Porcelain dolls can last a lifetime if properly cared for. It is possible to restore or maintain the quality of your porcelain doll with a little attention and care. You can keep your doll in good condition by handling it carefully, cleaning it thoroughly, and repairing it when it breaks.
Part 1 Handling Your Doll
1. Always wear gloves. Porcelain dolls are extremely delicate and should be handled with extreme caution. A porcelain doll used as a child’s toy does not require the use of gloves. When handling a collectible or decorative doll, however, you should always wear white cotton gloves. Your skin oils can stain the porcelain and clothing of the doll, as well as attract dust.
2. To protect your doll, place it on a towel. When cleaning or dressing your doll, place it on a towel rather than directly on a table. This will keep your doll clean and free of dirt and smudges. The towel also protects your fragile doll from breakage by adding another layer of protection.
3. Keep the doll in a secure place. If you have a collectible doll or want to keep it safe, keep it in its original box or a ventilated container. Doll display cases that work well for this can be purchased online. If you smoke, however, keep your doll in an airtight container to avoid stains. The doll should always be kept out of direct sunlight and at room temperature rather than in extreme temperatures.
Keep your doll away from windows to avoid being damaged by high temperatures and harsh light from outside.
4. Detangle the hair of your doll. Detangle your doll’s hair carefully with a hair detangling pick. Keep your doll’s hairline dry at all times, or the glue will come loose and the wig will fall off. A wire brush can be used to gently brush synthetic and straight hair. Brushing curly hair can cause the curls to become ruined.
Part 2 Cleaning Your Doll
1. Dust off your doll. Dust your porcelain dolls on a regular basis with a feather duster or a large, soft paint brush. This will help keep your doll clean and may eliminate the need for a deep cleaning. If there is stubborn dust, place your doll in a nylon sock and carefully vacuum the doll over the stocking, or use a low-pressure air compressor. Without the stocking, your doll’s hair can become frizzy, tangled, and ruined. If you don’t have a stocking, you can use your hands to cover your doll’s hair.
2. The porcelain should be cleaned. You can clean your porcelain doll gently with a dry cloth or a chemical sponge. If necessary, use a very small amount of water, but not too much. Rub the doll with the cloth or sponge. Make sure to wipe rather than scrub, or else the paint (particularly the makeup on the face) may come off.
A Q-tip or toothbrush can be used to clean crevices and hard-to-reach areas (such as the eyes, nose, mouth, and ears). Always be gentle, especially around the eyelashes.
3. Get rid of any stains on the porcelain. If your doll has stains, you can try to remove them carefully. Wipe the stain with a small amount of gentle detergent diluted in water. If that does not remove the stain, try a small amount of baking soda and water. Always test on a hidden part of the doll first, as soap or baking soda can cause the paint to come off.
4. Your doll’s hair should be washed. If your doll’s hair is extremely dirty, use your fingers and water to carefully remove the glue from the wig. To clean synthetic hair, use water and glass cleaner, and to clean human hair, use a gentle detergent. Once the wig has dried completely, reattach it with white glue.
Part 3 Fixing Your Doll
1. Clear your vision. If your doll’s eyes are foggy and crystalized, you can fix them. Apply a small amount of sewing machine oil to your doll’s eyes. Rub the oil into your doll’s skin, then place it on its stomach. You should leave it there for approximately an hour. Check it once or twice to ensure that the oil has not spread onto the porcelain. It is critical that you only use a small amount and that it does not come into contact with any other parts of the doll besides the eye. If you are not careful, the sewing machine oil may cause cracking.
2. Make sure the doll’s clothes are in good condition. Hand sew any rips or holes in the clothes. You can remove and wash your doll’s clothes if you notice dirt or stains on them. Before washing the clothes, try to remove any accessories that you can. Hand-wash the clothes in cold water and air-dry the hair.
3. Take your doll to a store that specialises in repairs. If your doll has any cracks or does not appear to be repairable, take it to a doll repair shop. There are numerous doll repair shops where you can get your dolls fixed. To find a doll hospital or a doll repair shop in your area, search for “doll hospitals” or “doll repair shops.”
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