A teddy bear can suffer from too much loving or possibly a trauma of everyday life like overly affectionate children, animals, insects or bacteria. The number of expert restorers has increased over the last few years and there are more hospitals able to meet the growing demand of time-ravaged and traumatized teddies.
TO RESTORE OR NOT TO RESTORE:
Proper restoration and repair will not decrease the value of a bear. Eyes can be replaced, noses and mouth threads replaced, paw pads replaced with like materials, ears and limbs can be replaced if missing, and joints can be re-done if they are loose. Torn seams can be repaired, growlers and squeakers can be replaced or sometimes repaired, and careful cleaning can remove dirt and restore the fur to a soft fluffy feel. Stuffing can be added or replaced as needed with like materials to bring your beloved friend back to life. It is always best to consult an expert before taking on cleaning or repairing your bear yourself.
CLEANING YOUR STUFFED BEAR:
It is always best to know what type of fabric your bear is made of and what it is stuffed with before attempting to clean your bear yourself!
Do not put your bear in a washing machine or send him to the dry cleaners as he will not like this experience! First make sure the fabric is strong enough to withstand cleaning. If you are not sure, contact an expert! It is always best to know what your bear is stuffed with before cleaning as some older stuffing materials will retain moisture and cause rotting or mold if not properly dried. Stuffing materials will often shift during cleaning. There are a variety of materials that have been used for stuffing bears thoughout the years.
If you want to try to clean your bear yourself, we suggest using only a tiny bit of cleaner for delicates and wool fabrics rather than soap or shampoo. Place a couple of drops in a large bowl of warm water. Use a clean rag and then dampen it in the mixture and wring the rag tightly. Rub the rag in a circular motion over the bear. DO NOT soak the bear! After this process, use clean water and a clean rag and remove all of the soapy residue in the same way. You can add a drop of fabric softner in the rinse water if you want, but be sure to use a clean fresh rag and repeat the process. This is a surface washing only! Once this process is completed, pat the bear dry with a towel to absorb any excess moisture and then use a hair dryer on low setting to help blow dry the fur. Once dry, fluff with a soft brush. We do not recommend using carpet cleaners.
Once the bear is clean and restored it only needs a little bit of regular maintenance. Keep your bear free of dust by using a brush or give him a periodic gentle vacumming. Keep lavendar bags or cedar chips nearby to prevent moths or other bugs from coming too close, especially if you have mohair or natural fur bears. Do not keep your bears sitting in direct sunlight, under or around a steady heat source such as heater vents, and never put them under hot halogen lamps. If you need to store your bear for long periods of time, do not store in plastic bags or boxes. Place your bear in a cardboard box and wrap him in acid-free tissue or an old cotton pillowcase with some cedar ships and then store him in a cool, dry place that does not experience dramatic temperature changes.
I hope this information has been helpful to you. Remember, It is always best to consult an expert if you have any doubts!