For the current and final issue published together, the editors of Black Doll-E-Zine, wanted to include the Best of "Doll Care Basic" from past issues.
From Volume 1, Issue 1 - "Sun Exposure and Dolls"
Never display your dolls in direct sunlight. The rays from the sun may cause eventual fading of your dolls, their clothing, and possibly their eyes.
The sun, however, can help to remove ink stains from vinyl dolls:
Cover the ink stain with a thin application of Oxy-10 (or other 10% benzoyl peroxide-containing acne medication). Place the stained area of the doll in indirect sunlight, for example, on a window sill, for at least a week. The sun will boost the Oxy-10's bleaching power and the ink stain will gradually fade away! The Oxy-10 and indirect-sunlight exposure technique for ink removal may require more than seven days, depending on the length of time the stain has been on the vinyl. However, seven days usually does the trick.
From Volume 1, Issue 2 – "Removing Dust and Dirt From Dolls"
Eyes - A cotton swab soaked in sewing machine oil can be used to remove crystallization that develops on some play line dolls from the 50's-70s. Do not apply too much pressure to avoid removing the eye from its socket. A moistened cotton swab can be used to remove debris from most other doll eyes.
Dust - A computer vacuum is an excellent device to remove dust from dolls. An alternative to a computer vacuum is a handheld vacuum or using the attachments of your home vacuum. To minimize the suction, cover the vacuum attachment with a panty hose and then dust away. A gentle shake from time to time also will remove dust. To render your dolls totally dust-free, doll cases, trunks, plastic doll covers and other cover-ups can be used, but these decrease their full view.
Soiled Vinyl or Hard Plastic - Mr. Clean is an excellent choice to remove soil from vinyl dolls. A mild dish detergent (like ivory or other colorless detergent) or diluted Orange Glow can be used to clean hard plastic dolls. Some have suggested that 409 can be used to clean hard plastic dolls, but this writer has not personally used it.
Composition Dolls - Never use water on composition dolls! An Internet search revealed that Liquid Jubilee Kitchen Wax (not aerosol) works well at buffing composition dolls to a like-new shine. This is supposed to clean and also conditions the composition at the same time.
Clothing - As long as the fabric is washable, it is best to hand wash clothing using regular clothing detergent. For fine washables, hand wash in Woolite. Lie the clothing flat to dry or hang dry. Never machine wash your dolls’ clothing.
Handy Cleaning Tools - Tooth picks and old toothbrushes can be used to remove dust and dirt from hard to reach areas such as the ears, nostrils, dimpled areas and other nooks and crannies. Periodically brushing your doll with a soft bristle brush such as a baby's hair brush, will also remove small dust particles without damaging the doll.
From Volume 1, Issue 3 – “Removing Odors from Dolls”
When dolls are exposed to tobacco smoke or other harsh odors over long periods of time, these odors seep into the doll’s material and; while the owner may become immune to the odor; if the doll is sent to a new home, the new owner may find the odor quite offensive. This will be the case particularly if the new owner is a nonsmoker and the doll came from a smoker's environment, or if the new owner has a sensitive sense of smell.
To remove the smell of tobacco smoke or other harsh orders, it will be necessary to hand wash the doll’s clothing and lie them flat to dry or hang them outside on a sunny day to air dry. For dry clean-only fabrics, these should be sent to the dry cleaners.
If the doll is vinyl, use a diluted cleaner such as Mr. Clean or Orange Glo to wipe the doll’s vinyl surface clean and allow it to air dry. If necessary, use a damp cloth and wipe the doll’s cloth body with either of these solutions. If the hair is washable, wash the hair with a mild shampoo. (Rooted hair is washable; wigged hair is not.) Allow the doll to dry.
If the smell still exists, or if the doll is made of non-washable material such as porcelain or composition; place the doll in a scented trashcan liner and tie closed; or cover the doll from head to toe with several scented fabric softener sheets, then place it in an unscented trashcan liner and tie the liner closed. The doll can also be placed in an unscented trashcan liner along with some loose baking powder. Tie the bag closed and leave the doll in the liner for several days. If the doll remains malodorous after a few days, remove the doll from the liner and place it outside in direct sunlight. Allow it to sunbathe for a few days. When all else fails, the sun usually does the trick to remove odors.
If you opt for the sunbathing trick, be sure that the doll is in a protected area so that stray animals will not harm or remove it from the premises! If more than one day of sunbathing is required, bring the doll inside when the sun sets and take it back out the following day. Repeat as often as necessary. Usually two or three days of sunbathing will do.
Volume 2, Issue 1 of BDE contains some great answers to “How Do I?” doll questions. To review these or to see them for the first time, please click here.
The editors of Black Doll-E-Zine sincerely hope that the "Doll Care Basics" columns as well as this "Best of Doll Care Basics" column have served to help you in the care of your dolls.
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