This is the story of a well-loved teddy bear. A teddy called TedTed. The first thing you need to know is that TedTed is no ordinary teddy. Not to Lucas, who’s five. To Lucas, TedTed is the best teddy bear in the world: the ted of all teds. He’s Lucas’ best friend – well, to be accurate, joint best friend with William who sits next to Lucas at school.

TedTed’s been by Lucas’ side ever since he was a baby. He was a present from Grandma when Lucas was born. Five years of love is a lot of love in teddy bear years. Think about all that ear-chewing and dragging along the ground on the way to the shops. Think about all that cuddling with hands covered in jam and butter and tomato sauce.

As you can imagine, TedTed gets a little bit grubby. It can be tricky for Lucas’ mum to find an opportunity to give TedTed a wash, because Lucas and TedTed do everything together. They play hide and seek in the garden, ride his bike, have picnics, go for sleepovers. And at the end of every day, Lucas holds TedTed’s paw while his mum reads them a bedtime story. But when she can prise TedTed out of Lucas’ often-sticky hands, she knows just how to wash him so that he stays clean and fluffy.

Dirt is good

The little marks of everyday dirt on his fur are the least of Mum’s worries. She just gets a toothbrush, dabs on a bit of Breeze and brushes the marks off.  That’s easy. It’s when TedTed gets really dirty that she has to take more drastic action. Like the time he fell out of Lucas’ backpack into a puddle, or whenever Lucas tries to feed him his dinner (which is every day, if we’re honest). The thing to do here, Lucas’ mum knows, is to give TedTed a cool, quick wash in the washing machine or by hand, using Breeze.

After that, he dries out nicely when he’s hung up over the bath or sink. And when the weather allows, TedTed is pegged out on the washing line to dry. He needs to be in a shady spot, though, because direct sunlight could discolour his fur and he wouldn’t look much like TedTed any more.

Pillow-case protection

He’s had a few injuries in his time, not long ago his shoulder got torn when Lucas’s sister decided it would be a good idea to teach TedTed how to dance. (Lucas made it very clear afterwards that this had not been a good idea.) TedTed had to be patched up before being washed so that he didn’t risk losing his whole arm.

Lucas’ mum knows that it’s quite a good idea to put stuffed toys inside a pillow case or bag before washing them in a machine. That way you can easily find and re-attach any bits that do unfortunately come off in the wash. Luckily, TedTed has managed to stay in one piece.

Lucas’ mum also know that it’s best to avoid putting too many stuffed animals in the machine at the same time. When their stuffing gets wet, they can get quite heavy. Lucas makes rather a good point when he says his toys don’t like being crowded together in a wash because they bash into each other and get all bruised.

Here’s a quick tutorial to show you how it’s done:

Sponge bath

Sometimes Lucas’ mum gives TedTed a sponge bath with Breeze and gets Lucas to help squeeze the water gently out until it runs clear. They also do this with some of Lucas and Sophia’s more delicate toys which aren’t suited to a machine wash.

For a quick freshen up, Lucas’ mum might also clean TedTed with the vacuum cleaner, shaking him in a bag with talcum powder first to get rid of any smells. Knots in his fur are easily untangled with a toothpick, and after a bath before bedtime he might be popped in the tumble dryer on a low heat.  All this pampering leaves TedTed extra soft and cuddly.

Non-furry friends

Lucas’ mum washes dolls and other toys made of silicone in lukewarm water using Breeze and something soft like a sponge. When she wants to be extra-gentle, she just uses her hands.

Toys made with silicone also have a habit of attracting dust and hair through static, which can be quite annoying, Lucas’ mum finds. To stop it happening, she dusts the surface lightly with baby powder using a make-up brush. She avoids anything too oily or perfumed, though, in case it stains. For toys with cloth bodies, she just rubs a little cornstarch or talcum powder into the fabric at night, then brushes or vacuums it off the next day.

So, that’s the story of TedTed and Lucas, a story in which the real hero is Lucas’ mum. She knows exactly how to look after her children’s toys, particularly the best teddy bear in the world.

If you have a well-loved soft toy we’d love to hear your story and do share any tips you have for keeping them clean and in one piece below.

For more washing tips visit washing tips & tricks – and for more info on removing particular stains, visit Solve Your Stain section.