Washing Your Child’s Lovies

“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 your 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.”

(The Velveteen Rabbit)

Do you see anything strange hanging on our line? Emily’s rabbit makes an appearance there quite regularly, and it always cracks me up to see him pinned and waving in the breeze by his ears. There is just something so comical about that.

Since Emily was three weeks old, she has been in love with bunnies. Before she was born, my grandmother and I were antique shopping and ran across a cute little gift shop. Inside the gift shop was a bunny that I pointed out to her and said how perfect it would be for a little one to carry around since it was smaller than a blanket. She ended up buying one for Emily and she absolutely loved it. A girlfriend also happened to send a very similar bunny to us as a baby gift for Emily. She always had one of these little guys tucked under her arm since she was really small and now we can’t go anywhere without them. Her rabbits remind me of my favorite story growing up, “The Velveteen Rabbit.” I was never attached to anything in this way, but I always wished I loved something like that.

Emily’s bunny collection has grown and now we have four bunnies in tote with us on any given day. She likes to chew on their ears and drag them around on dirty floors. With all the love they receive, they need frequent baths.

Here are some tips for cleaning your child’s stuffed animals:

– For smaller toys, like beanie babies, you can actually throw them in your dishwasher. My girlfriend’s daughter loves to tote these around and she just puts them in the dishwasher on the top rack. The chemicals that help whiten the dishes, will also help whiten the stuffed animal. Allow the stuffed animal to air dry. Other smaller toys, that your child puts in their mouth, can also be thrown in the dishwasher for a quick and easy way to keep them clean.

– For larger stuffed toys or ones that have been loved a bit too much and could fall apart in the washer, you can stick the stuffed animal in a paper bag with a little baking soda. Shut the top of the bag and shake the bag until the animal is coated in the baking soda. Let the animal sit in the bag for about a half hour and then take him out and give him a quick swipe with a towel, to get any lingering baking soda residue off. He should smell nice and fresh.

– In most cases, you can throw the stuffed animal in a pillowcase and run the delicate cycle in your washer. Before you throw the animal in, make sure that all of the stuffing is sealed in and all body parts are attached. Perform any emergency surgeries before the washing, and then run the cycle. Avoid the dryer, if at all possible, and allow the animal to air dry. In our situation, we have a back-up that we can use, but if you don’t the waiting-to-dry process can seem like days. If you have a clothesline, you can hang the animal out there and let the sun dry the animal. Trust me, it is a lot quicker and time is of the essence when it comes to your child’s most loved items!

– If you have animals that are collecting dust (this is most likely not the case when it comes to the lovies), you can use your vacuum hose and suck the dust off of the animal.

Sound Off: Does your child have an animal that they carry around with them? How do you care for your animals and how do you distract your child while they are being cared for?

Published July 09, 2007 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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