No matter how pretty and fresh a doll may look just after your little one has excitedly torn through its box, that same doll is bound to get all kinds of stains and dirt on it sooner rather than later, regardless of your warnings.
It’s important to know what kind of doll you’re dealing with and take appropriate steps when cleaning it. We’ll show you how to clean a baby doll in a manner that’s safe for your child and the doll itself, while getting rid of the dirt and grime.
Cleaning the Doll’s Body
First, take stock of what the doll’s body is made out of. Plastic or vinyl of some kind is the most common material, with soft body dolls having various synthetic and organic stuffing that react differently to chemicals, water, and physical agitation. Cloth dolls are still very common as well. There aren’t as many porcelain dolls as there used to be, but they haven’t gone completely out of style just yet.
As plastic is the most prevalent, let’s start there. Plastics are usually hardy and won’t be affected if you take a cloth and some warm water to them. Most will also handle common soap solutions free from strong chemicals. If you dilute some common dish soap in water and give that a stir, you’ve created the perfect cleaning solution for maintaining plastic dolls in great shape.
You should get rid of stains on plastic by rubbing them in a circular motion and applying as much pressure as needed. With plastic, as well as with most other materials, be sure that you aren’t using strong alcohol solutions or similar chemicals as these can cause the paint to fade and even start to peel off, turning the doll into an unpleasant-looking mess.
If you need to resort to something stronger than dish soap though, look for organically based cleaning products that use citrus fruits as their base.
Things are much more straightforward with dolls made from cloth. Provided they aren’t old or frayed, most cloth dolls can be given a wash in the washing machine and dried with the rest of your clothes afterwards. Be sure not to add a detergent that’s not too abrasive while putting the temperature and spin cycle to their lowest or nearly lowest settings for effective results that won’t damage the doll.
If you’ve got porcelain dolls you probably don’t move them much out of their display cases and the only thing to do as part of their maintenance is to dust them off occasionally.
Still, if you’ve got some figurines children love to play with, chances are that they’ll start getting greasy and grimy after a while. For that the best solution is to get a little rubbing alcohol and dab it onto a Q-tip. Go over the dirty area a couple of times with the Q-tip to ensure that it has been thoroughly cleaned.
Cleaning the Doll’s Hair
It’s amazing how sophisticated dolls’ hair has gotten. Some even use actual human hair to give it that lifelike sheen with great effect! However, fine hair requires delicate cleaning to be kept in shape. The first line of defence against dirty hair is a good hairbrush.
If you get a brush that’s been specifically designed for wigs and show your child how to use it, they’ll even help you take care of that part of the doll’s maintenance since keeping the hair free from tangles will seem like a fun activity to them.
A doll’s hair can get dishevelled and even lose a lot of its gloss, in which case you’ll want to consider using a shampoo to set things straight again. Ask around for shampoos which are specifically used for wigs and then gently wash the doll’s hair in a solution made out of said shampoo and water for the best results.
When it comes to cleaning dolls, the most important thing is to not fall behind on it. Sure, you can’t avoid spills, mud spots and other accidents, but you can keep the dolls clean by regularly applying the methods outlined above. If an emergency does come, you’ll know what to do now as well. In the meantime, keep an eye on the state of your child’s dolls and maintain them regularly for a safer and cleaner play experience.