ONE OF Bolton's biggest companies has revealed that nearly half of parents across the country are falling behind with cleaning their children's cuddly toys.

A survey of 2,000 parents carried out by Parklands based AO found that nearly half, 44 per cent only wash their children’s teddies once every six months or less.

Of these, 14 per cent admitted they don’t recall ever washing their children’s cuddly toy. large appliance expert Lauren Clark said: "If anything, the last 21 months has taught us how important it is to keep items clean, so it’s interesting to see in the data how kids’ teddies are rarely getting washed.

"We know children love having their cuddly friends with them and washing them is essential, in particular if their teddy is one, they sleep with at night and carry around with them constantly.

"It couldn’t be easier to keep teddies fresh and clean for your little ones without damaging them. Firstly, check the label and if they can be washed, pop them inside a pillowcase and in the washing machine on a 60-degree wash to help protect them.

"For those that can’t go on a regular wash cycle, pop them in a plastic bag and in the freezer overnight before washing on a gentle hand wash."