Filed under: Article with tags: clothes
Disclaimer: I do not hold any responsibility for any damage that may occur to your dolls’ clothing from what you learn from this post. This is what works for me and my doll clothing, which is why I’m writing this. Please don’t get angry at me for ruined dolly clothing and remember to TEST detergents and other cleaning solutions on small (hopefully hidden) patches first before dousing an entire pricey little dress in it.
Photo by sxc.hu user marekwo.
I clean all thrifted doll clothing, or at least try to (especially if it smells or has a visible but removable stain). The problem is that generally doll clothes don’t have a care tag label or even a label telling you what kind of fabric it is. The good thing is that most things can be washed.
First thing first: Is the fabric colour-fast? If you have dark or very bright clothing, you might want to check of the material is colour fast first. Just get the fabric a little bit wet and blot it with a paper towel. If the colour comes out, it is not colour-fast (and you most definitely do not want to put it on your doll). Blythe bodies get stained very easily so you’ll want to avoid all fabrics that are not colour-fast.
Hand washing is recommended for doll clothing, mostly due to their small nature. If you’re not wanting to use laundry detergents, you still have options:
- Wash with water only
- Wash with water and mild soap
- Wash with water and vinegar (50/50 solution)
I tend to wash my doll clothes in the sink, if I need to. The clothing is laid flat to dry after I’m done cleaning them. I would avoid bleach, especially with vintage clothing items.
Washing machines can also get the job done. They are less gentle on doll clothing than hand washing is, but it takes less of a time commitment from you. What you’ll need to do is:
- Separate your lights and darks (please check to see if fabrics are colour-fast before putting them in the washing machine!)
- Put the dolly clothing into a lingerie/laundry bag or into a zippered pillowcase. Make sure to zip it close.
- Put the bag in with similarly coloured (human) laundry. Put it on the delicate cycle.
- Lay doll clothing flat to dry.
What about things made with yarn? If the item in question was knit or crocheted in acrylics or superwash wool – you can go ahead with washing it without any problems. If the item was made with mohair, non-superwash wool or any other animal-fibre, take care not to shock the fibres! But never fear, you can still wash them if they get a bit dingy.
- Hand wash only!
- Use cold water – not warm or hot water (warm/hot water will agitate the fibres and cause your doll clothing to shrink!)
- You can use detergents specially made for wool/animal fibres or a very mild baby shampoo.
- Lay dolly clothing flat to dry (much like you would a human-sized sweater).
What tips do you have for cleaning doll clothing?