Most doll collections are made of hard plastic and vinyl materials. No matter how careful you are in storing your doll collection in a cool and dry area, there are just inevitable color stains that may surface due to weather changes and natural aging. Sometimes when you are also in the hunt of adding an item in your collection, the previous owner may not have properly cared for these dolls at all. Yet, the urge to buy it is there due to its rarity. The only solution to your problem is to just clean it and hopefully recondition it to a more attractive state.
The list of supplies that you may need for this cleaning job includes Q-tips, cotton, soft white muslin cloth or towel, toothpicks, pure petroleum jelly, vinegar, Remove-Zit stain remover, vinyl polymer silicone cleaner like the one from STP, dish soap, acid-free tissue paper, and toothbrush. These are just a few products that you need to stock on for your regular doll cleaning season. Never use thinners and other strong chemicals.
For dolls with vintage garments, always hand-wash these and lightly place them on a white muslin cloth or soft towel to absorb the water after it has been dripped fry for several minutes. Then let it air dry while gently putting the form of the pleats back so that there will only be light ironing if needed. Markers or stains on the doll can be wiped clean with the dish soap. If you plan to use Remove-Zit, be warned that this is only used for vinyl. If you are not sure if the doll is made of plastic or vinyl, you may try a test area first. If bubbling is seen, immediately wipe it as this the usual chemical reaction if the material is a plastic. Alternately, use baking soda on a damp cloth to wipe out some stains and even crayon marks.
For the doll’s hair and body, you may also use dish a vinyl polymer silicone cleaner if the dish cleaner does not work. Petroleum jelly is also a good alternative specifically for darkening and other sticky stains. Use toothpick to remove dirt from crevices and small gaps especially on the eyes. To dry the doll’s hair especially with curls; carefully air dry or blow-dry the hair at a low controlled temperature to prevent discoloration and melting from excessive heat.
Now that it is clean and dry, next is to properly store the doll in non-acidic tissue paper if the storage box is where they will end up. If you opt to keep them in a curio or glass showcase make sure it is away from direct sunlight and moisture. Make sure the cabinet doors and lids are tightly closed and that this is situated in a cool and dry interior space of your home.