• Modern Hippie

How to Restore a Stuffed Animal (Chemical-free!)

I don't know about you, but my Mini Hippie had a lot of stuffed animals and blankets when he was little. And every single one of them was very well loved. They traveled with us like a circus, all over the place. Which meant, they needed to be washed fairly regularly. I'm not an overt germ-a-phobe by any means, germs have their place in stimulating immunity, but if lovey comes with us to the grocery store, and hangs out in the kid seat of the car cart for an hour or so, during flu season, it's probably due for a bath.

The well known problem we parents face is when you wash a stuffed animal or blanket, they are never as soft as they originally were. And if you are avoiding unnecessary chemicals, like we are, using things like fabric softener is out of the question. [Here's why fabric softener is so bad.]

BEFORE: Poor thing was not soft at all anymore. But he was well loved!

How to Restore a Stuffed Animal

{I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.}

So what's a caregiver to do? I have a super easy, chemical-free, inexpensive solution for you. All it requires is a hard wire pet brush and some muscle.


I used this one, that I found in the pet food aisle at my local grocery store.

It cost me around $8.00 at the grocery, but I've seen many on Amazon for less. I like this one because the wires are very stiff, and they are bent at a slight angle to really grab the fur.


Once you have your brush, simple go over the matted stuffed animal or blanket with short quick strokes until the fur is soft again.

Left side - soft and fluffy again. Right side - clearly has been very well loved.

The change is truly remarkable. They fluff right back up, and along with the fluff, their original softness!

AFTER: Soft and fluffy again! Just like new.

A few caveats:


It makes a bit of a linty mess, so work outside or over an area you can vacuum.

Test on an inconspicuous area first. If the stuffed animal is fragile and the fur starts coming out when you begin, try a softer bristle brush. I had no problem really going to town on the lovies that I restored and they are many years old now. The elephant pictured, took me about 20 minutes.


Severely matted animals will require quite a bit of effort to restore, but it can be done! Switch hands and take breaks if you need to. No one wants to have to explain to their friends how they got tennis elbow from brushing their stuffed animal too much.

Here's a blanket I started. The corner has been brushed - what a difference!



Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!


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