Could your child's favourite teddy being making them sick or passing on germs picked up from poo?
New research, carried out by Dettol, found that cuddly toys carry the highest level of bacteria of any item in a family's laundry basket.
Three out of four teddy bears do not get washed after a child is ill and more than 80 per cent of bears subjected to a swab test were found to carry bacteria associated with food poisoning.
Statistics also show that a quarter of furry friends tested carried bacteria linked to poo.
But only half of parents quizzed on the cleanliness of their kid's toys were worried about health risks associated with them.
Hygeine expert, Dr Lisa Ackerley said: "Anything that children put in their mouth should be hygienically cleaned but it is often difficult to get a child to let you wash their favourite teddy, which means they can become very dirty.
"I would recommend regularly washing them in a machine at a low temperature but including something to kill the germs."
Dettol have shared top tips to help keep teddy clean:
- Wash at a low temperature with an anti-bacterial laundry cleanser.
- Avoid cross contamination – Avoid washing teddy bear with regular laundry, especially dirty tea towels and underwear.
- Dry teddy naturally.
- Pop teddy in a netted laundry bag or pillow case before he goes in the wash to provide a protective layer, minimising damage whilst keeping any fur soft and fluffy.
- Give teddy a sponge bath.