Cleaning and Repairing Childhood Dolls

I am seeking advice for cleaning dolls (Cabbage Patch and such), as well as old stuffed animals. I recently decided to venture into my parents' attic and found bags of my old stuffed animals and dolls (about 5 Cabbage Patch dolls and 3 dolls from the very early 80s) and boy are most of them filthy.


I'm ashamed at having 2 trash bags full of these toys, but I also just can't toss them out (I apparently downsized a lot in early high school to these 2 trash bags full).

How do you go about cleaning the fabric of the Cabbage Patch dolls, as well as, stuffed toys that are upwards of 28 years old? As much as I really want the outsides to (not be so filthy) I also want to somehow "sanitize" the insides so bacteria or whatever isn't growing in there, any ideas? Would vinegar do anything for the insides? (I know it helps to get any stench out, but there's not much stench to them).

I'd also like to keep the "integrity" of the stuffed toys, meaning I don't want it matted down once I clean it. If you remember Poppels from the 80s, if you washed them in the washing machine and threw them into the dryer, their fuzzy hair became curly and matted down.


Also, (yes this is a very long question) how do you "fix" dolls' hair? The Cabbage Patch kids I assume will just take lots of detangling, but the various dolls all need new hair. I know one of my dolls is in serious need of a doll hospital (it scares me to send her off, but she's in horrible shape). With the others, is it possible to"re-hair" them myself or do they need to see a doctor as well? While we are on the subject of hair, is it possible to "defrizz" a Barbie doll's hair? She is from the early 80s as well, or are they a lost cause?

I guess I'll leave my question(s) as that. Thanks in advance for any help!

By Trish

July 23, 20100 found this helpful

I have actually washed my daughter's Cabbage Patch dolls in the washing machine, also the same with stuffed animals. I put them in a pillowcase and tie the top in a knot and wash them on gentle. It didn't hurt them at all and they came out so much cleaner.

As for the hard dolls, there are specific products you can buy to clean them, but I can't remember the names at the moment. One thing I do remember is the white soft soap does work well on dolls, I've used it before just for cleaning regular dirt. It doesn't work well for ink stains and so forth.

I don't know anything about working on their hair, but there is a website, Restoredoll that sells hair and I believe she has some information about redoing their hair there.

Hope this helps you!

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Anonymous Flag
December 3, 20150 found this helpful

I have been trying to put the head back on my revlon doll and am having a lot of trouble. I can't find any information on doing this. This doll has some kind of metal rod and bracket in the head and nothing else that anything can be hooked to. Do you have any ideas?

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