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Hi have just bought a sad looking 1960's deans bear at the car boot sale for 20p! He is jointed but his fur is very flattened and clumped to his body. Does anyone have any advice for trying to clean him up a bit. He is made of synthetic fur rather than mohair.
can we see a photo?? that might help..can you tell if his disks are wooden or plastic?? is the stuffing woodwool or synthetic?? if plastic and synthetic stuffing you can soak him a bit in warm soapy water, scrub the worst bits and spin dry in the washing machine and then give him a good brushing..if hes got wood then you can really only brush him out and sponge clean him..would love to see a pic..i was a collector of deans for years!! Congrats on such a great bargain!
Don't soak the Bear. It will take ages for him to dry and he'll smell musty afterward.
First, get a brush. The best brushes are hair brushes used for babies. Short, soft bristles. Stiff enough to do the job. Not so stiff as to pull out too much fur.
Prefer one that's never been used for anything else. Humans leave oil in the bristles when they brush. This is not good for Bears.
Brush the Bear's fur up and see how he looks.
If that doesn't work, you can SURFACE WASH him. Put him by the sink. Use a sponge or wash cloth to blot and pat the dirt out of his fur.
You can use baby shampoo if you have it. You can buy special "Bear Bath" at the store. Gund makes one. Build-A-Bear Workshop sells one too. We use Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap. (Unscented Baby Mild)
Sponge his fur clean with a soapy cloth. Sponge the soap out. Towel dry the Bear. Put him in a warm, airy place to dry.
Brush his fur when he's dry.
Your Bear may fuss when he's getting his bath but he'll be much happier when he's dry and fluffed.
For the definitive word on Bear cleaning, click the link below to see a movie:
Natural History of the Teddy Bear: Keeping Clean
(6.6 MB download - MP4)
us bears, soaking is fine if the bear is all synthetic..you just spin dry in the washing machine then put somewhere warm to dry overnight..ive washed loads of toys this way and they don''t take long to dry nor do they smell musty. You wouldn't do that if it wasn't all synthetic of course..then sponging is about the only solution
I've always followed what I read years ago in a bear book. Use a mild soap or detergent like Ivory pr even baby shamppoo, make as may suds as possible and only use the suds with a wash cloth or paper towel to "sponge" the bear clean. That way the backing doesn't get wet, just the fur on the top. I think these instructions were for mohair, so if it's synthetic, it may not hurt to get the backing wet. I'd love to see a piccie1
I put synthetic bears in the machine on a gentle cycle and opened the machine at the end of the cycle to be faced with a pile of stuffing, floating eyes and very little else. Be Careful!!
A Teddy Bear funeral is probably the saddest occasion of all!
I just wouldn't ever put a Bear in the washing machine! Not ever!
Normally we give Bears a bath the way Brenda says, using minimal water. We use a terrycloth towel to wash with, not paper. Paper leaves lint balls behind.
Then we towel dry and follow up with a cool hair dryer. (Not hot!) We put the Bear in a warm place to dry then, when he's all dry, we brush him.
If the Bear's tush tag said "washable" I'd consider giving him a more through bath than usual. I would use more water and not worry about getting his fabric wet. I still wouldn't soak the stuffing. Even if his stuffing is polyester it will still get matted down after being wet. The only way to restore a Bear with matted stuffing is to restuff him... Major surgery! Maybe... just maybe... if the Bear was made from foam stuffing I would consider getting him all wet. Even then, I would be very careful about drying him so hit stuffing doesn't mat down.
No matter what you end up doing, the best course of action is to take the least aggressive steps first then follow up with more thorough cleaning if necessary.
I would be absolutely heartbroken if one of our Bears got unstuffed in the washing machine like that!
BTW: The video I linked to in my last post covers the topic of washable Bears. You should check it out.
Thanks for all your great advice. I will try and give him a gentle clean to start with and see how i get on from there. Here is a picture of him he does look a bit sad and dishevelled but i couldn't just leave him in a box at the car boot sale!
Oh! He's gorgeous lucky you to have found him and lucky him to have found you!
What a fine Bear! :)
Don't forget, a well-worn Teddy Bear is a well-loved Bear. A Bear who has a messed up fur and a few worn patches is a Bear who has done yoeman's work making sure his human always has a friend when needed.
Teddy Bears often see wear and tear as a badge of honor.
While I can guarantee your Bear will appreciate some TLC, a good brush-up and maybe even a bath, I don't think this Bear needs to be restored to like-new. That would take away all his character he worked so hard to get.
Ask him what he wants you to do. Sit down with him. Give him a good hug. Feed him some cookies and some hot chocolate and talk to him.
(Yes! Actually TALK to him! Really! I'm serious! Talk to him!)
He might want you to sew up his nose and mend the bare spots on his paws and feet. But if he doesn't tell you it's okay to do those things don't do them. He will tell you what he wants.
Bears don't actually talk to you. That would be breaking the cardinal rule. But they certainly can talk THROUGH you if you are receptive to what they are thinking.
Just listen. He'll tell you what he wants.
Don't forget that cookie! He needs a cookie! He's been sitting in that box for a while now. He's hungry. Can't you tell just by looking at him? ;)
BTW: I read that article you linked to. Some very good advice except for one thing.
I would be wary of using Oxy Clean on a Teddy Bear. Oxy Clean has sodium percarbonate in it. Sodium percarbonate is derived from hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is a type of bleach. Yes, they say Oxy Clean is safe for colored fabric but I would still think twice about it.
I have used Oxy Clean without issue. As with any cleaner testing first if you can is best but I have not had any problems with Oxy Clean removing color or being too harsh. I think the key here is to paying attention to the material the cleaner is being recommended for and how to use it.
I have a cleaning concoction a bear maker came up with and was selling a few years ago that I use and it works great!!! Unfortunately she is not selling it anymore.
I'm sure it can be very confusing with all the different advice but I'm sure you have good common sense and will care for your bear with the utmost care.
Good luck Andrea.
I think the key here is to paying attention to the material the cleaner is being recommended for and how to use it.
I gotta' agree with that!
Provisionally, I would say it's okay to use Oxy Clean if you test for colorfastness first.
We use Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap to clean Bears when they need a bath. The "Baby Mild" is the the one we use.
http://www.drbronner.com/DBMS/OLBA16/Ba … idSoap.htm