A Little About Doll Cleaners

One of the most popular questions thrown at us here at the blog is ‘how do you clean up your dolls?’. I figured I would address it here in a blog post! For the past few years, my mom and I have been using Dream Clean Doll Cleaner to freshen up dolls in our collection.

Sold by ‘The Classy Kid Collection’ on eBay, the Dream Clean Doll Cleaner is a waterless doll cleaner that works with a variety of doll types- antique to modern. We’ve used this concoction on composition, hard plastic, bisque and vinyl dolls with no problems. There’s a bit of a scent to this particular doll cleaner, but it’s not overbearing, in my opinion. It smells kind of nice. Besides just removing surface dirt from your dolls, Dream Clean Doll Cleaner also conditions the dolls, which should help keep them in good shape!

How do you use this? Well, it’s pretty easy! Using a soft rag, dab on some of the Dream Clean Doll Cleaner and gently rub it onto your doll. Because it’s not watery, you don’t necessarily need to undress your dolls or worry about the solution getting all over the place. You don’t need to rinse this off. Just rub it onto the dolls body and you’re set! This solution also works on doll clothing, though I haven’t really tried that.

One important thing to know about this particular cleaner is that there are two versions. There’s the Dream Clean Doll Cleaner, which is a milky white paste, and the Dream Clean eXtra Doll Cleaner, which is similar but with microbeads for those dolls who are dirtier than others. The seller says the latter doll cleaner works best with composition or hard plastic dolls.

Recently, I picked up another doll cleaner, because it never hurts to have options, right? Cathie Lee Doll Cleaner is sold by CathieLeeDollCleaner on eBay. According to the description, this cleaner is what the seller used in the past in her very own doll hospital. She claims it’s good for all kinds of doll types, including composition, bisque and hard plastic.

The consistency of Cathie Lee’s Doll Cleaner is very different from the Dream Cleaner. Cathie Lee Doll Cleaner is like a watered down liquid soap. It’s messier than the first cleaner we discussed, so you’ll want to remove all the doll’s clothing before using this. Also, be careful around the wig area when cleaning your dolls face. Just like the other cleaner, using this is simple. Just dab a bit on a rag and gently rub it on the doll.

I found that this worked just as well as the Dream Cleaner. When I used this on my vinyl Skipper doll from Savers, it worked really well. The only thing that this cleaner seems to lack is conditioning. It doesn’t specifically say anything about conditioning the material of your doll, like the other cleaner.

Last but not least, here’s a cleaning tip for your doll’s clothing. Next time you’re looking to clean your doll’s clothing, try a few scoops of Oxi Clean in a sink or bowl. Soak the outfit in the Oxi Clean and you should notice a difference. I tested the Oxi Clean on my Effanbee Tintair Doll. Her cream colored outfit had yellowed due to age and storage. We soaked her dress in the Oxi Clean for about an hour and, wow, it was so much better than when I put it in! The yellow transformed into a cleaner cream color. With more time in the Oxi Clean, I’m sure it would have turned out even creamier. On top of getting all the dirt out of her dress, the Oxi Clean also helped remove some of the ‘storage’ smell the dress was carrying.

What kind of doll cleaner do you use for your doll and/or their outfits? Let us know in the comment area!

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10 thoughts on “A Little About Doll Cleaners

  1. A lot of the commercial doll cleaners are not readily available in Australia. They can be bought on eBay or online from the manufacturers but shipping from overseas is outrageous. I have bought and used 911 and Remove Zit from Twin Pines of Maine. The latter has been good for getting marks out of vinyl. However, because of the expense of getting it sent over, I’ve turned to other products. For the dolls that are donated to the Op Shop that need cleaning, I use dishwashing liquid. I have a tiny sample of Dawn and use it sparingly. Dawn costs a fortune here too so I will sometimes use Fairy, another Proctor and Gamble product. For ink marks on vinyl dolls, I’ve tried Oxy 10 as recommended on various doll sites and it generally does a good job. Generally, I have soaked doll clothing in OxiClean or its Aussie equivalent and had good results too. Recently I read that the doll hospital in Hobart has started selling a cleaning product so I hope to get hold of some to try.

  2. Hello. Thanks for this information. It is always good to know how to take care of our doll children.
    Here is a question. I have a Magic Attic doll and a Stardust-Just Pretend doll. I purchased them both used. One sells basementy and the other smells atticky.
    Do you have suggestions for washing doll hair?
    I am new to your site so I apologize if you have addressed this.
    Thanks!

    1. Nice finds! You don’t need anything special to wash hair that’s rooted. Just use a bit of regular shampoo and conditioner. This should get some of the attic/basement smell out. If the hair is really knotted, putting letting conditioner sit on it for a while helps to detangle, just like human hair. Letting a doll sit out in the sun also helps (though that process is slow going).

    2. Sometimes just sitting your doll in the sun will help with smells. Hair washing is easy. As long as your doll isn’t hard plastic or composition, you should be able to use regular shampoo and conditioner. Just be careful about getting too much water on the face. For vinyl dolls with rooted hair, a wash shouldn’t hurt them.

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