How to Take Care of a Porcelain Doll

Three Parts:Handling Your DollCleaning Your DollFixing Your Doll

Porcelain dolls can last a lifetime if you take proper care of them. It is possible to restore your porcelain doll or maintain its good quality by giving it a little attention and care. By handling your doll carefully, cleaning it well, and fixing it when it breaks, you can keep your doll in good condition.

Part 1
Handling Your Doll

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    Always use gloves. Porcelain dolls are extremely fragile and should be handled with great care. A porcelain doll that is a child’s toy does not need to be handled with gloves. However, when a doll is a collectible or a decoration you should always wear white cotton gloves when you handle it. The oils on your skin can stain the doll’s porcelain and clothing, as well as attract dust. [1]
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    Lay your doll out on a towel to protect it. When cleaning or dressing your doll lay it out on a towel, not directly on a table. This will protect your doll from getting any dirt or smudges on it. The towel also helps prevent breakage by adding another layer of protection for your fragile doll. [2]
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    Store the doll safely. If your doll is a collectible or you want it be extra safe, store it in its original box or a ventilated container. You can purchase doll display cases online that work well for this. However, if you smoke, store your doll in an airtight container to prevent stains. The doll should always be out of direct sunlight and be in room temperature, not extreme temperatures.[3]
    • Keep your doll somewhere not too close to a window to avoid high temperatures and harsh light from outside from damaging your doll.
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    Detangle your doll’s hair. Carefully detangle your doll’s hair with a hair detangling pick. Keep your doll’s hairline dry, otherwise the glue might come loose and the wig might fall off. Synthetic and straight hair can be carefully brushed with a wire brush. Curly hair should not be brushed because the curls could get ruined. [4]

Part 2
Cleaning Your Doll

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    Dust your doll. Regularly dust your porcelain dolls with a feather duster or a large, soft paint brush. This will help keep your doll clean and might mean you never have to give it a deep cleaning. [5] If there is stubborn dust you can put your doll in a nylon sock and carefully vacuum the doll over the stocking or use an air compressor on the lowest setting. If you don’t use the stocking your doll’s hair can get frizzy, tangled, and ruined. If you don’t have a stocking you can cover your doll’s hair with your hands. [6]
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    Clean the porcelain. You can carefully clean your porcelain doll with a dry cloth or chemical sponge. You can use a very tiny amount of water if needed, but don’t use too much. Rub the cloth or sponge on the doll. Make sure to wipe, not to scrub, otherwise the paint (especially the makeup on the face), might come off. [7]
    • You can clean crevices and hard to reach places (such as the eyes, nose, mouth, and ears) with a Q-tip or toothbrush. Make sure to be very gentle, especially around the eyelashes. [8]
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    Remove any stains on the porcelain. If your doll has stains on it, you can try to carefully remove them. Start with a little bit of gentle detergent diluted in water and wipe the stain. If that does not get the stain off, you can try a little bit of baking soda and water. Always test on a hidden part of the doll first because using soap or baking soda can cause the paint to possibly come off. [9]
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    Wash your doll’s hair. If your doll’s hair is really dirty you can carefully remove the glue on the wig with your fingers and water. Use water and glass cleaner to clean synthetic hair and gentle detergent to clean human hair. Once the wig is completely dry you can reattach it with white glue. [10]

Part 3
Fixing Your Doll

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    Fix cloudy eyes. You can fix your dolls eyes if they are foggy and crystalized. Put a very small drop of sewing machine oil on your dolls eyes. Rub the oil in then lay your doll down on its stomach. You should leave it there for about an hour. Make sure to check on it once or twice to make sure the oil has not spread onto the porcelain. It is very important to only use a small amount and that it does not touch other parts of the doll besides the eye. The sewing machine oil might cause cracking if you are not careful. [11]
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    Repair the doll’s clothes. Fix any holes in the clothes by hand sewing them. If you notice dirt or stains on your doll’s clothes you can take them off and wash them. Try to remove any accessories off of the clothes that you can before washing them. Hand wash the clothes in cold water and let hair dry. [12]
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    Take your doll to a repair shop. If your doll has any cracks or does not look like you can repair it yourself, take your doll to a doll repair store. There are many doll repair stores that will fix your dolls. You can search for “doll hospitals” or “doll repair shops” in your area to find one that can repair your doll.


  • Don’t scrub your doll because the paint might come off.
  • Don’t use any harsh chemicals.
  • Always test soap or baking soda on a hidden part of the doll first.
  • Be careful because porcelain dolls are fragile.

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Categories: Dolls and Doll Houses