Collecting antique dolls can be a rewarding hobby or business venture, their proper preservation them is an absolute necessity. To preserve them and their respective period clothing for posterity, it is important to learn how to take meticulous care of them without damaging their value.
Wash your hands thoroughly before you touch the doll, to remove any oils and excess dirt. Do this regularly throughout the cleaning process unless you choose to use rubber gloves. This is important because the natural oils form your hands would otherwise transfer from your hands to the doll or its clothing and cause a build-up that would in time damage the doll.
Check the condition of the doll before you begin cleaning it. If there are any cracks, missing pieces, scratches or other damaged areas, it is advisable to seek the advice of a professional.
Use the paper towel and a mild cleanser to wipe off the doll's vinyl or plastic exterior. Use a dry paper towel to dry off the doll. Clean the eyes, ears, mouth and in between the doll's fingers with cotton balls. You can also use a little mild oxygenated cleanser to loosen dirt and stains.
Polish the bisque doll using a paper towel and liquid glass, which you can get at most auto parts stores. Finish polishing by buffing your doll using a soft, dry cloth.
Clean any washable doll clothing with a powdered baby detergent. Let the clothes soak in a soapy solution and then let them air-dry on a towel. Use a slightly warm iron to press the dried clothes. For non-washable doll clothes, clean these garment with some foaming carpet cleaner and a soft brush to remove dried residue.
Clean all cloth doll parts using dry cornstarch. Rub the cornstarch on very carefully, leaving it on for at least eight hours. Uses a soft brush to brush off the excess.
Remove or replace any rusted accessories on the doll, such as metals snaps or other metal pieces, before you wash the doll's clothing.
Never, ever use bleach or any bleaching products on your antique doll or clothes. Do not wash the doll's hair, and be sure to minimise its exposure to direct sunlight.