For everyday spills and stains, “spot cleaning” (wiping off the surface or soaking and rinsing the worst bits) should be enough to keep your Yarn Miracle Companion respectable. But after a certain amount of wild living, everybody needs a bath.
I’m here to help.
Gather your supplies.
Select a mild soap: I like Dr. Bronner’s. Soaps designed for hand washing fabrics, like Soak, are great – even a mild bar soap will do if you work it into a lather first. Stay away from anything ultra concentrated, heavily scented or for use in a washing machine – it will never rinse out. For animal fiber Companions (wool, cashmere, angora) baby shampoo works very well. You’ll also need a bowl or other container large enough to submerge the toy. A washcloth can be helpful to rub at spots if you’ve got some places that are worse than others. Have a couple towels ready for drying. Try to work by a sink – it will save you from mopping up.
Step 1: Add a little soap to your container and fill it with cold (room temperature) water. I tend to use whatever comes out of the tap. Swish the water around to make sure your soap has dissolved into the water (you want bubbles, but not frothy piles of them).
Step 2: In goes your critter! Let him soak a few seconds to get wet all the way through.
Step 3: Gently, gently squeeze him and all his parts to work the soapy water through. Pay special attention to extra dirty areas. In our case, that’s poor Pink Meow’s chewed up tail. If your friend is especially dirty, have him soak in the tub for 5-10 minutes to let the soap do its job.
Step 4: When you feel that he’s had enough, lift him out of the bath and squeeze him geeeeently to get some of the water out. Never never ever wring! It will stretch your friend all out of shape and squash his stuffing terribly.
Step 5 (rinsing)
Step 5: Dump your bowl (marvel at the color of the water, blech) and fill it with clean water for rinsing. Back in goes the critter. Swish him around to get the soap out. Squeeze your friend gently to work the clean water through. Repeat this step until all the suds are gone.
Step 6 (part a)
Step 6: Pull your companion out of the rinse water and squeeze him gently to remove some of the water. Again: NO WRINGING!
Step 6 (part b)
Then roll your friend in a towel to remove even more water. It is AMAZING how much water these guys can hold. Roll him up a second time in a dry towel (and give him some gentle squeezes through the towel) if he is still sopping.
Step 7 (reshape)
Step 7: Reshape him. This just means to mold him gently back into shape so that he can dry that way. These creatures are tightly knit, so they will keep their basic shape even when wet – just use the general contours as a guide for reshaping.
Step 8 (so relaxed)
Step 8: Lay him on a towel to dry.
Step 9: Wait for him to dry. This is the worst part because it seems to take FOREVER. A fan helps, changing the towel underneath when it is wet will help, changing his position will help (I shift them to a sitting position after about 24 hours), sunshine and low humidity will help. Pink Meow takes about two days to dry in the summer. Sometimes Ellie can’t wait that long, so I wrap her friends in hand towels and let her carry them around.
Step 10: If the stuffing in an arm or leg has migrated, that can be corrected once the animal is dry. Insert a knitting needle or bamboo skewer gently between the stitches and poke the stuffing back into position. Wool stuffing should puff right back up as it dries. Cotton stuffing is a little less resilient, after your friend is dry some judicious shaking and pinching will help fluff it back out if needed.
That’s all there is to it! The most important things to remember are:
Your Companion will be back in action in no time.