Have you ever watched Maple Town? It is an animated series from the 1980s featuring anthropomorphic animal characters, within an adorable utopic town, that taught little life lessons in each episode. When I was little, my mom recorded it onto VHS for me and I watched them over and over; I also had several of the toys and I still have them!
These toys have been up in the rafters of our garage for over 20 years! They’ve held up better than my My Little Ponies (see how I cleaned them here), but they are still careworn and very dirty. I want to clean these toys to prepare them for my daughter to love and play with!
If you have any flocked toys, whether they are Maple Town characters, Sylvanians, Calico Critters, So Soft My Little Ponies or another, I’ve created this handy guide to help you give them a good cleaning without removing their flocking. Let’s get started!
- Powdered OxiClean
- Paper or dish towels
Important! Since flocking is attached to the toys with glue, warm to hot water or air could dissolve the glue and remove the flocking.
- If your toy has any clothing, remove it and set it aside (see “Clothing” section below).
- In the container, prepare a small batch of the OxiClean per the instructions with warm water. Allow the water to cool completely.
- Take the toothbrush, dip it in the OxiClean bath then gently tap the water onto the toy to wet the flocking (this may take several dips and taps to wet the flocking over the whole toy). We are not scrubbing with the toothbrush, just transferring a controlled amount of water onto the toy.
- Use your fingers to rub the OxiClean water into the toy’s fur and set it aside for 10 to 15 minutes. I set mine on a white plate and boy did some dirty water drain off of them (see photo)!
- After your toy has sat for 10 to 15 minutes, turn on your tap on the lowest stream it can distribute water, and carefully rinse each character. Take care not to linger too long over joints so water doesn’t leak inside.
- With a paper towel or dish towel, gently dab each toy to remove excess water, then set them somewhere safe to dry overnight or longer until they are dry to the touch.
- If your toy has any clothing, continue see the “Clothing” section below.
- Powdered OxiClean
- Needle (Optional)
- Thread (Optional)
- Scissors (Optional)
Important! If you’re worried about a particular article of clothing, please do a spot test first, before soaking the whole item.
- In the container, prepare the OxiClean per the instructions with warm water.
- Place the toy’s clothing in the warm OxiClean mixture to soak. There are some types of fabric that will not react well in OxiClean.
- Keep an eye on the clothing and remove it from the bath once clean. Some of my toy’s clothing was clean within 30 minutes, some of them took a couple of hours.
- Remove the articles of clothing from the soak and rinse them thoroughly. Squeeze the out the excess water, smooth out any wrinkles, and set them aside to dry.
- If there are any loose threads the clothing that will not unravel the garment if cut, you can use the scissors to snip them off.
- If there are any tears in the clothing, select thread that is similar in color and thread your needle. Carefully sew the tears back together using appropriate, simple stitches.
- After your toy and its clothing are clean and dry, re-dress, and display or enjoy!