Thanks to everyone who responded to my last post on fixing/cleaning plush/figures! After reading that and looking around the internet I sorta came up with my own approach to hand washing plush that I’d like to share as well as a few of my recent gets (and an unexpected grail!)
What could it be?
Handwashing is useful for plushies that are either too delicate for the washer or have beans in them and therefore cannot be soaked in water. For the latter we’re going to do exactly as the tag says: ‘surface wash only’.
(I used to wash my clothes by hand-anyone who says women were frail and weak way back when must have been talking about women who had others wash their clothes for them-it's not easy work!!!!!)
- Over a clean (just in case you drop it!) sink wet a washcloth/rag, squeezing the water out until it’s somewhere between damp and sopping wet. If it’s sopping then your plush will get too wet and the whole thing becomes moot. But if it’s just damp your plush will barely get wet at all and that’s not what we want.
- Take your wet cloth and wipe your plush down. When I wipe I hold the plush firmly in one hand and with the other covered in the cloth I cup the back of wherever on the plush I’m wiping and with my thumb I rub the area. Rinse cloth frequently to get dirt out. Make sure you’re not squeezing the plush because that encourages the water to soak through the fabric and if the plush has beans they’ll get wet.
- At this step it’s a good idea to locate all the really dirty spots and spend a little bit longer trying to rub them out with your wet cloth.
- Rinse the cloth out and add detergent to it. I use the liquid kind and you don’t need that much as most are for HE washers meaning a little goes a long way. It’s best to err on the side of caution and use a little a time; you can always add more later but it’s crazy difficult to get too much out of your plush without putting it under running water (which, again, is not what we want to do). Work the detergent into a lather on the cloth then, using the same rubbing motions, work it into the fur of your plush, again, paying particular attention to dirty spots.
- Rinse the cloth out.
- At this point I like to set the plush aside so that the detergent can soak in the fur and I’ll work on another plush.
- Now we’re going to do the same thing we did when we were getting the plush wet except the goal is not to wet the plush but to ‘rinse’ out the soap. Use the same techniques in those steps making sure to rinse the cloth often, not to get the plush sopping wet and to remove all the detergent.
- If you’d like you can stop here and either let the plush air dry or throw it in the dryer on delicate, low heat or air dry. However, I strongly recommend from personal experience that you go on to use fabric softener for the softness and smell.
- If you choose to use fabric softener use the same steps for applying detergent to the plush only this time you don’t need to let it sit and soak; you can immediately wash the softener out.
- Get a clean bucket, put detergent in the bottom and fill it up with water.
- Place the plush in the bucket, dunking them and thoroughly soaking them.
- With a kneading motion you’re going to push the water into and out of the plush. You can also use your hand like a fake agitator and swirl the water/plush around the bucket. Basically you just want to get the water with the detergent through the plush. If there’s any dirty spots use your fingers to rub at them under water.
- If you want let the plush soak for a few minutes.
- Empty and rinse the bucket out.
- Rinse the plush under running water to remove the detergent. Again, at this point you can throw them into the dryer but I strongly recommend continuing to the fabric softener.
- Add fabric softener to the bucket and fill it back up.
- Place the plushies back into the bucket and repeat the same techniques you used for the detergent-kneading and swirling the plush around.
- Rinse the plush off and either place them in the dryer on a delicate, low heat cycle or allow them to air dry.
One thing I will warn about the dryer is to be careful what you put in there-if the plush has anything on it that will crack, break, scratch or is just plain delicate then let it air dry.
In case you wanted to see the result of this here's some before and afters:
Wait! Before we get into this I want to share with you a little of how I got these four guys. I originally found them on ebay while I was trolling for Pokemon merch about an hour after the guy posted them and I was immediately all over it upon seeing the Butterfree that I'm missing from the move plus a cute Charmander of whom I'm a collector/fan/I-still-sleep-with-that-pi
In my waiting for the clock to run down I searched the internet for these guys to see how much they cost normally so I'd know what my highest bid should be when I discovered that one of the pokemon he had was actually SUPER RARE and the guy didn't even know it! In fact, he didn't know what he had at all! So when I woke myself up at 7:40 in the morning to bid I was fully expecting to get into a bidding war but I guess you guys didn't see this auction cause I only had to battle the guy's (who originally outbid me) maximum bid. That's not to say I only got the auction for the rare plush but I also wanted the Butterfree and Charmander.
Obviously I won.
And here they are as how they came to me (this guy had dogs or something and there was hair ALL OVER these guys) and how they cleaned up.
He's just so...adorable! I was originally planning on selling him but let me tell you that washing plush by hand leads to bonding with them and now I don't think I'll ever part with him ^.^ So fuzzy and soft.
Was super excited about him because, as I mentioned before, he went missing in the move! This one has some sort of tiny stain on the eye but otherwise came out very clean. I look forward to flying him around the house going "Beeee-freeee" like I used to. XP
Those two I had to wash by hand with the cloth method because they both have beans in them.
But these next two I washed in a bucket.
You can see that the stop on his zipper came off so they sewed it together (with PINK thread no less!) and he just barely turns inside out now so I'mma just leave him like this. The button on his pokeball is completely gone anyways. If you look closely his bottom but panel is a brighter orange as well as the side of his right leg so somebody obviously tried to fix him from some injury there too (I'm guessing dog bite or something). My mom looked at him and was all "I hate to break it to you but he's not worth any money" and I was all "what are you talking about look at this face you can't get rid of this face!" He's just begging somebody to give him some TLC.
Aaaaaand...the unexpected graaaail....
Mewtwo Reversible Pokeball
Look at this GQMF!!! He needs a top hat, handlebar mustache and monocle. His zipper is great turns into his pokeball just fine-practically mint! I couldn't believe it! *-*
This guy from ebay though...did NOT know what he had!!! Seriously:
"i dont know what used to go in them" DUDE! I love you ebay-dude but seriously?! You don't know they're reversible?! @_@
Here's his pics which better show you how dirty/hairy they were:
They look so much better now though...and smell better too!!! :D
Thanks for looking!