My article this week is about useful cleaning material for Barbie dolls one should have. It’s important to have some easy to use things at home when you plan to buy old Barbie dolls. There are some things in every household that are very useful when we come to the topic of cleaning a Barbie doll.
To be honest I clean every Barbie doll I get if she comes without a box. That’s sometimes a lot of work especially when you buy a whole group of dolls. Believe as a longtime collector that will occur from time to time. Not every week, not every month but occasionally. What do you need for such an occasion?
My little survival kit is a box of Q-Tips and rubbing alcohol ( at least 70%). You use the Q-Tips for a quick sip of rubbing alcohol. It is normally used for cleaning electronic devices, especially for cleaning dirty or old contacts. I highly recommend rubbing alc. I’ve never had any problems with it until now and I got the hint in 2011.
What else is useful for use at home? I can recommend you cleaning sponges from Aldi. There are several different products that are sold under the name but it seems that the chemicals attached to the sponges are different.
I heard of collectors that got problems with these sponges but I never had any problems with them. If the Q-Tip/rubbing alc combination is not working use the sponge. It brings sometimes benefits to have one at home.
I’ve heard from other collectors that they use a mild soap and a sponge to clean their dolls. In almost 23 years of collecting I’ve never done it. Why? You can’t exclude the risk that the knee joints get wet especially when you clean Twist n Turn Barbie dolls from the first generation around 1967 since the have metal knee joints that tend to oxide when you work with water. It means in the worst situation they oxide and leave an ugly brown or greenish area around the knee. It’s the goal of most Barbie collectors to prevent these stains. The only I thing I can do is warn you about problem.
Well, you might ask yourself if there is the ultimate clean Barbie doll. The answer is no. This comes due to the fact that the arms, legs and the head are made from a form of PVC and rubber and it’s hard to keep rubber clean itself. I already told you that there are problems with sticky legs and leaking softener. Here’s a short video how to do it.
No, the leaking softener is no problem of the age. All I know about the problem is that it’s no age problem. The probability to find it in all decades from 1959 until today is high. I’m not so familiar with chemistry but read about the phenomenon and it is said that is has to do with the mixtures they use in the production machines. Obviously the recipe was changed a bit over the decades and sometimes you have problems that appear like 1987 the cow spots, that were caused by iron shavings in the mixture.
I can recommend you guest towels. They are very useful when you want a doll to dry, no matter if you washed her hair or just cleaned her with Q-Tips and rubbing alc. I don’t dress the dolls immediately afterwards. I really give them time to dry ( often over night, often a whole day). Then you can be sure that you wont get any problems with water still somewhere on the doll body. Another advantage is that you can wash the little towels easily. They don’t need as much space in the washing machine as a normal towel needs. Even if there is a stain caused by a doll, it’s no problem because it’s just a guest towel. ( I never had this problem myself )