
chaos_is_beautychaos_is_beauty on March 28th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
Yes!
✩ looli ✩loolica on March 28th, 2011 07:13 pm (UTC)
Ha. Totally.

I was just digging in a box and found my FORTY-ONE year old, eyeless, no doubt filthy teddy bear. My daughter saw it and ooooh and aaaaahed and couldn't believe how cute it was (it's horrid and mostly destroyed, it has virtually no fur and NO EYES) and begged me to let her have it. No way! I said. She can have her own grody furless teddy bear when she's loved on hers enough.

You're not making our boyfriend cuddle it, right? If it were me, I would just leave it be. Don't wash away the love!
Meriall: OberonAnnebantiarna on March 28th, 2011 08:49 pm (UTC)
Win!
moss_ravenmoss_raven on March 28th, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC)
And it's online too! http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/williams/rabbit/rabbit.html

Thank you for reminding me of one of my favourite childhood books. I reread it online just now and cried...twice. Such a great story.
Empress Nekoneko_loliighoul on March 28th, 2011 10:25 pm (UTC)
I love love love the velveteen rabbit <3 sigh :)
Malloryspottedzebra on March 29th, 2011 02:26 am (UTC)
Haha, thanks. That is a touching story. My Teddy has been through a lot with me!
sevenstars7sevenstars777 on March 29th, 2011 03:19 am (UTC)
THIS!! :)
BercilaksLady: Teddy and TPbercilakslady on March 28th, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC)
I have a stuffed dog of similar age and wear. I'd suggest that if the plush is mostly worn flat, and the fur is mostly matted, a quick wash with a very small amount of mild soap in cool water isn't going to hurt it. If the plush is still resilient, or the fur is still reasonably fluffy, it might not be the best idea. Wrapping the toy in a towel before gently pressing out the water works well, as does letting it dry in the sun, or using a hair dryer, or both. This is not going to restore the color to new, but will make it less grungy.
Malloryspottedzebra on March 29th, 2011 02:27 am (UTC)
This might be worth a try, his fur is pretty matted and dingy looking!
BercilaksLady: Teddy and TPbercilakslady on March 29th, 2011 02:33 am (UTC)
The small puppy in the icon is mine. (The bear is my college housemate's.)
(Deleted comment)
Malloryspottedzebra on March 29th, 2011 02:29 am (UTC)
Amazing! I'd be nervous to try bleach, as I haven't had much good luck with it. It worked wonders on a white t-shirt once, but the shirt smelled like bleach for a long time afterwards, even after multiple washes.
Stef: Futurama\\Sweet Zombie Jesusmorningapproach on March 28th, 2011 07:32 pm (UTC)
I have a cabbage patch doll that is 28 years old, and I have handwashed her a few times, then left her to dry in the bathroom. I used shampoo to wash the body of the doll.
Malloryspottedzebra on March 29th, 2011 02:30 am (UTC)
I might just try handwashing, thanks!
chat_fouchat_fou on March 28th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
I totally throw my old teddy bear in the wash on the gentle cycle and dry him in the dryer. Probably not the best idea, but I do and he hasn't busted yet!
Malloryspottedzebra on March 29th, 2011 02:30 am (UTC)
Resilient bear! Mine probably would survive as well, I'm just nervous to try!
nullcomitto on March 28th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
If you google "doll hospital" or "teddy bear hospital" with the area you live in you could find a place to get the bear cleaned professionally.
Malloryspottedzebra on March 29th, 2011 02:31 am (UTC)
Interesting! I found a few under Doll hospital, so maybe I will check one of them out. Thanks!
mmhmsupermelanie on March 28th, 2011 09:46 pm (UTC)
I have a nearly 27 year old teddy bear, who was and is very well-loved. When he needs washed, I put him in a lingerie bag (I have one that is almost the perfect size so it keeps his poor little arms and legs from getting yanked around too much) and wash and dry him on the gentlest settings possible. He hasn't fallen apart in the wash yet, and most of his appendages are held on by hand-stitching I did at various points between ages 6-12. Note that he only gets washed maybe once every 5 years, though.

Good luck!
Heidisioneva on March 29th, 2011 02:09 am (UTC)
This is what I would do - or hand wash.
Malloryspottedzebra on March 29th, 2011 02:32 am (UTC)
Hand stitching! Well that's great he survives the wash! I'm sure mine would too, but I am nervous to try!
mmhmsupermelanie on March 29th, 2011 02:35 am (UTC)
I definitely think it helps that he is snugly packed into the lingerie bag--it keeps the wash from stressing the seams. Aw, now I kinda just want to go home and snuggle up with the little guy. ;)
Bedtimegreen_donuts on March 29th, 2011 09:44 am (UTC)
When I was little my mum would always just stick our bears in the washing machine with clothes as a normal wash and then gently tumble dry or hang out in the sun. No damage and they'd always come out looking lovely and clean again :)
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )