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How to Clean a Squishmallow: Happy Kids

How to clean a squishmallow

As a parent, you never expected to be searching the internet for things like how to clean a Squishmallow. Yet, here you are. If your kids love their Squishmallows, you will need to know how to wash them without damage. Everyone knows damaged plush toys can lead to sleepless nights and unhappy kids. There is some conflicting information out there about how to clean a Squishmallow, so I’ll help you clear things up and get this done.

Important Tips Before You Begin Washing Squishmallows 

Squishmallows are sold on several websites, and some of these websites tell you to put your Squishmallow directly in the washing machine. 

Do not do this!

The manufacturer’s website and my own personal experience will tell you that the washing process is a hand wash process for Squishmallow. Putting these plush toys in the washing machine, even with cold water and a gentle cycle, will cause them to clump up and even lose that soft outer feel. 

In addition, make sure to: 

  • Check the care tag to see if there are specific instructions for your particular Squishmallow; some are more detailed with features and different materials than others 
  • Take a good look at the Squishmallow and see if you are also going to be stain-fighting in addition to washing because this will change your process  
  • Remove all accessories or clothing that are on the Squishmallow before you start 
  • Since you are hand washing the Squishmallow, you can be careful with any electronic components, but make sure you are aware of where any electronic components are located before you start 
  • If you are worried about losing color in your Squishmallow, test an inconspicuous area on the bottom of the plush toy near the tag; it will be the least noticeable 

How To Hand Wash A Squishmallow 

The best way to wash a Squishmallow is by hand. The process is simple, and all it takes is a few simple household items. Kids love to have these Squishmallows close to them day and night, so keep that in mind when choosing cleaning products.

Materials Needed to Wash Squishmallows

  • Damp cloth
  • Cold water
  • Spray bottle (8-16 oz)
  • Simple stain remover pen
  • Baby shampoo or normal laundry detergent (but, lightly scented or fragrance free)
  • Bowl or container
  • Dry towel

Step by Step Process 

  1. Fill a spray bottle with cold water and then add in a tablespoon of baby shampoo or laundry detergent 
  2. Mix the solution in the spray bottle so it becomes soapy
  3. Spray the outside of your Squishmallow with the solution so that it is damp but not soaked 
  4. Use a damp cloth to wipe clean the entire outside of the Squishmallow 
  5. Make sure to also wash the bottom of the Squishmallow and not just the back and front 
  6. When finished washing, rinse your damp cloth and do one more wipe with cool water to remove any excess cleaning solution 
  7. Take a dry towel and rub the outside of the Squishmallow to remove any excess water 
  8. Allow the Squishmallow to air dry, out of the direct sunlight

Precautions and Things To Watch Out For 

When washing your Squishmallow, here are a few of the most important things to watch out for: 

  • Do not push Squishmallow plush toys away in toy box when they are still wet to prevent mold growth
  • While working through the cleaning process, gently rub and gently squeeze the plush toy to ensure you are removing any surface dirt 
  • Use a mild detergent that is lightly scented so the Squishmallows plush toys don’t smell too strongly for your child 

Post Cleaning and Drying Tips

Once you are finished cleaning your Squishmallow’s dirty outer layer, it should be dry in about an hour or two. Some people will tumble dry on low. If you do this, make sure you don’t put anything else in there with the Squishmallow. 

Understand that it is recommended that you air dry so that the material inside the Squishmallow does not change shape.  

Alternative Methods

The hand wash method with a little baby shampoo is by far the most effective solution I have found. In fact, I use it on other plush toys and have noticed that it is often featured as the recommended cleaning instructions across several brands.  

Spot Cleaning and Treating Stains 

If you do have small stains on the Squishmallow, you will again want to avoid using harsh chemicals or anything that could impact coloring. Here is the process I follow before I go through the traditional handwash. 

  1. Before going through a hand wash process, purchase an Oxi Clean Stain Remover Pen
  2. Test the stain remover stick on the bottom of the Squishmallow to ensure it does not change the coloring 
  3. Place a small amount directly on the spot where there is a stain, and then wipe with a clean cloth 
  4. Follow the hand wash process above to wash the rest of the Squishmallow 

Machine Washing 

A machine wash is not recommended to clean a Squishmallow. I will tell you that you will see this recommended on other websites, but it is a bad idea. The machine washer has too much agitation, impacting the polyester fabric that makes a Squishmallow so soft. 

In addition, the Squishmallow inside will clump up. Part of the reason that kids love these is that they are a perfect shape for snuggling. Trust me, when they come out of the wash a lumpy mess after they lose shape, they will sit on the shelf!

Submerging the Squishmallow (Deep Cleaning) 

We all know those instances when deep cleaning is your only option. As a parent, I get that. This is the recommended method; just be aware that the drying time for the Squishmallow will be a little longer. 

  1. Fill a bathtub or container with cool or warm water and add about half a cup of normal detergent, I use Arm and Hammer Free and Clear for Sensitive Skin
  2. Mix the solution so that it is evenly distributed throughout the water 
  3. Rinse your Squishmallow with cold water to remove any exterior dirt or debris
  4. Place the Squishmallow in the bathtub and use your hands to wash and scrub it gently 
  5. Keep turning the Squishmallow and do the best you can not to change the shape 
  6. Don’t ring it to lose excess water, instead give it a slight shake while holding it with two hands 
  7. Remove the Squishmallow, and rinse with cool water again
  8. Use a clean towel to dry the exterior as best you can, and then let it air dry
  9. You can try a dryer on low heat to dry Squishmallows, but you risk losing the shape and super soft feel 

If you know a thing or two about ladder stitching and want more advanced tips on getting your favorite squishmallows thoroughly cleaned, follow along in this video:

Tips on Drying a Squishmallow 

If you don’t allow the Squishmallow to dry, it will lose a bit of its fluffiness, potentially grow mold, and the outer polyester layer can almost get a little crusty.

I’ve had plenty of success with drying Squishmallows in a well-ventilated room; I usually leave the ceiling fan on during the process. You can tumble dry, but the stuffing inside does have a chance of getting clumped up. 

If you tumble dry, make sure that you set it for a short period, and leave the clean Squishmallows in the dryer alone. Don’t fill your dryer with other clothing. Short drying times and low heat help to keep the Squishmallows from shrinking. 

Tips To Keep Your Squishmallow Looking and Feeling New 

If you want your Squishmallow to stay as soft as it is right now, you really should spot clean and hand wash the way I’ve recommended. Here are a few other tips to consider. 

  • Use a wet wipe to clean the exterior of your Squishmallow squad after a day out on the town
  • Keep the Squishmallow away from pets when possible to avoid issues with smell and dirt
  • If you decide to tumble dry, you can put Squishmallow inside of a pillow case or pillow covers to protect any of the exterior features
  • A gentle shake or pat from time to time will air fluff your Squishmallow and get the general shape back 
  • Always store clean Squishmallows in a dry environment away from humidity or direct sunlight 

Understanding the Squishmallow Material

Squishmallows are made of polyester fibers. They are incredibly soft, and that is part of the appeal. However, the material can also be delicate when going through the washing and drying process. 

Polyester fibers are more delicate and subject to pilling than other fabrics. In addition, polyester does not do well with high heat, so I suggest not using hot water when you handwash Squishmallows. 

Mistakes To Avoid When Cleaning Squishmallows 

Here are a few last mistakes that you want to avoid when cleaning Squishamallows. I want to help you have a clean house and be a happy Squishmallow owner at the same time!

  • Don’t use harsh detergents or bleach; they will damage the polyester fibers and potentially discolor the Squishmallow 
  • High heat settings in the dryer could shrink the Squishmallow; air drying is the recommended method 
  • Avoid overwashing when possible; use the wipe-down method after a day of play, but save the cleaning so you don’t have to do it as frequently 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I Use Fabric Softener When Washing a Squishmallow?

Do not use fabric softeners when washing a Squishmallow. Fabric softeners can leave residue on the Squishmallow from the chemicals found in the softener. Over time this residue will alter the texture of the Squishmallow. 

How Often Should I Clean My Squishmallow?

Spot clean your Squishmallow once a week if it’s getting dirty from a lot of use. Once every few months for a deep clean is acceptable. Overwashing can result in quicker deterioration of the polyester fibers. 

Can I Dry Clean My Squishmallow?

Dry cleaning is not recommended for a Squishmallow as the plush toy is just too fragile. The fabrics and materials were not designed to handle the intense heat of dry cleaning. 

Can I Use Bleach To Clean My Squishmallow?

Bleach cannot be used on a Squishmallow. The bleach will remove coloring from the Squishmallow fibers and break down the delicate exterior more quickly. 

Can I Dry My Squishmallow in the Sun?

Do not dry your Squishmallow in the sun. Air dry a Squishmallow only. The sun’s UV radiation will lead to color fading and materials breakdown. Additionally, the soft exterior texture can get damaged.


Britt Olizarowicz