Teddy Bear Care and Cleaning

Teddy bear care and cleaning may not be something you have given much thought to before. But if you want your bears to always look their best and remain in good condition then it is something that needs a little thought and time.

Whether you have modern bears made from synthetic material of older bears made from natural fibres, both need periodical cleaning and some gentle TLC.

What Can Damage Your Teddy Bear?

Faded teddy bear

There are four enemies to the bear which can damage their fur and cause tears. These are: 

  • Sunlight - Unfortunately leaving your bear near a window or in direct sunlight will over time cause the colour of the fur to fade. This really is a shame and will make your bear look shabby. 
  • Dust - yes good old dust. It will cause your bear to turn a rather grubby shade of gray and if not cleaned will become ingrained to the point that no amount of cleaning will return your bear to their full glory. 
  • Handling - As much as we love out teddy bears and want to hug and hold them, too much handling can cause the material to weaken and tear. Joints may also become loose and in some cases limbs may even fall off, yikes. 
  • Insects - Unfortunately insects do like to make home amongst warm and dark fabrics and teddy bears stuffing is a perfect home. Check for any signs of egg laying, especially in older bears around the ears and paw pads. If there are signs of infestation then treat with the appropriate insecticide before cleaning. Tjis is an important part of teddy bear care.

How To Clean Your Bear

Teddy bear care should include cleaning your teddy bear on a regular basis, say every month or so to prevent dust build up. 

This should be done by gently brushing the bear with a soft brush. Making sure that you get into cracks and joint areas where dust bear up can be worse. The brushing will also keep the bears fur looking at its best too. A gentle vacuum may also be given. 

Modern bears made from synthetic materials are designed to be gently hand washed too. Never submerge the bear in water though, instead lightly sponge the fur. Even though some modern teddy bears can be submerged or even washed in the washing machine, I would never recommend it, they never look the same again. 

Always dry your bear in a drying bag on the line. Pegging your bear up by the ear will weaken the fabric and distort the bear. Besides it's not very nice for the bear. 

Grease build up on older bears especially those made from Mohair can be cleaned with a bran bath. Simply sit your bear in a plastic bag and fill with bran (available from health food shops. Rub into the fur and then brush out using a stiff natural bristled brush. 

Clean any clothes your bear is dressed in with a mild detergent and hand wash if they are vintage items. Dry by laying out flat to prevent stretch.

Protect Your Teddy

Teddy bear in a jumper

There are a few ways you can help keep your bear looking their best apart from cleaning. 

Dressing your bear will protect the covered parts from colour fade. Many old bears can prove this and often vintage teddy bears can be seen with their original bright colour on their main body. 

Keep your bear away from direct sunlight if possible. Even from across a room, direct sunlight can affect the colour of your bear and cause fade. So remember to keep the curtains closed during very sunny days.

Storing A Teddy Bear

If you have valuable bears you wish to keep out of harm's way or perhaps you have run out of space for all your bears, you may want to store your bears safely away. 

There are a few top tips to teddy bear care when storing your bears, these are: 

  • Never store your bear in plastic. It can cause moisture to form and this in turn will cause mould.
  • Wrap your bear in white acid free paper or calico bags to protect from dust.
  • Cardboard boxes will help protect your bear from knocks and bangs.

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