Refurbishing Stuffed Animals

Debra Frick
March 20, 2008

Stuffed Easter BunnyThis year, a lot of us will be shopping the thrift stores and yard sales for Bunnies to fill our Easter Baskets. There is nothing in the world like seeing a child on Easter morning hugging that sweet Easter bunny. So I am going to give you some ideas on how to clean up those Easter Rabbits that you find at your favorite thrift store or yard sale.


As any one of you knows that read my articles regularly, I am a big fan of helping others in need. Again at this time of year, there will be a lot of kids that won't be getting an Easter basket. I firmly believe that our teenagers should be taught about community service young and that helping out should be a habit, not just something we do on special occasions like Christmas and Easter, but this would be a great project for a Girl Scout group or a church youth group to do. Everyone loves Easter baskets and Easter baskets could even be made up for a senior center or community center. There is nothing like spreading the joy, believe me. Also this is the time to contact your local community center or Senior Center about making up baskets, They will be able to tell you just how many to make and you will have enough time to make them.

Light Cleaning

I try to buy bunnies that won't need much rehab so that it makes my job easier. If your bunny just needs a light cleaning, then here are some ways to clean them without putting them in the washer. You can clean spots of your bunnies with a little dish soap and water. Wet a washcloth and scrub the spot and then just air dry. For smells that you can smell like cigarette smoke, a little Febreeze can work wonders. I then take a look at the over all look of the bunny. If it looks just a little tired, I replace bows and decorate it some. You can add hats to the bunnies that you can buy at Michael's very cheaply or I dress her up with a dress and a necklace that I string from old beads or just use an old necklace that I picked up at the thrift store.

I buy old necklaces all the time as I love to bead but sometimes, in my rush, I have been known to buy beads that the beads are fused to the string and can not be restrung. These are the ones I use to decorate my bunnies and other stuffed animals. For boy bunnies, I try to find a newborn tee shirt that has a cute saying on it and dress him in this. You can also find the little newborn baseball caps that can be hot glued right on. Now with 8 grandsons, finding newborn baby clothes is not a problem but if you explain what you are doing to some new moms, I bet they would be will to give you a shirt or two for your special project.

Machine Washing

If you plan on washing your bunny in the washer you will need to get a sweater bag for your washer. You can find these at Walmart for about $3.00. These bags help to keep the more furry bunnies from matting up. All stuff animals should be washed in COLD water as this will also help in not shrinking the fibers that our bunnies are made of. I use Gain detergent when the bunnies are really dirty but, most of the times, I can get by with something a lot gentler, like Woolite.

I use only the gentlest cycle. Before washing, I remove ribbons and bows if I can. Sometimes the bunnies are completely washable but are decorated with ribbons and bows that are not safe to wash as they will bleed color onto white or colored bunnies. So I don't take any chances, I just remove them. If the ribbon bows are dirty and can not be washed, I replace them. Wired ribbon is pretty cheap at the Walmart and it makes wonderful bows.


When it comes to drying the bunnies, I will dry them in my dryer only if I can do so safely. I start them off in the dryer and then check on them to see if the heat is affecting the fibers. If the bunnies are plush, usually I can dry them completely in the dryer. If they are furry with the longer hair, I have to pull them out of the dryer about halfway through.

I dry them in the same sweater bag that I washed them in and I do sometimes throw an old tennis ball in the dry with them just as I would if I was drying something that was made with down. This helps to dry them more quickly as it beats out some of the water.

I hope this gives you some great ideas on how you can save money on your bunnies. I wish you all a wonderful Easter with lots of egg hunts and beautiful weather.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

March 2, 2020

So this is a long winded question. Basically I've had this Disney plush since 2000 as it was sold at my local Toys R Us. It came with a VHS package for Lady and the Tramp 2, Scamps Great Adventure. Unfortunately, over the years she was a little too loved and has developed some holes and her under coating on under her fur is starting to pop up which was once covered.Repairing a Disney Stuffed Toy - plush Lady of Lady and the Tramp fame


I have the tag, but have been back and forth with Disney forever trying to find the company that made her. She was a limited edition and had to be produced around 1998-1999 as she was sold in stores around Valentine's Day 2000. I have the no. reg no. number which is Made by Not Reg. No. 24H4480. I also have a list of all the factories that produce for Disney the only problem is there are over 200 in China alone. I'd assume it was made in China via the tag. The barcode on the packaging led back to Walt Disney Home Entertainment Buena Vista, California. However, their consumer department told me due to the age of the product they no longer have that information. I find that a bit hard to believe because she's part of their property and if someone tried to reproduce (potential lawsuit) her they would have all the evidence that they made her.

Some toy companies told me Disney made it themselves and others said it was made in China. The question is where? The reason for going to them is because I'm trying to find the plans on how they made her because if I'm going to pay a vintage repair store to fix her, I want it done exactly like the manufacturer did. I'm pretty serious about this issue as I've written to the president (lol longshot) and I wrote to Bob Iger who another person in FL received it and didn't help at all. He was some supervisor at the World resort. I would truly appreciate any insight you may be able to offer. Note the pictures are what she semi looks like. This one is exactly the same except it's her twin. Made from the same materials and everything I just don't have a picture of mine to upload.

Repairing a Disney Stuffed Toy


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March 4, 20200 found this helpful
Best Answer

I believe you are working on a losing battle as a company in China made this toy and they made it to Disney's specifications and those plans would never be released to anyone.


I do not believe you can duplicate the material but a good restorer may be able to take your 'twin' and come up with very similar material.
I have seen very good restorations of vintage toys but as you know, any type of work like this will be very costly (and the price will probably go higher if they find out how much you like this toy).

Sorry you are having such a difficult time with this project.
Perhaps you could find a similar one on eBay and use the fabric on your toy.

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July 27, 2007

Where can I take an old stuffed monkey that I want to get "reclothed"? The cloth is old, and he needs to be patched up.

Libby from Colorado Springs, Colorado


By Robbie (Guest Post)
July 30, 20071 found this helpful

get a hold of a clothing tailor in your area.. I am sure they can fix it.. look in the phone book for seamstress..

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Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 378 Feedbacks
July 31, 20071 found this helpful

Look online for a doll hospital.

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Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 418 Feedbacks
July 31, 20071 found this helpful

Those of us who watch Antiques Roadshow know you shouldn't try to fix up a possible antique before you get a professional opinion on its value as is. If the toy is old and/or collectible, it might be worth more just the way it is. Just a thought.

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 364 Posts
August 5, 20071 found this helpful

Try a tailor or a dressmaker. If it's an antique, leave it alone because the value will drop significantly if it is altered.
If it's just an old favorite stuffed toy whose only value is sentimental, then you could always go to a cloth shop and peruse the pattern books.

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February 11, 2010

I have a stuffed bear that when the paw is pressed it sang a song. This no longer works. The batteries have been changed and tested so it is not the batteries. I would like to find someone who can fix this musical feature of the bear. This is not the only one that I have that is broken.

By Barbara from Lakewood Ranch, FL


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 146 Posts
February 14, 20101 found this helpful

Hi Barbara,
You might try a jewelry store that does watch repair. We once had a watch repairman at a jewelry store repair a very expensive music box.


I hope you can find someone to help you. All the best, Julia in Boca Raton, FL

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February 15, 20101 found this helpful

At craft stores carry the individual musical devices that can be placed in stuffed animals. They come in different tunes. And can be put into the paw of your bear. It might not be the same musical tune as the original, but it would be music.

The device has a little raised button on its top side. When you press the paw of the animal, it activates the music, then it plays the tune.

Sorry I cannot think of the exact name of this little device. But your craft store will know what you are talking about. These little devices are also found in the catalogs for crocheters and knitters. They are designed to go in the little animals, or puppets or whatever. They are not terribly expensive either.

Hope this helps you.

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February 19, 20101 found this helpful

Does the bear still have the makers tag on it? If you can locate the company they may be able to give you a solution to it or send you a replacement. My niece had a talking doll that stopped talking and the company that made it replaced it for free.

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April 16, 2008

How do I remove the mini music box from a stuffed animal? (I can't get the wind-up key disconnected from the actual box)

rkay82 from Indiana


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April 16, 20081 found this helpful

There should be a seam on the back of the stuffed animal. Carefully open the seam and remove music box and hand sew closed. If there isn't a seam make a small slit in the material, remove box and stitch it closed by hand sewing.

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By Mary (Guest Post)
April 22, 20080 found this helpful

Try unscrewing the key BACKWARDS. Some of them go on that way
so you don't unwind while using it!

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June 29, 2015

I was wondering if you could tell me where I could get a stuffed dog's back legs, both. This dog has "hard jointed bone" under his stuffing. The legs use to bend and he could stand up. I am trying to fix my daughter's favorite "friend" and his legs are broken and about to fall off. I can not send it to a doll hospital to be fixed she cannot be without him.

Do you know where to purchase them?
Thank you.


June 30, 20150 found this helpful

You may have to find a similar toy and perform a transplant operation.

If you can find a brand new version of the exact same animal, this could work as well, if you have the right story. When I was little, my mom purchased more than one copy of my favorite stuffed toy, unbeknownst to me. When she wanted to switch out my old, faded, worn toy, she'd tell me that Kitten was going to the spa and she'd come back as good as new.
She'd take the old toy and later the same day introduce the new one.
If your child is not familiar with the miraculous properties of the health spa, you could use the term "hospital."

Good luck.

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August 26, 2016

This is a page about removing mildew from a stuffed toy. Stuffies can get wet and if left that way, begin to grow mildew that needs to be removed for the health of your child.

Old stuffed bear sitting in front of a rainy window

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

November 2, 2010

How do you clean large stuffed animals?

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May 5, 2009

Stuffed Animals can be nice, but do get dusty. Years ago when my kids were small and had stuffed animals, I received this tip on an easy way to clean them & it works great.

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November 24, 2008

Does anyone have any tips for cleaning stuffed toys? I have some toys that I would like to give to friends that have children but would like to spiff them up before I do.

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