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Sunday, May 25, 2014

American Girl Care and Cleaning Tips.


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.


    


The best treatment for dry damaged hair - a Hot Water dunk

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.

Cleaning the doll's cloth body
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!


Myrtleedop said...
Water is not good for doll eyes, but the silver eye is not caused by water but is instead a factory defect. One that the American girls people will fix for free since it is a flaw from their supplier. You do have to send the doll to them and pay for shipping though. See the American Girls site for their "hospital" info, and phone them the verify this info. I had a Bitty Baby with one silver eye a few years ago that was taken care of with no charge.


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!


                                                                       Before & After

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.
                                        Before                                                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.




T Haddad said...
Hi, I just wanted thank you for sharing your information on American Girl doll care. I found an Elizabeth on line at eBay and won the auction (yea). But when she arrived she had a very bad cigarette smell ๐Ÿ˜•. So I had to clean and detox her. I had washed her with my Pantene shampoo and conditioner and it just did not look great. So I followed your tip about wig shampoo and conditioner and wow what a difference. Her hair looks lovely and silky. Also I would share a tip I found from YouTube about dolls that have come from a home with cigarette smell. I was not sure but I thought oh well it's worth try. I placed the doll in a large sealable bag I covered her eyes with cotton balls and taped them down firmly. Then I added unused kitty litter (just enough to cover her sleeping area when I laid her in the bag)and let her sleep for a few weeks (6 to be exact). I would check on her, fearing the dust would settle into her. But when removed from her catnap the smoke smell was gone. Yes I had to wash her and double check the leg and arms due to some kitty litter did get into the socket area, but it was worth the extra cleaning ( I had to check her sockets several times). Actually I was amazed that this process worked and no dust got into her eye do to the firm taping. Just wanted to share and say thank you, I enjoy your blog.

28 comments:

Trudy Seeley said...

This was really helpful! Thank you so much for posting it!

Sophie and Brenda said...

You are very welcome! I am glad it was helpful!

Christine K said...

I wasn't able to find the shampoo and conditioner. Out of stock at Sally's. Have you found success with any other brands?

Brenda and Sophie said...

I am sure there are several brands that are just fine. I would ask the clerk at the beauty supply store.

Canadian Doll Notebook said...

Thanks for the advice. I hope this works for us!

Brenda and Sophie said...

Good luck! Make those dolls shine!

Anonymous said...

how do I paint my dolls nails ....with what??

Brenda and Sophie said...

I would not recommend painting an AG dolls nails.

T Haddad said...

Hi, I just wanted thank you for sharing your information on American Girl doll care. I found an Elizabeth on line at eBay and won the auction (yea). But when she arrived she had a very bad cigarette smell ๐Ÿ˜•. So I had to clean and detox her. I had washed her with my Pantene shampoo and conditioner and it just did not look great. So I followed your tip about wig shampoo and conditioner and wow what a difference. Her hair looks lovely and silky. Also I would share a tip I found from YouTube about dolls that have come from a home with cigarette smell. I was not sure but I thought oh well it's worth try. I placed the doll in a large sealable bag I covered her eyes with cotton balls and taped them down firmly. Then I added unused kitty litter (just enough to cover her sleeping area when I laid her in the bag)and let her sleep for a few weeks (6 to be exact). I would check on her, fearing the dust would settle into her. But when removed from her catnap the smoke smell was gone. Yes I had to wash her and double check the leg and arms due to some kitty litter did get into the socket area, but it was worth the extra cleaning ( I had to check her sockets several times). Actually I was amazed that this process worked and no dust got into her eye do to the firm taping. Just wanted to share and say thank you, I enjoy your blog.

Brenda and Sophie said...

That is awesome!! Elizabeth is one of my favorite dolls. (I have 2 haha) I will add the kitty litter tip above!!

Canadian Doll Notebook said...

This worked! I can't believe it! I wrote a blog post about it, do you mind if I reference you? Thank you so much for the great advice!

Brenda and Sophie said...

I am glad it worked for you! I am happy you referenced my blog. Thanks

stephanie said...

My daughter put clear nail polish on her dolls cheek, so non acetone would get it off without damaging her skin???

Brenda and Sophie said...

Yes, the non-acetone nail polish remover will take off the clear polish, but be aware that it will also remove any cheek color. The color can be temporarily restored with a bit of powder blush, but it will wear off quickly.

Elise said...

Thank you for the information! Which beauty supply store did you find the shampoo and conditioner at? I just called my local Sally's and Ulta, neither of them knew what I was talking about. Any suggestions? (It could be that the employees just don't know, I plan on stopping by and looking for myself)

Brenda and Sophie said...

I got the wig shampoo at a Sally's. They actually had a couple different brands, I chose the less expensive one - it's great! The employees don't know, I had to go to the store and show the girl what I was talking about. The same thing happened when I asked for a wire wig brush, she told me they don't carry anything like that. I went to the brush area and pulled one out, she just said, "Oh, I didn't know we had that."

Myrtleedop said...

Water is not good for doll eyes, but the silver eye is not caused by water but is instead a factory defect. One that the American girls people will fix for free since it is a flaw from their supplier. You do have to send the doll to them and pay for shipping though. See the American Girls site for their "hospital" info, and phone them the verify this info. I had a Bitty Baby with one silver eye a few years ago that was taken care of with no charge.

Brenda and Sophie said...

Hey that is great to know! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

What if her hair is already frizzy? my doll (Lily Anna) has the worst case of the frizzies have ever seen. Any advice?

Brenda and Sophie said...

I would wash her hair with wig shampoo and wig conditioner and get a CERAMIC hair straightener (they are not too expensive at Walmart or Kmart) put it on the lowest setting and taking small (1/4") sections of her slightly damp hair straighten her hair. I have seen some amazing results

Holly said...

Thoughts on removing nail polish from eyelids? Worth it to tlc and resell doll?

Brenda and Sophie said...

I have had good luck with non-acetone nail polish on fingers and toes, even on foreheads, but I would be hesitant to use it on eyelids. I usually do a search online and see what other people have done and what works. Depending on how much the doll cost and how loved she is there is always the doll hospital.

Anonymous said...

Hello. Does the hot water dunk darken the doll's hair? I have two Kanani dolls and did the dunk on one and not the other. It worked beautifully but her hair color darkened. It's not a bad thing just has me curious.

Brenda Savage said...

I haven't heard of that, but I suppose if a doll has dry hair it tends to lighten. The hot water dunk would restore some of the normal (non-dried-out) color? I'm just guessing here.

Alexis H said...

I tried a hot water dunk on my Kirsten, and now her hair looks more like the "before" picture for yours (before, mine was even worse). I don't know how to detangle her hair, and it's very dry and damaged. If I invest in wig shampoo and conditioner and buy the right kind of hairbrush, will it help enough to make all those things worth the cost? Is there any way to clean the hair closer to the "wig cap" (bangs, etc.)?

Also, her skin was pretty dirty, but the Magic Eraser really did the trick! Thanks for that!

Brenda Savage said...

It sounds like your doll has pretty damaged hair. You might think about re-wigging her. It is really not that hard.

Anonymous said...

I find a AD in a flea market.
She don't have much hair and the body smell .
I'm not sure what can do for restore the doll . I leave out US and some products to AD is very difficult to find or delivery or expensive. I really need easy good advices. Thanks

Brenda Savage said...

If her hair is too bad, you'll need to re-wig her or make her lots of hats! Re-wigging is not that hard, but you'll need to order a wig. For the odor, first clean her arms, legs and face with a paste of baking soda. Be careful NOT to rub off her facial features (Cheeks and eyebrows). For odor that is in the fabric you can put her in a pillow case and put her in a plastic bag of Kitty Litter. This does a pretty good job deodorizing, but can take a month or more.