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TY Beanie Babies are as delicate as they are adorable, so when they get dirty, you need to know how to clean them properly. If you want to proudly display or sell your Beanie Baby, you’ll have to give it a gentle surface wash to retain its collectibility. If you just want to clean an old Beanie Baby for kids to play with and aren’t concerned with selling or displaying it, you can follow a simple machine wash method. We cover both cleaning techniques below.
Whether you want to display your Beanie Babies or sell them to a collector, you’ll need to be very careful in how you clean them. Using techniques that are too harsh (like a washing machine) can damage your stuffed animal and lower its appraisal value.
Here’s how to clean and surface wash a Beanie Baby for sale or display:
If you’ve read our Beanie Babies value guide, you’ll know the TY tag is vital to determining the rarity and value of your Beanie Baby. If the tag is lost or damaged, the value of your Beanie Baby will plummet.
To ensure the tag is preserved during cleaning, simply cover it in plastic wrap or cellophane. Don’t be afraid to wrap the tag multiple times to ensure no water gets through.
You can also buy packs of TY tag protective covers from sites like eBay. Definitely pick these up if you intend to sell, as buyers will appreciate the added layer of protection.
Now that the tag is protected, it’s time to give your Beanie Baby a vacuum to pick up loose bits of dust and dirt. Use the hose and any small attachments you have to gently vacuum over the surface of the Beanie Baby, making sure to get into every nook and cranny.
At this stage, if your Beanie Baby doesn’t have any visible stains, you don’t need to do any more washing. However, if a stain is still visible, move on to step three.
NEVER wash your Beanie Baby under running water. Instead, use a damp cloth to gently rub small stains away. Be careful that you only moisten the surface of the Beanie Baby (don’t let the area become saturated with water).
If the stains don’t budge with this method, then do the following:
Once the stains are gone, go over each area with a dry cloth to eliminate any excess moisture. Wait for your Beanie Baby to dry completely before exposing the tag again.
When your Beanie is completely dry, use a soft brush or comb to smooth out the fur and restore the original nap and look. A lint brush or an old toothbrush will work fine as long as it’s clean.
To avoid having to clean your Beanie Baby again (and risk lowering its value), place it inside a plastic protective container. Of course, make sure the container has been cleaned thoroughly before placing your precious Beanie inside.
You can find Beanie Baby-sized plastic containers for under $10 online. This is a worthwhile investment if you’re serious about protecting your collectibles!
If your Beanie Baby is missing tags or isn’t rare enough to be worth trying to sell or display, you can throw it in the washing machine. While this isn’t the best method for preserving your Beanie Baby, it will at least ensure that it’s safe and clean for kids to play with.
Follow these steps to clean a Beanie Baby in the washing machine:
Place the Beanie Babies you want to clean inside a zippered pillowcase, lingerie bag, or another type of washing bag. This will help prevent your Beanies from being thrown around the washing machine and getting damaged.
Use enough laundry detergent for a small load (no fabric softener) and start a gentle cycle. Once the machine is about one-quarter filled with water, add your bag with the Beanie Babies. If you must include other items in the wash, ensure they aren’t brightly colored, as they could bleed through the fur of your Beanie Babies.
As soon as the wash completes, quickly remove the Beanie Babies, place them on a surface (like a shelf or table), and let them air dry. If you must use the dryer (not recommended), use the lowest setting.
Once your Beanie Babies are fully dry, they’re ready to play with again!
If your Beanie Baby has a funky smell, it likely has some mold accumulating on it. At this stage, it probably isn’t worth trying to sell or display in a case, but you can still follow this method to remove the smell:
The best way to keep Beanie Babies clean is to store them in a clear plastic display case. While they may look adorable sitting on your shelf, without the proper protection, they’ll accumulate dust and household odors that will decrease their appraisal value.
If the fur on your Beanie Baby feels a little rough, use an old toothbrush to gently smooth out the gristly areas.
The machine washing process can damage or shrink the delicate fabrics of your Beanie Babies. Machine washing can also damage the tag, which is a key indicator of value. Hand washing is the only way to clean your Beanie Baby without compromising its aftermarket value.
Mike Alexander is a video game enthusiast, a chronicler of the 90s, and a collector of many things. Born in the mid-90s, he was able to catch the wave of some of the best things the decade had to offer, like Power Rangers, Pokémon, Bagel Bites, the list goes on. Despite the amount of time that has passed, he still enjoys many of those things today! If he’s not writing or gaming, he’s probably wondering why Warriors of Virtue didn’t take off the same way Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did.
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November 21, 2023
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