Question: Dear Luise: This may sound like a very small thing in the light of some of the problems you work with but I don’t know the answer and I’d sure like to. So, here goes. I frequent a thrift shop that has a lot of cute stuffed animals. They look clean and I would like to have a few for my home and RV. I’ve always loved stuffed animals and the good ones are quite expensive. How do I know if the ones that look clean really are? Do you think it’s safe and healthy to buy used ones? Lydia Joan
Answer: Dear Lydia Joan: I find a variety of questions interesting. So lets take at look at this.
I think one of the things you might do is to ask at the thrift store how the stuffed animals were prepared for sale. Out of curiosity, I called the store where I do must of my thrift store business and they assured me that all of their animals are washed and put through a high-heat dryer. They then comb and fluff them, replace lost eyes, etc. and put fresh bows on them. They feel that when they are placed on the shelf they’re as clean as most of the toys in the regular stores that are handled by customers…plus they’re priced ridiculously low. The lady there was happy to answer my questions.
I believe that I would probably want to duplicate the process after I got the little cuties home, just to feel safe. I might even spray them with a disinfectant if they were for ornamentation and wouldn’t be used by a child. However, if a little person was going to love, hold, and kiss them…then I think I’d hit the web and see what I could find out about how to safely sanitize them to be absolutely sure they were germ-free and bug-free.
I have occasionally seen some very low prices on stuffed toys at large discount stores, so I’m not sure that many families couldn’t get new ones, if that was a preference. Some of this is a matter of your own personal taste and where your comfort lies. I have a huge, very authentic looking terrier that cost seven dollars, new, for instance. Not everyone feels the need for designer names on toys, new or used. From yet another point of view not everyone is interested in even going into a thrift store.
I hope this discussion has offered you some options. To me, stuffed animals add a touch of whimsy to rooms that might otherwise be too sedate. Have fun! Blessings, Luise