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Cleaning Dolls

Category Toys
Keeping your childhood doll or doll collection clean is easy to do once you determine the best cleaning methods, depending on the materials used to make the individual dolls. This is a page about cleaning dolls.


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March 26, 2005

A doll restorer gave me the following tips for cleaning dolls:

Composition Dolls - never use water (it's like acid on skin). Clean with Pond's Cold Cream or Vaseline and a soft tissue.

Hard Plastic - Use mild detergent - no chlorine bleach or ammonia - and a soft cloth

Vinyl - Mild detergent - Remove ZIT makes ink stains disappear!

Hair or wigs - reattach with rubber cement (easily cleaned up). Use wig spray to bring back sheen.

By JC Miller

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March 30, 20050 found this helpful
Top Comment

I've used a large soft makeup brush to dust some of my older dolls off. I don't use anything with it, just a gentle brushing. It gets in all the little crevises and takes no time to do.

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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.

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 Jane


July 23, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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May 2, 2013

This is a page about cleaning porcelain dolls. Porcelain dolls need special care to keep them clean.

Photo of 3 vintage porcelain dolls.

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April 12, 2019

Old plastic dolls will get grimy over time and need careful cleaning to avoid damage. This is a page about cleaning a vintage doll.

A cleaned up brown haired doll dressed in blue jeans.

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August 10, 2018

Use a small brush and salt to gently clean the feathers on dolls and figurines. This is a page about cleaning the feathers on an angel doll.

Angel doll with feather wings.

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January 28, 2018

Before you try to clean your old doll you will want to first determine the doll's composition. That information will help determine the best cleaners to use to prevent damage.


This is a page about cleaning an old doll.

Old Doll

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April 1, 2017

Vintage rubber dolls can be cleaned if you you use care and gentle methods and products. This is a page about cleaning rubber dolls.

Old rubber doll of a boy playing a guitar.

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