I recently got a message in my tumblr about cleaning Rilakkuma plushies, and that became the inspiration for my next photo!
Anyway, I posted my response on tumblr, but this ask got me thinking about cleaning and maintenance of Rilakkuma plushies, so I thought I would pass on a few tips:
Keeping a Rilakkuma plushie pristine is generally based on limiting its exposure to air to avoid collecting dust.
The Rilakkuma I use for Lifestyle photos is very mobile and active so this is somewhat out of the question, but the plushies in my collection stay in their plastic bags for the most part. They look kind of sad in their bags, so I would like to eventually get a display case or something to that effect in the future.
Protecting Rilakkuma from dust 100% of the time is difficult (especially if y’all just wanna hang out), so regularly keeping your Rilakkuma clean will suffice. Using light duty lint rollers is pretty effective because adhesive is very mild. If you’re cheap like me, you can also use tape – I use packing tape because its wider, and can cover more surface. Just quickly stick the tape and lift all over to easily pick up dust, dirt, and other loose particles.
You might also consider using a hand vacuum with a clean nozzle (preferably a smaller one). Just make sure to be careful and test the distances to make sure your vacuum isn’t too strong to suck in any of the costume parts.
I’ve also read that wrapping your plushie in plastic wrap and sticking it the freezer overnight followed by vacuum will kill dust mites. Seems like Rilakkuma would be sad in the freezer so I haven’t tried this, but maybe he’ll be happy to dust mite-free.
For small dirt spots and specks, I use hot water and a soft cloth (or sponge) and gently dab. I also follow up by brushing a clean comb in the direction of the fur to maintain the original texture. The biggest key to cleaning plushies is being gentle – you don’t want to scrub vigorously or use heavy duty detergents that’ll destroy the plushie.
In the past, I’ve also used clear antibacterial hand sanitizer for stains on the costume bits, like Marine Rilakkuma’s sailor hat, which are a less fragile than the main plushie and can withstand more force. Not sure if I’d recommend using it all the time, but it did the trick when I didn’t have other materials available. Generally, those parts can withstand harsher cleanings because they aren’t furry.
For the most part, this should all be more than sufficient for maintenance, but in more severe cases…
Generally, you shouldn’t really need to surface wash your plushies ever unless they’re particularly dirty. Rilakkuma plushies who’ve experienced a degree of use or play will show a few signs of aging such as lighter fur color and a slight change in texture due to wear and friction – this is normal, and it is difficult (and unnecessary) to reverse by surface washing.
But if a more thorough washing is needed, the most powerful cleaning method used for Rilakkuma plushies should be surface cleaning. I’ve used this on my bigger Rilakkuma, since he’s out and about a lot. For this, the method is similar to spot cleaning: I use hot soft water (bottled water works too) and a very small bit of mild detergent, and wash the entire plushie gently – dab, don’t rub/scrub. I then follow immediately with just water to ensure that there is no soap residue left behind. Afterwards, I dry him completely with a hairdryer on the cool setting – drying plushies as much as possible is important to prevent mildew from growing! Like spot cleaning, afterwards I make sure to use a clean comb to even out his fur since it’s directional.
I’ve seen Rilakkuma plushies survive the washing machine using cold water and the pillowcase method, but I wouldn’t recommend it for all Rilakkuma plushies, especially those with props and stuff.
Gund makes a solvent especially formulated for plushies called Teddy Bear Bath® – Plush Toy Stain Remover; I haven’t tried it myself, but I seen a few good reviews, so it may be worth a shot.
I found this website from Stuffe and Nonsense Lore to be pretty helpful when I was first researching plushie maintenance – maybe it will help you!
Hi! I was so relieved to find this on Google because I didn’t know of any way to clean them except the net-in-washer.
However, I was wondering, one of my Korilakkumas has a coffee/chocolate stain on her legs. Is there any way to get rid of this? Thanks in advance!
Perhaps try the following:
– If there is some dried/hardened chocolate, try to scratch off the solid part of it as much as you can without pulling the fur – sometimes it helps to gently twist a bit of the fur between your thumb and forefinger to get the bigger solid pieces out (if any).
– Heat up some water as close as you can to boiling. Dampen a cloth or sturdy paper towel (I use Viva paper towels) with this hot water – should not be sopping wet, just damp. Very gently dab at the stain. Follow immediately with blowdrier on the area to make sure the fur sets well.
– If hot water alone doesn’t get rid of the stain (depending on how deep the stain is), mix mild soap and hot water in a separate container to create suds. Dip the cloth/paper towel in the suds only, and apply gently to the stain by dabbing, then blowdry. Depending on how set the stain is, you may have to repeat this a few times – the key is to be gentle! When the stain is gone, follow with the hot water treatment from before to get any soap residue off – then follow with blowdrier again.
This procedure has worked for me so far (through mystery stains and then some) – hope it works for you!
Do you think I should bring her to a dry cleaner? The hot water worked but only took half the stain off. :'(
I think it depends on how much you trust your dry cleaner – some dry cleaners can be too harsh on a plushie (I know I can’t even trust mine with a cashmere sweater), but it may be worth a shot? Personally, I would try cleaning with the soap+hot water a little every day, but that could get tedious, so it’s up to you! Good luck!
Just reading 2 posts on your blog and I am already hooked… Will be reading your whole blog tonight lol ^_^
Aww you are so sweet! :)
Hi! I have a big Rilakkuma plush that I sleep with every night. He’s lost some of his softness from all the tossing and turning and I wonder how can I get the softness back? Especially around his stomach. I’m scared of washing him because of the stuffing and the little plastic balls inside that weigh down his legs. What would be a good way to wash my bby without harming to inside and outside? ;__;
Hi Nami, thanks for checking out my blog!
I’m going through the same thing with my oldest Rilakkuma – I’m scared of washing him too. I’ve found that soap tends to make his fur cleaner but a little less soft. I think it’s mainly the oil from our skin that makes Rilakkuma fur less fluffy :[ What I usually do, especially in the belly area which tends to get dirty most, is use a very mild detergent in very hot water and wash, then immediately blowdry completely dry. It honestly takes a while, but you’ll start to slowly see small changes as you keep dabbing (don’t be rough!).
I also use clear packing tape to get rid of superficial dirt (test it on a small area first to make sure his fur isn’t pulled!), and it also has a tendency to make him look a little fluffier because of the way the tape pulls up.
I think the most important thing with maintaining fluffiness is drying your Rilakkuma immediately after washing, otherwise the fur will dry oddly. Also, drying completely prevents mold growth (yuck!).
In terms of the inside… haha this will sound strange, but putting him in a plastic bag in the freezer overnight will kill any dustmites! Won’t make him fluffier, but good for “cleaning” the inside.
Hope that helps, good luck!
Hi! I love this post, and your mild detergent+hot water combo really works for me! This post is my go to for my babies’ spring cleaning haha, thanks for this great post!
So glad to hear! That reminds me that I have to do some bear spring cleaning now too hahaha
I honestly just throw mine in the washer with my dirty clothes and they come out just fine.
lol I think my washer unit is too intense because they never come out quite as fluffy as before when I use it. I’m sure your Rilakkumas have fun tumbling around in the washer too hehehe.
What kind of washer do you have (top loader / side loader), what settings & how much detergent do you use, Ember?
I have yet to wash any of my Rilakkumas, but I’d definitely like to know in the event they do get dirty.
Also, I love this blog so much. It just melts my heart. ~x~
Hi, so sorry I somehow missed this comment sitting in my “pending” comment box for months, but thank you so much for reading my blog!! :D
Hi, I’m not sure if this is still open, but I’ll give it a go! I accidentally dabbed my regular rilakuma with a ballpoint pen. Its a small mark, but is there a way I could remove it? Thanks!
Hi Allan! Sorry to hear your Rilakkuma got some ink on him!
There are quite a few options for tinier spots: if just regular and frequent dabbing with hot water doesn’t do the trick, you can try using a Q-tip/cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol, and gently dab/brush many times. If that doesn’t work, you can also try non-acetone nail polish remover (you can use acetone too, just have to be more careful since it’ll be stronger). Some people swear by putting hairspray on a cloth and dabbing, but using an aerosol might be a little messy.
If the ink just got on the fur and not the cloth base, it’ll usually come off a little easier, but if not, just be persistent! And make sure to brush the fur back into the original direction if it gets damp.
Hope that helps!
I put my kuma in the sink and washed her with dish soap. Which made the dye from her face run a little but I got it all out by washing it again my kuma gets washed a lot because. I keep forgetting I have on lipstick or curry stains from holding her while eating. If it is hot out side I put her out on a drying rack.
I totally relate to this! Many times, Rilakkuma is on my lap when I’m on the computer, and whatever I’m snacking on always accidentally falls on his head—oops!
Thanks for sharing your cleaning tips! :)