The Safe Way to Clean a Stuffed Animal With a Voice Box 

Stuffed animals with a voice box can be a cleaning challenge. Learn how to spot clean them with simple methods.

Published January 1, 2023
Small boy sleeping with teddy bear

Your kiddos get attached to their stuffies. They take them everywhere, and sometimes they become their napkin and Kleenex too! Plushies can become a breeding ground for everything and anything disgusting, so cleaning is a must. But it gets a little tricky when their favorite toy has a voice or music box. You can't just throw that in the washer and hope for the best. Learn how to clean stuffed animals with voice boxes quickly and easily. Both your kiddo and you will be happier for it!

Quick and Easy Methods to Spot Clean Unwashable Toys

Most of the time, stuffed toys with a voice box are unwashable. The tag will say something like spot clean only or don't submerge in water. So, cleaning is pretty simple. Give them a good spot clean, depending on the type of stain you're dealing with.

The cleaners are different for each type of stain, but you basically grab your cleaner and scrub the area. For sticky stains, like glue or oil, you'll want to scrape away as much as you can before applying the cleaner. It's important to rinse the plush off with a damp cloth until all the soap residue is gone. Soap residue attracts dirt!





Mild shampoo

Brush away dry mud and wash with soap.


Fels Naptha & toothbrush

Scrub stain with toothbrush and cleaner.


Dish soap (Dawn recommended) & rubbing alcohol

Scrape, scrub with soap, and dab with alcohol.


Hydrogen peroxide

Dab with hydrogen peroxide.


Ice cubes

Put ice in a bag over gum to harden and peel away.


Baking soda

Cover in baking soda paste and allow to dry. Vacuum.
Cropped Hands Wearing Stuffed Toy

How to Clean and Sanitize a Stuffed Toy With a Voice Box

Your kiddo's stuffed toy has seen some things, and it has come out worse for the wear. A simple spot clean won't cover the overall dirt, grime, and bacteria living on this Tickle Me Elmo. You need to give it a sponge bath!


  • Vacuum with brush attachment
  • Bowl
  • Gentle detergent (Woolite recommended)
  • White vinegar
  • Cloth
  • Toothbrush


  1. Vacuum the plush with a brush attachment.
  2. Fill a bowl with warm water, a few tablespoons of white vinegar, and a dash of detergent.
  3. Remove batteries from the plush.
  4. Dip a cloth in the mixture.
  5. Wring it out well.
  6. Scrub down the plush, paying special attention to stained areas.
  7. A toothbrush can be helpful to scrub stubborn stains or hard-to-reach areas.
  8. Wipe the toy with a clean wet cloth to rinse.
  9. Allow the plush to air dry out of direct sunlight. (Do not put the toy in the dryer.)
  10. Reinstall battery once the toy is completely dry.

How to Wash a Plush With a Removable Voice Box

You might have gotten lucky. Some plush toys have a removable voice box, so you might be able to throw them in the washer or hand wash them. Check the tag to be sure. If it's safe to put it in the washer, make sure to:

  • Remove the voice box.
  • Put the plush in an old pillowcase or mesh bag.
  • Use the gentle cycle.
  • Use a gentle detergent.
  • Allow it to air dry.

Easy Way to Sanitize and Deodorize a Stuffed Toy With Baking Soda

The dancing lama looks fine after the spot clean, but it doesn't smell clean. You can't have your kid walking around the neighborhood with that. Thankfully, defunking it is simple with baking soda.

  1. Vacuum off the stuffie.
  2. Add a few cups of baking soda to a garbage bag or shopping bag.
  3. Throw the stuffed toy in.
  4. Give it a good shake for several minutes. (Kids love this part!)
  5. Allow it to sit for about an hour.
  6. Pull the plush out.
  7. Vacuum it off again.

For a bit of added de-stinking power, you can mix a few drops of essential oil into the baking soda. A nice calming scent like lavender always works well.

Things to Keep in Mind When Washing a Plush With Electronics

Electronics add another level of complication to your life. But you must admit the dancing monkey is fun to watch. Keep these precautions in mind while cleaning.

  • Don't use too much detergent or cleaner. Soap residue can attract dirt, so make sure it's completely rinsed away.
  • Be gentle when washing or sanitizing. Wires could break off or separate with rough cleaning.
  • Do not submerge toys with electronics in water.
  • Try vacuuming a precious stuffed toy first to see if that gets rid of the dirt.
  • For dusty stuffed toys, try a lint roller or brushing the fur to remove dust.

Simple Tricks to Clean Your Voice Box Stuffies

Cleaning tricks make your life easier, especially hacks that can make your kids happy. It's also going to make you pretty happy that the talking teddy they're toting around is germ free. Well, at least for now!

The Safe Way to Clean a Stuffed Animal With a Voice Box