Here is how to properly wash your child's teddies and soft toys
It might be hard to prize it out of their hands but it's important to make sure that the soft toy your child sleeps with, chews on and generally can't do without is kept clean.
There's no correct amount to wash toys but it's probably best to do it after a bout of illness, a dose of headlice or if the toy is exposed to somewhere like a creche.
A good rule of thumb is to wash it as often as you would your child's bedding.
Here are a few tips to follow.
Most plush toys that are in relatively strong condition will survive the washing machine, though anything with glued-on or plastic parts, that's a little worn or old or that's stuffed with beads is better washed by hand.
Wash in a gentle cycle with cool or cold water using a laundry bag to prevent the toy getting bashed around too much.
If you want to disinfect the toy, you can use a warmer wash but it might be best to go for an add-in laundry disinfectant to avoid the toy getting disfigured or damaged by the heat.
For this reason, it's also best to air-dry the toy by hanging it rather than risk running it through the tumble dryer.
If the toy isn't suitable for the washing machine, you may want to clean it by hand.
Use a basin of lukewarm water and a mild detergent or even a baby shampoo. Use a teaspoonful of detergent at first to ensure you don't use too much and have to spend ages rinsing.
If your little one is teething and you're tackling a drool stain, pre-soaking in lukewarm water and detergent for a few hours could help to dissolve the oils and salt that generally make up saliva.
If that doesn't work, an enzymatic cleaner might be necessary to break down the protein in the stain.
If you just want get rid of dingy smells, try putting it in a paper or plastic bag, adding some baking soda and shaking it.
Then, open the bag and brush off the baking soda - this will help freshen the toy's smell.
You can use the nozzle of a hoover if you want to get dust out of a stuffed toy.