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Cleaning Rubber Dolls

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


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February 4, 20060 found this helpful

I would like cleaning tips for Rubber dolls from the 1950's era. Please, If you have any tips, I could use them.

Cheryl from Richmond, VA


By Jean (Guest Post)
February 19, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try rubbing an art eraser over the doll. If you do not mind getting the doll wet, use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on it. Just squeeze as dry as possible before you do. Test in an inconspicuous place (bottom of doll's feet) first.

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April 29, 20090 found this helpful
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Rubber dolls from the 50's came with movable arms and legs plus opening and closing eyes. Do not immerse these dolls in water or liquid. The movable parts are old and may deteriorate with time.

Take a soft cloth, fill a bowl or sink with non-bleach detergent (I use Dawn) and wipe the doll. If she is very dirty from years of neglect it may take a while.

To wash the clothes, put them in a lingerie bag and set the washer to silk/gentle. Use a gentle detergent. Do not put in the dryer. Lay on a towel as you would a good sweater to dry.


You may iron the clothing with the lowest steam setting on the iron.

To clean the hair, which is anchored through holes in the head, gently message with mild (possibly Woolite) soapy water and rinse with a wet wash cloth. Do not immerse head in liquid! This will fill the head with liquid and destroy the eyes.

Hope this helps. My dolls are from the 50's. One is hard bodied with rubber arms, legs and head and movable eyes. The other is all rubber with movable arms, legs and eyes. They are from my childhood.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 25, 2018

What can I use on a rubber doll where the body has turned brown. How can I get the skin tone back? The doll is over 50 years old. I don't have a picture of it. I'll get one and send it.

Thank you.


May 25, 20180 found this helpful
Best Answer

For hard rubber/plastic dolls my first line cleaning tool is to make a paste with a tablespoon of baking soda, a dash of salt, a small drop of Dawn dish soap the simple not any of the xpower ones and just enough white vinegar to make a paste.


It will fizz up then when it settles test on a tiny spot on the foot or neck under the hair just to be sure there are no wonky reactions. I have never had one, but you never know.

If it is ok, use an old soft tooth brush in gently circles to clean. It may take several times to get it back to normal, if it is just dirt causing the discoloration.

To dry, lay the doll on a soft white towel and dry outside in indirect light...preferably where there is a nice cross breeze.

I have used this method to clean many a grimy Barbie, Bratt and like doll.

I have not tried this on the softer plastics. You may want to omit the salt before testing in an inconspicuous place. The salt is for a mild abrasive, which may be too harsh on a softer doll.

Hope this brings your doll back to good health!

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