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Removing Ink from Vinyl Dolls

Children love to draw on just about anything including their toys. This is a guide about removing ink from vinyl dolls.


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2 found this helpful
September 23, 2010 Flag

To get ink stains off a vintage baby doll, pull back the doll's hair and remove clothing to keep them from getting bleached. Liberally apply 10% benzoyl peroxide acne treatment cream to any areas with ink. Be careful to avoid the eyebrows. Lay the doll in the sun. It will take more than one application to completely remove all ink. Just keep reapplying until the ink is completely gone.


Source: Tip Junkie

By fossil1955 from Cortez, CO

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August 9, 20110 found this helpful

I fixed dolls for the Council of Xmas Cheer for years. There were always dolls on whose faces some child had put permanent marker. I found that if they were just put in the sun for a few weeks the marks all faded out

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

August 7, 20110 found this helpful

How do I get ink of a soft plastic doll's face?

By Jane

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August 9, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

A lady working at an American Girl store said that we could try using the tiniest bit of benzoyl peroxide acne treatment to help remove or lighten dark stains. Also, when they clean the dolls in the store, they use a little baking soda on a wash cloth that they've sprayed with a little water. They scrub the doll, and then clean off the baking soda by using a fresh cloth sprayed with a little water. You might want to try that first. We never tried the benzoyl peroxide, because our mark is pretty small, and I don't want to take any chances.

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August 9, 20110 found this helpful

Try hairspray. I don't know about a doll's face but it works on fabric.

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July 20, 20160 found this helpful

What kind of hairspray?

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September 10, 20160 found this helpful

I used to use AquaNet on nylon clothes. I don't know if that brand is even in existence anymore. Just cheap aerosol spray.

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September 11, 20160 found this helpful

Thank you everyone who suggested the 10% benzoyl peroxide (acne cream). I recently purchased a vintage Chatty Cathy doll from 1960. The face of the doll had a green/grayish color. I read that is normal for some dolls this age. I tried your acne cream treatment and after only two days of using the cream and putting the doll under my skylight, her face is clear and beautiful as new!!

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December 5, 20160 found this helpful

I use benzoyl peroxide all the time and never had any problems with it messing up a doll.

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0 found this helpful
August 20, 2009 Flag

How do you get ink off a doll's face? It is a Bitty Baby American Doll. It has been on there for about a year.

Angela from Hermon, NY


Clearasil and light

Thank you to all who posted the 10% benzoyl peroxide for removing set in ink on a dolls face! It really worked!

My 7 year old left her American Girl doll sitting out and my 3 year old decided to color all over the face and hands of this beautiful doll. I tried everything to get it out. Hair spray, WD40, nail polish remover, magic sponge etc! Nothing worked. We put the doll away for a few months. I pulled her out and decided I would send her back to American Girl Company to have her face and arms replaced for Christmas. I thought I would check on "ASK.COM" how to remove pen from a dolls face and found many of the same things I've already tried. The Clearasil was the only one I didn't try yet, so I thought what do I have to lose? We went out and bought a $4.00 tube with 10% benzoyl peroxide and left it on over night under a light on the girls bed. Tyra woke me up in the morning to tell me the ink came off! It's magic. I couldn't believe it. It truly works. You'll be amazed. Thank your to all who gave the tip!


By Trish


I loved my dolls growing up, and now that my daughters are older I thought I'd let them play with my old ones. Well my 3 year old took a fancy to my favorite doll, but supposedly the doll asked her to draw all over her. From head to toe, there was blue pen, in between the toes, and the mouth, in the ears and a huge happy face right on top of the head. I was devastated, this was the doll that had inspired me to have children in the first place! Anyway, thank god for this sight. I couldn't find %10 benzoyl peroxide, only 5%, and it only worked under the light for me, especially if it was 2-3" away. I also tried some gel cleaner first with the 2% acid in it, but it was too runny, and didn't work, although I got too impatient and ran out for the cream the next day. I smeared it on thick so I couldn't see the pen and then it kind of turned clearer and bubbly. I then washed it off with warm water. Now it is pretty much gone. I could have gotten it all out with a bit more work, but I thought I'd keep a faint bit on just as a reminder. Thanks to this site so much. However, has anyone asked what this stuff does to the skin? I've told my family to stop using it, unless it's for pen removing! (11/18/2006)

By Christina

Ink off a Doll's Face

If you get it right away, the Salicylic Acid really works! (12/23/2006)

By John

Ink off a Doll's Face

You are never sure if things are going to work but the acne cream is a dream! Thnx everyone (04/16/2007)

By debbie

Ink off a Doll's Face

I am a longtime collector of vintage G.I. Joes. The vinyl of the bodies and faces tend to absorb dyes from darker clothing if stored over the years. We Joe collectors have used the benzoyle peroxide 10% technique to remove the dyes from vinyl for years. A bonus is that it leaves the paint on the doll alone like eyebrows, mouth, etc. It works like a charm but for some tough cases it takes up to 10 sessions. However, we leave the treated doll in direct sunlight (inside on a window sill is fine). This eliminates risking burns from light bulbs and also seems to "kick" the power of the benzoyle peroxide more than artificial lighting does. (05/14/2007)

By Steve

Ink off a Doll's Face (baby born)

My daughter has a Baby Born, she got it for x-mas. It was her fav doll until she had a friend over whom drew with blue felt tip pen all over the face. I am so grateful for this site as it has helped me out a lot. Thank God I don't have to spend another £35.00p on getting a new doll. She is now over the moon thanks everyone. I appreciate it. (01/17/2008)

By kate

Ink off a Doll's Face

I have found the cure for my old hairdresser's doll head. Someone had drawn blue thick eye lashes on this vintage doll. I am so excited that I found this sight that I could not wait to join in. I just put the 10% benzoyl peroxide on even as we speak. I will get back to you and give you an update. (03/28/2008)

By Anne

Ink off a Doll's Face etc

Wow, thank you so much for the tip of using acne cream to remove ink off a doll. I was gutted when my delightful three year old drew all over three of her dolls, one of which was Baby Annabel, who was quite expensive. I brought PanOxyl which had benzoyl peroxide 10% and covered all the ink and placed on a window ledge and within an hour and a quarter I could see the ink had completely gone once I used a damp cloth to remove the dried cream. Fantastic, thank you so much.(b)(/b) (04/13/2008)

By Lorna

Ink off a Doll's Face

Oh my goodness! I can't believe it - this actually works! I was desperate to find a way in which to remove ball point pen off a doll's face as we had borrowed it. And voila! The pen marks have come off after a couple of applications of benoxyl peroxide 10% (Benzac AC 10% Gel - in New Zealand) and by placing the doll under a halogen lamp for a couple of hours! Thank you so much as this doll would have cost a small fortune to replace. (09/05/2008)

By Aleisha

Ink off a Doll's Face

I have had success removing ink from certain surfaces with rubbing alcohol. Have also used acne med. and it worked - haven't tried the peroxide. For the 11 year old - I would have a parent do it for you.

Also, I'm sure if you called the Bitty Baby manufacturer they would be very helpful. My daughter had a Bitty Baby. (09/05/2008)

By mariebal

Ink off a Doll's Face

Wow. It does work and I am impressed! I was really hoping that all the reviews were right. Thank you everyone for posting your results on here as I would have been skeptical otherwise. My 3 year old drew on her Baby Born in a number of spots and it was a gift from her Nan when she was born, so now she looks like new again. Thanks heaps! (09/25/2008)

By Sam

Ink off a Barbie Doll's legs and face

I would like to know if anyone on here knows how to get this off? Actually my granddaughter went crazy with ink and did about five of her dolls. (09/26/2008)

By Clairee

Ink off a Doll's Face

Wow this really works. I was a bit of a skeptic in the beginning, but after buying Clearasil Ultra which has benozoyl peroxide 10% and putting a layer of the cream over the pen mark and placing under halogen lamp for a couple of hours, the pen mark has disappeared. Ever so grateful for this tip. (10/07/2008)

By Karen (NZ)

Ink off a Doll's Face

Ok, who do I kiss? Whoever thought of this deserves a million bucks! I was so skeptical to try this. After trying to remove the ink from my baby doll's face with everything imaginable. It was the 10% benzoil peroxide gel that really removed all of it! I just used a store brand and put her out in the sun for a day, and I just couldn't believe my eyes. The ink is gone! Try it, it truly works! (10/30/2008)

By Nana Val

Ink off a Doll's Face

Ya'll are right; the acne medicine did it. I put it on the doll's face last night put it under a light. This morning the ink is all gone. Benzoil peroxide is a wonder drug. I had this doll it came from my aunt's store it's the kind that had stockings, shoes, and earrings. It's old. I was so aggravated when I saw it I didn't know what to do so I Googled it. Boy am I ever happy this morning. I am gonna put the doll back in the closet not on the bed "Thank you people very very very much" Without ya'll I would just have messed up the doll. (11/12/2008)

By Karen

Ink off a Doll's Face

This really does work! Thank you so much! My 4yr. old niece brought me her doll with tears asking for help. She had written on the face with pen. I tried everything at first, ie. Oxyclean, degreaser, Fantastic, nail polish remover, and hairspray. Nothing worked until I tried your suggestion of benzoyl peroxide. Used a tube of Clearasil cream and put the doll up to a light. I did have to repeat the process a couple of times before all was completely gone. But now, the doll looks brand new again. Thank you! My niece is going to be so happy when she sees her doll! (12/05/2008)

By Aunt saving niece's doll

Ink off a Doll's Face

Thank you, thank you, thank you! We bought our daughter an Our Generation doll for Christmas and she already accidentally marked the arm with pen somehow. I tried almost every all purpose cleaner and was about to give up. I googled this subject and came across this page. It worked great! The only benzoyl peroxide I had was my Proactive cream which only had 2.5% solution, but it still worked. (01/24/2009)

By Melanie

Ink off a Doll's Face

I had a doll with Sharpie all over her body and face (thanks to a charming child =) ..) and I searched the internet after trying every cleanser known to mankind. I saw your post and thought, what can it hurt? I too had some Acne Free 2.5% and started with this. Magically it was gone in a couple hours from her face! I went to the store and bought the 10% thinking it would work faster and better and I think the 2.5% works just as well and as fast. You deserve a huge Thank You! My doll is working its way back to good as new! Still have the legs and feet to do, but you are a Godsend! (02/09/2009)

By West Coast Mom

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June 19, 20160 found this helpful

Thank you so much for this! Here in Canada I could only find 5%. Applied and placed under a light bulb (4 inches away) for 20 minutes. Washed, applied for another 10 minutes under bulb. Ink completely gone!

I had tried alcohol, hairspray, wd-40, goo gone and nail polish remover. A magic eraser, baking soda and toothpaste. None worked. Was shocked how fast the acne cream did the job! Ours is an or generation doll. I will say, less is more. Next time I would use a toothpick to apply little amount just the size of the stain as I noticed that there is an ever so faint lightening of the vinyl where applied. But I would never knows if I hadn't done it myself. But I Had put it too wide. But again, ink the input over who would ever notice it. Worth it for saving a much loved doll. :-)

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December 11, 20090 found this helpful

For removing ink from vinyl dolls, use acne cream. Spread on inked area and put in sun for a while and when you go back the ink will have vanished.

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August 20, 20090 found this helpful

I have a beautiful Lee Middleton baby doll that has been damaged with a ball point pen (ink). Can you help me remove the ink without damaging the natural beauty of the doll.

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August 20, 20090 found this helpful

Does anyone know how to get ink pen stain off baby dolls? My almost 2 year old daughter drew on my favorite doll, I had as a child. I am heart broken. Orange cleaner, nail polish remover, nothing is working.

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September 27, 20060 found this helpful

How do I get pen ink off of a dolls face?

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