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How to Clean Art Dolls

In a perfect world, your posable art doll would never get dirty, sadly we don’t live in that world. There will be times that your posable friend will get dirty and it’s not exactly common knowledge on how to clean them. That is the reason why I’m making this post for you poseable art doll owners.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty, there are a few things that every poseable art doll owner should know. DO NOT get your art doll wet. There are two reasons why you shouldn’t. First, you can not throw your doll in a dryer. It will melt and damage the doll. This also goes for washers. Second, if your doll has a wire armature it can rust and weaken the armature. It won’t be long until it breaks. Those are more than enough reason not to get your doll wet.

Dry Cleaning

Okay, so you know you shouldn’t get your doll wet and why lets move on to how to actually clean it. One of the simpler methods is a ‘dry cleaning’. You could take it to dry cleaners, but that is not what I’m talking about. This method involves some baking soda and a plastic bag. It doesn’t require any water, but it does require some prep.

First, you need to cover any of the sculpted parts of the doll with bubble wrap or something to protect it from impacts. If its got feet that are sculpted, wrap those and then bind them together.

Next take your plastic bag, preferably a plastic garbage bag, a half cup of baking soda, pour that into the bag.

Place your doll inside gently and close the bag.

Shake the bag enough that it bounces around.

Then let it sit for 15-20 minutes.

After that, pull the art doll out and dust off the excess baking soda.

Then use wet paper towels and a vacuum to remove the rest of the baking soda.

I would also advise you give it a good brushing. This should give your doll a nice clean smell and get rid of any oils and dirt that may have collected on the doll.

Spot-Clean

Now you know about an overall basic cleaning, but what happens when you accidentally spilled something on your art doll that stained it. Don’t freak out, there is a way to clean it without the risk of throwing it in the wash or hand washing it.

First, you need to remove any excess moisture from the stained area. Next, you need to find an oxygen-based stain removed and mix that with water. One example is Oxiclean. Most of these cleaners come in a powder form, so make sure it’s completely dissolved.

Next, you want to get your towel very wet and saturate the stained area with the cleaner. Try not to get it all over the art doll.

Rub it into the stain and wait for 10 minutes. The key is not to let the solution dry on the fabric or it could damage it.

Repeat this until the stain is no longer visible.

Take a clean towel and dry the area and then comb out the fur (if it has fur). Ta-dah! All better.

Semi-Wet Cleaning

Okay so maybe you aren’t completely won over with the ‘dry-cleaning’ method and want something that involves water and soap. There is actually a way to clean your art doll with water and soup and not cause any problems down the road.

First, you want to get a bowl of water and some gentle liquid detergent. Mix together, have it more watery than soapy/ foamy. Always make sure to spot test the mixture on an inconspicuous part of your art doll.

Next, you want to get a brush or towel and dip it into the soapy water mixture. Next, you are going to brush/rub all over the fabric parts of the art doll.

Once you are done, take a clean wet towel, wipe it down and try to remove as much of the soap as possible.

Rub it down with a dry towel and then allow it to air dry.

This method is like giving a cat a bath, very little water, and a lot fewer claws.

Oh no! It’s WET!

Okay, what to do IF your art doll DOES get soaking wet. Don’t fret, I even have a solution for that.

First, you want to gently dab your doll with a dry towel to get any excess water out. Make sure to remove any water from the sculpted parts.

Next, you want to get some newspaper or newsprint (the paper newspaper is made of) and completely wrap your doll with it. Completely mummify it. Make sure to wrap any limbs away from the main body. Don’t use towels for this, if you don’t have new print, use some kind of paper or paper towels.

Let it sit in a dry room for 24 hours. This will take most of the water out of your piece.

Now pull off all the wet newspaper and discard. If it’s still really wet, repeat the newspaper step and wait another 24 hours.

Then you air dry your art doll to get rid of any leftover dampness/moisture. You can even let a house fan blow on it.

Do not use a hairdryer your art doll, you could ruin the sculpted parts or even the faux fur if it’s made with it.

It should sit for about three days or until no longer damp,

If it has faux fur, it may have become matted or snarled, so best give it a good brushing.

Now if you have a wire armature do keep in mind that this will not stop any rust that may occur. If it does start to rust and eventually break, contact the artist you purchased from and discuss a means of repair.

Alright, there you have it, a few good ways to clean your doll if any ‘oops’ do occur. If there happens to be a problem or question that I have not answered, you can always contact me at samantha.beaumont@mythicalmenagerie.com or contact your original artist of purchase.