#1: Fill up the sink with water (it doesn’t matter what temperature). If the dolls I am going to wash are really dirty and unsanitary, I always use super hot water to disinfect them. Put in a little dish soap and baking soda. This will act like bubble bath.
#2: Depending on how much grime is on the dolls, they may need to soak for a few hours, or perhaps over night. Generally speaking though, they don’t need to soak long at all. Some dolls I don’t soak at all.
#3: I like to put the baking soda and dish soap into little bowls. This gives me more control over how much I use. Plus, I can save the leftovers for another bathing session. Start by dipping the toothbrush in the dish soap. Scrub the doll all over from head to toe. Make sure to scrub everywhere–under the chin, the back of the head, the bottoms of the feet, in between the legs, under the arms, etc. I find that dirt tends to collect under doll feet and chins the most.
#4: Once the doll has been scrubbed with dish soap, dunk her into the sink and rinse off the suds.
#5: Now repeat the same process using baking soda. Baking soda is very gentle, yet effective. It will remove dirt better than most chemicals, and it’s totally safe. It also acts as an odor remover.
#6: You may need to repeat steps 4 and 5 depending on how filthy the doll is. I find with vintage dolls, I have to scrub them anywhere from four to six times in order to work all the dirt off.
#7: One you have scrubbed all the dolls in the sink, drain the water. Rinse each doll under the tap.
*Some dolls should not be soaked for too long. Be mindful when cleaning dolls with flocking like Monster High Venus dolls and Bratz Boyz. Bratz Boyz have very durable flocking in my experience which can handle the water and even a vigorous scrubbing, but I do advise using caution. I’ve heard horror stories of Venus dolls loosing all their flocking when it gets wet, so be very careful when washing. I personally haven’t had problems with my Venus dolls or my EAH Hunter (who accidentally got totally drenched when I washed his hair).
*Most dolls have fairly durable face paint. However, always be mindful when scrubbing their painted features, such as their face. Dolls who already have damaged paint may loose more during the cleaning process. I always scrub these types of dolls in a much lighter manner than I would for regular dolls.
*I think this goes without saying, but just in case, please use a separate toothbrush just for your dolls. Obviously, you don’t want to use your current one that you brush your own teeth with.
*A soft bristled toothbrush is ideal, as it can flex into the nooks and crannies of your doll’s delicate features. A harder bristled toothbrush will not be able to do this, and will be rougher on the doll, without cleaning her more effectively.
*I also sometimes use rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover for certain marks. Rubbing alcohol is pretty safe, however if you use it all the time on a doll’s face paint, it will eventually break down the sealer, making the paint more likely to flake off. Be VERY careful when using nail polish remover. Some types can actually eat away at the plastic, making the doll "melt." I also advise using strong caution when going near a doll’s painted features with nail polish remover. Even if it is mostly diluted by water, it can still remove paint on certain dolls–especially Mattel dolls who have less strong face paint.
*For any stains that refuse to come out, see my stain removal tutorial for reference.
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