Freshly washed Build-a-bear collection

Can You Wash a Build-a-Bear?

Build-a-Bears have become a cherished toy for many across the world. With their customizable features and endless wardrobe options, they’re more than just a teddy bear; they’re an extension of a child’s personality. Like any other beloved toy, they can get dirty from playtime adventures and cuddle sessions. Ensuring they’re clean is essential for the health and well-being of their owner. If you’ve been wondering if you can wash a Build-a-Bear, this guide is for you.

Washing a Build-a-Bear is possible and can be done safely using various methods. Hand washing is the gentlest approach, while machine washing offers a deeper clean, and spot cleaning addresses specific stains. However, always avoid harsh chemicals and heat. Build-a-Bear clothes can be washed separately, and air drying is recommended for both the bear and its attire.

Here are the three main methods to wash a Build-a-Bear in more detail.

Hand Washing a Build-a-Bear for a Thorough Clean

Hand washing is the most gentle and highly recommended way to clean your Build-a-Bear. This method ensures that your beloved toy remains in its best shape while effectively getting rid of dirt, stains, or odors.

Steps to Hand Wash Your Build-a-Bear:

  1. Prepare a basin and fill it with cold water.
  2. Add a small amount of mild detergent, mixing gently until suds form.
  3. Submerge your Build-a-Bear into the soapy solution.
  4. Using gentle circular motions, clean the bear’s surface, paying extra attention to particularly dirty or stained areas.
  5. Rinse thoroughly with fresh cold water until all soap is removed.
  6. Gently press the bear to remove any excess water. Be careful not to wring or twist.
  7. Lay the bear flat on a clean, dry towel. Reshape its limbs or features if necessary.
  8. Turn the bear over periodically to ensure even drying.
  9. Keep the bear in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight, until it’s completely dry.

Remember, the key to this method is patience and gentleness. Taking your time ensures that your Build-a-Bear stays looking its best for years to come.

Machine Washing a Build-a-Bear for a Deep Clean

Machine washing can be an effective way to refresh your Build-a-Bear, especially when it has accumulated a significant amount of dirt. Though efficient, it’s essential to use this method with caution to prevent any potential damage to your furry friend.

Steps for Machine Washing Your Build-a-Bear:

  1. Begin by inspecting your Build-a-Bear for any loose stitches or accessories that might come off during the wash.
  2. Remove any electronic components, if applicable, before washing.
  3. Place your Build-a-Bear inside a pillowcase or mesh laundry bag. This protective layer helps reduce friction during the wash cycle.
  4. Set your washing machine to a gentle cycle using cold water. This setting helps preserve the bear’s colors and texture.
  5. Add a mild detergent, avoiding any bleach or harsh chemicals.
  6. Once the cycle is complete, gently remove the bear from the machine and the protective bag.
  7. Press the bear softly between two towels to absorb any excess water. Avoid wringing, as this can distort its shape.
  8. Find a flat surface in a well-ventilated area to lay the bear on for drying. Ensure the bear is not exposed to direct sunlight, which can fade its colors.
  9. Periodically rotate the bear to promote even drying and prevent any damp spots.

Using a washing machine can be a quick solution, but always ensure you follow the steps diligently to keep your Build-a-Bear in prime condition.

Spot Cleaning a Build-a-Bear for Quick Fixes

Spot cleaning offers a targeted approach, ideal for addressing minor spills or stains without subjecting the entire bear to a cleaning process. It’s the perfect solution when your Build-a-Bear needs a bit of touch-up.

Steps for Spot Cleaning Your Build-a-Bear:

  1. Gather your materials: a soft cloth, mild detergent, and cold water.
  2. Mix a small amount of detergent with cold water, ensuring it’s well-diluted.
  3. Dip the soft cloth into the solution, wringing out excess moisture so it’s damp but not dripping.
  4. Gently dab the affected area, ensuring you don’t scrub or rub too hard.
  5. Use a separate damp cloth, this time with only water, to rinse the cleaned spot.
  6. Pat the cleaned area with a dry towel to absorb moisture.
  7. Allow the bear to rest in a breezy area, ensuring the cleaned spot dries completely.
  8. Brush the fur gently with a soft-bristle brush to restore its natural fluff if needed.
  9. Inspect the area once dry. If the stain persists, you may need to repeat the process.

Spot cleaning can save the day when unexpected messes occur. By addressing stains promptly and with care, you can keep your Build-a-Bear looking its best.


Can I wash my Build-a-Bear’s clothes separately?

Certainly. Build-a-Bear clothes are designed to be removable, allowing for easier cleaning. It’s advisable to wash them based on the fabric type and the care instructions provided. Using a gentle detergent can help preserve the colors and fabric quality. If unsure about the washing instructions, a cold wash on a gentle cycle is a safe bet. After washing, lay them flat on a towel to dry. Avoid exposing them to intense heat or direct sunlight to prevent fading or shrinking.

Can you dry a Build-a-Bear in the dryer?

It’s generally recommended to steer clear of using a dryer for your Build-a-Bear. The intense heat and tumbling can be harsh on the bear’s fur, potentially causing it to lose its softness and even damage the internal stuffing. Air drying is the best approach. Find a spot away from direct sunlight, and let nature do its work. If you’re in a rush, placing it near a fan can speed up the drying process.

What should you avoid when washing a Build-A-Bear?

When cleaning your Build-a-Bear, steer clear of strong chemicals or bleach as they can be harsh on the fur. Hot water is another factor to avoid, as it can cause the colors to bleed or the fabric to lose its shape. It’s also a good idea to check the bear for any accessories or electronic components, which should be removed before any cleaning. Being gentle is key. Avoid any aggressive scrubbing or wringing, as these actions can damage the bear’s shape and texture.

How often should you wash a Build-a-Bear?

While there’s no strict timeline, the cleaning frequency largely depends on how the bear is used. For those that see daily play and cuddling, consider washing them once a month. If the bear is more of a decorative item, a thorough cleaning every few months should be sufficient. Always remember that regular spot cleaning can help address minor stains or dirt, potentially reducing the need for frequent full washes. Keeping the bear in a clean environment, free from dust or spills, can also extend the time between washes.


Maintaining the cleanliness of your Build-a-Bear ensures it remains a safe and cherished toy for years to come. Whether you choose to hand wash, machine wash, or spot clean, always use mild detergents and cold water. Remember to avoid drying your Build-a-Bear in a dryer and always air dry it instead. By following these methods, your furry friend will remain in top condition, ready for more adventures and cuddles.