When you’re considering cleaning and/or restoring soft toys and stuffed animals – antique, vintage or modern – you’re often presented with a combination of non-construction related issues:
In addition, you’re often presented with a combination of construction related issues:
So what to do?
One approach to cleaning and/or restoring your soft toys and stuffed animals is to search for a DIY solution online. The internet is awash with “testimonials” to the “effectiveness” of a combination of water, baking soda, salt, vinegar and/or any other product you can possible imagine. The possibilities are endless.
In addition to the DIY approach, you’ll find countless references on the internet to a whole host of branded cleaning products that someone experimented with and that somehow produced miraculous results.
Were you to discuss the subject of cleaning soft toys and stuffed animals with literally anyone, you'll hear some anecdote about someone’s aunt or second cousin who once “cleaned” a soft toy or stuffed animal with a particular branded cleaning product and a bucket of hot, warm or cold water.
One of these countless internet solutions might be perfectly suited for soft toys and stuffed animals that have no monetary value and/or sentimental value.
After all, there’s almost nothing to loose. If your solution fails, that toy or animal will just end up in the landfill.
When it comes to cleaning and/or restoring soft toys and stuffed animals that have a high monetary value and/or a high sentimental value, however, the stakes are much higher and don’t lend themselves to experimentation with DIY solutions or some branded cleaning product.
When you combine the non-construction issues (stains and soiling, musty odors, bodily fluid odors and bacterial and viral pathogens) with the construction issues (outer fabrics of unknown quality and interior fill of unknown origin), you might recognize that the cleaning and/or restoration of soft toys and stuffed animals that have a high monetary and/or sentimental value is a task best entrusted to a professional.
At RAVE FabriCARE, we’ve been cleaning and/or restoring soft toys and stuffed animals for over 35 years.
As we've explained, when it comes to professionally cleaning a soft toy and stuffed animal, there are 2 issues to consider:
1. The exterior fabric, and
2. the interior fill.
Accordingly, it's critical to recognize that both parts of your soft toy or stuffed animal requires treatment: the exterior fabric and the interior fill.
Cleaning the exterior fabric without cleaning the interior fill is like washing only one leg of a pair of jeans and then calling the jeans are "clean".
The issue of the exterior fabric is the least of the issues. After all, we're recognized -- nationally and internationally -- as garment care experts. Caring for bespoke, made-to-measure, specialty, designer, high fashion and couture garments is our bread and butter.
The problem is always the interior fill.
For two reasons:
1. The interior fill is, typically, the most contaminated part of any soft toy or stuffed animal. Fact is, the fill is a caldron of bacterial and viral pathogens (bacteria and viruses that can cause disease).
2. It's almost impossible to properly clean, sanitize and deodorize the fill given that the contaminants buried deep in the fill cannot be removed through the exterior fabric.
So what's the solution?
At RAVE FabriCARE, we:
1. Open up a seam in a non-conspicuous area and remove the contaminated interior fill.
2. Discard the contaminated original fill.
3. Clean and sanitize the exterior fabric.
4. Replace the contaminated, original interior fill with brand new, hypoallergenic, white fiber fill.
5. Close the open seam that we previously opened to remove the contaminated interior fill.
And the result?
A soft toy or stuffed animal that's completely clean and sanitized -- inside and out.
There's one move factor to consider in our restoration process: the clothing that's an integral part of the soft toy or stuffed animal. For example, a teddy bear with a dress and bonnet.
In many cases, the clothing is far more stained, soiled and discolored than the than the soft toy or stuffed animal itself. At RAVE FabriCARE, we will restore all items of clothing that's an integral part of the soft toy or stuffed animal. Clearly, there's no point in delivering a fully restored soft toy or stuffed animal with stained, soiled and discolored clothing.
Our tailors can make minor repairs to soft toys and stuffed animals submitted for cleaning and/or restoration, such as closing open seams, replacing missing stitches, reattaching loose parts such as tails, patching missing fabric, etc.
We make these fabric-related repairs prior to cleaning and/or restoration in order to ensure that these issues don't expand during the cleaning and/or restoration process.
Please note that we do not repair soft toys and stuffed animals without cleaning. That's because (a) our tailors will not work on any items that are not clean, and, (b) most repairs require the removal of the stuffing in order to make the repair.
We do not currently offer hardware-related repair services. Such as replacing a missing eye on a teddy bear, replacing missing tails on a stuffed animal, etc.
Our prices are based on the
The minimum price for professionally cleaning a small soft toy or stuffed animal is $40.
This minimum price applies to soft toys or stuffed animals that are one piece soft toys or stuffed animals without clothing that's an integral part of the soft toy or stuffed animal. For example, a teddy bear without clothing where we can remove all the fill by opening one seam.
On the other hand, there are soft toys or stuffed animals that have multiple jointed parts. For example a teddy bear where the feet, arms and head are attached to the body with a swivel-type devise. In these cases, the fill is compartmentalized in multiple attached parts and requires multiple openings to remove all the fill. Obviously, our minimum price for removal and replacement of the fill will be higher than our minimum price of $40.
In those cases where we are restoring a soft toy or stuffed animal with multiple pieces of clothing, the cost may be higher than our minimum price of $40. The extent of the higher cost is determined by the number of pieces and condition of the clothing that's an integral part of the soft toy or stuffed animal.
If we are also making repairs to the soft toy or stuffed animal, our tailoring services are charged at $40 per hour. Some repairs are relatively easy; others are more complicated. Some repairs can be done by machine; others require hand stitching. That's why must we charge based on time.
We're often asked to provide an estimate of the cost to clean and repair a soft toy or stuffed animal. That may be lot easier when it comes to the cleaning and almost impossible when it comes to repairs.
Bottom line on pricing:
At RAVE FabriCARE, we aim to deliver the very best technologically achievable results.
We recognize that our prices are likely to be higher than most other "cleaners". But if you're only paying for a third of the work, shouldn't those other "cleaners" be charging a third of the price?
Our typical turnaround time is about two weeks.
There are numerous factors (condition, interior fill, construction, etc.) that could impact the actual turnaround time. But two weeks is typical.
If you live outside of the metro Phoenix area and are considering the cleaning and/or restoration of soft toys and stuffed animals, you might want to request a preliminary evaluation and estimate from us.
To provide us with more details about your piece such as the type of soft toy (e.g.Teddy Bear), size/height (e.g. 18 inches), known damage (e.g. open seams at left ear), etc. and/or to upload some photographs to help us develop and send you a preliminary estimate, please click here.