A stuffed animal basket

What to do with old stuffed animals?

Have you ever wondered what to do with your old stuffed animals? Do you throw them away or look for better options? This article will explore ways for you to keep, donate, or transform your old stuffed animals into something new. 

Method 1: Recycling Stuffed Animals

Your unused stuffed animals can be upcycled to create unique household items and reduce waste.

Are Stuffed Animals Recyclable?

Did you know that plush toys can actually be recycled? Despite being made with different fabrics and fillers, the various components of the toys can be separated and recycled. Cotton and polyester fibers, for example, are recycled separately. And the best part? Many toys nowadays are being made from recycled materials, which means that we can create new toys while also being environmentally conscious. It's amazing to see how we can keep our beloved plush toys while also doing our part for the planet!

Why Recycle Plush Toys

It's crucial to understand that most plush toy fillings, fabrics, and small plastic components are made from synthetic materials that are derived from petroleum refining. If these materials are carelessly discarded on the land, it could take over 15 years for them to completely decompose. That's why it's advisable to either recycle your old toys or give them to a professional recycling organization to give them a new life.

How to recycle Plushies?

Recycling a stuffed animal is an excellent way to reduce waste and help the environment. Here are three methods that you can try:
  • Firstly, donate it to a charity or organization.
  • Secondly, repurpose it into something else using your creativity and sewing skills.
  • Thirdly, recycle it through a specialized program.
Before donating it, ensure that the stuffed animal is clean and in good condition. Some companies offer recycling services for toys, including stuffed animals. TerraCycle, for instance, sells zero waste boxes that you can fill with toys and mail back to them. By taking the initiative to recycle your stuffed animals, you can do your part in reducing waste and helping the planet.

Method 2: Re-new your stuffed animals

If you have a stuffed animal that needs a little TLC, there are a few ways to renew it depending on its condition and material. Here are some methods you can try:
  • Washing: If the stuffed animal is dirty or stained, you can clean it by hand or in a washing machine. Use mild detergent and warm water, and place the toy in a pillowcase to protect it. You can also use a conditioner to make the fur softer. Rinse it thoroughly and dry it with a towel, a hair dryer or a dryer with softener sheets.
  • Re-stuffing: If the stuffed animal is limp or has lost its stuffing, you can re-stuff it with polyester fiberfill. Locate the point where the stuffing was first inserted into the animal, usually on a seam, and use a seam ripper to open the seam. Fill the toy with small pieces of fiberfill until you are satisfied with its shape. Then, use a ladder stitch to close the hole. You can also make weighted plush toys by removing the filling that is no longer fluffy and filling it with lavender or buckwheat hulls.
  • Rebuild: You can also take old toys that still work and build a new one. If you want a detailed step-by-step guide, check out this article: How to Make Stuffed Animals

Method 3:long-term storage of old stuffed animals

Whether it's because your child isn't ready to part with their favorite stuffed animal or you simply want to preserve some memories, it's crucial to store old stuffed animals properly to prevent them from oxidizing and deteriorating.
To ensure your stuffed animals last a long time, follow these steps:
  • First, clean the stuffed animals. If they are machine washable, put them in the washing machine. If they can only be hand-washed, use soap and a brush to carefully clean them. Wait until they are completely dry from the inside out to prevent mold from developing inside.
  • Next, wrap them in acid-free wrapping paper. This type of paper provides a protective layer that neutralizes natural acids. Finally, place them in a dust-free box that doesn't allow air to flow into the box. By following these steps, you can keep your stuffed animals in good condition for years to come.

Method 4: Donate stuffed animals

If you have a collection of old stuffed animals that you no longer want, you may consider donating them to a charitable organization. However, it is important to note that these organizations usually require plush toys to be in relatively good condition, meaning they should have no visible stains, damages, etc. This ensures that the toys can be easily used by the people who receive the donation.
There are also other options available, such as donating to women's shelters, churches, children's homes, hospitals, and more.
After donating your old stuffed animals, you might want to acquire some new ones. If that's the case, why not check out PlushThis? Our collection features the cutest plush toys with beautiful designs.

Method 5: Clean up and decorate the room as part of your home

Sometimes, you might feel bothered by the sight of stuffed animals filling up the toy basket. However, this could simply be because you haven't utilized your imagination. One way to make use of those old stuffed animals is to clean up the living area of the house and decorate it with them. You can wash those stuffed animals to make them look new and aesthetically pleasing, then display them to add more style to your home.

Method 6: Sell them to make some extra cash

Selling your spare stuffed animals can be a great way to make some extra cash! You could try selling them at a op shop or a flea market. Alternatively, you could hold a garage sale and let your neighbors buy them. Just remember to give the stuffed animals a good clean before selling them to ensure they sell for a good price and are hygienic for the next owner.


Can I repurpose my old stuffed animals into something else?

Yes definitely, you can do DIY works with the parts or materials you get from the old stuffed animals. As mentioned above, you can decorate gift cards with cut fabric pieces, or you can fill the hollow structure of a scene with the stuffing you got. Stuffing can also be made into clouds in a scene as well.

How do I know if my old stuffed animals are worth selling?

Check your stuffed animal carefully, if they are in good condition, and by good condition, it means the stuffed animal is clean and neat, the fabric is smooth and ordered, no rips on the surface of the stuffed animal, etc. There are many features you can tell directly from the status and appearance of the stuffed animals. You can also send them to charity organizations to test if your stuffed animal is in good status.


Dealing with old stuffed animals is something hard to do, yet it is so important because if we just toss them, they will eventually end up in a landfill and take several decades to decompose. I hope the methods above can help you deal with the dilemma. Also, if you want to buy new stuffed animals, please come to PlushThis for the best-stuffed animals of the best quality, cutest designs, and a fair price!
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