Things I've learned about caring for
and restoring American Girl dolls.
Basic Hair Care
Always use a brush from American Girl OR go to your local beauty supply and get a "wig brush". Your doll's hair is the same high quality synthetic hair used for human wigs. It needs to be brushed with a wire bristle brush. A regular vinyl hairbrush will roughen the texture of the dolls hair and create frizziness. Also, don't use the wire doll brush on human hair and then on the dolls hair. The oils from human hair damage the texture of the doll's hair as well.
|$5 wig brush from beauty supply|
|$8 brush from American Girl|
The VERY BEST shampoo for AG doll hair
I am VERY happy with the results I got using wig shampoo and conditioner. I got it at the beauty supply store for around $8.00 for each bottle. I purchased both the shampoo & conditioner. The conditioner is a leave-in spray bottle. I expect these 2 bottles to last a long time since I used very little for each doll. I used both on 3 different dolls. Our Molly, our Madame Alexander 18" doll & my 1975 Madame Alexander baby doll.
All 3 dolls hair came out super soft and smelling lovely! I highly recommend this for doll hair. It is made especially for synthetic hair and does a great job. Molly who is from 1986 had very dry and damaged hair and the leave-in conditioner added shine. The 2 Madame Alexander dolls both came out soft and shiny. On the left is our Molly and on the right is our Madame Alexander 18" doll.
Hot Water Dunk
I decided to do a dunk on my Kirsten who is 20+ years old. Her hair was very dry and brittle. Basically you heat water to boiling, then pour water into a bowl and let it cool for 5 minutes. Then dunk the dolls hair avoiding the wig area on the head. You can do more than one dunk if needed.
Dunk avoiding wig area.
Before and After
Doing a Downy Dunk
A Downy dunk can be a great low cost treatment if you don't want to buy wig shampoo & conditioner, which I recommend. The down side is it can sometimes leave a film on the hair if not rinsed sufficiently.Cleaning your doll's skin
I really like using a paste of water and baking soda. With a soft cloth dampened in the baking soda paste, gently clean the doll's vinyl skin. I have also heard that magic erasers are very good for cleaning the doll's skin.
I would try to do surface cleaning with a mild soap solution, but be VERY CAREFUL not to get the body too wet. If the doll needs more than a surface cleaning the dolls head can be removed and all the stuffing removed and the body washed, but I would, personally, try and avoid this. If you feel your doll needs this deeper cleaning do some research and be REALLY sure you want to take your doll apart!
Don't get your doll's eyes wet!!
If you get the doll's eyes wet they turn silver like the picture below: SO, be careful!
I got another great tip from a reader!
Removing nail polish from dolls skin
This is super easy, just be sure to use Acetone free or Non-Acetone nail polish remover. Be careful on the dolls face! Polish remover can remove painted features, lip and cheek color!
Nail polish with acetone will melt the dolls skin!
Removing ink from Doll's skin
First try the magic eraser and baking soda. If these don't shift the ink, I have heard that ink can be bleached out of doll skin using any acne medicine with 10% Benzoyl Peroxide. Dab the acne medicine on the ink spot and lay the doll in direct sunlight. It may take several repetitions before any results are seen. Be sure the cream has 10% benzoyl peroxide!
I also had good luck removing pen with non-acetone nail polish remover. This was on a leg though and it did leave a slight trace after.
That's all for now. If I think of anything else I will add it later!
I wanted to add a great tip from our reader, T Haddad about how to rid bad odors from dolls.