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How to Clean Rubber Dolls

By Aline Lindemann ; Updated April 18, 2017
Rubber dolls require special care.

Dolls are loved by collectors, young and old. For some, dolls are favorite toys that are used for play. For others, dolls are keepsakes worthy of tender loving care and proper display. Some people purchase dolls new and others collect older dolls. Newer but well-loved dolls as well as older ones are sometimes in need of a good cleaning. To respect the integrity of the materials and avoid damaging the rubber doll (and to avoid using harsh or toxic cleansers with which a young doll lover might come into contact), it is important to do this properly.

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Dish soap and a rag will remove mild stains.

Dip a cotton rag into warm, soapy water, wring out the excess, and wipe the hard areas of the rubber doll. Rub stained or marked areas and avoid getting stuffed areas and hair wet. More stubborn stains might require additional attention.

Use cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol for hard-to-reach crevices.

Wipe marker and pen marks with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol. Use cotton swabs to clean crevices and hard-to-reach areas. Remove crayon marks by rubbing them with a damp rag dipped in a bit of baking soda. Rinse with a clean, damp rag.

Dust freshly cleaned and dry areas with baby powder to prevent them from getting sticky.

Even blood stains can be removed from baby clothing with peroxide.

Remove stains from doll clothing by hand-washing in a mild detergent. For more stubborn stains, soak them in peroxide. Rinse, and lay flat to dry.

Things You Will Need

  • Dish soap
  • Cloth rags
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Baking soda
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Peroxide


Rubber will deteriorate with age, so store rubber dolls away from extreme temperatures and sunlight as they will speed up the aging process.

A rubber or vinyl doll that has a foul smell, much like sour milk or vomit, cannot usually be rid of that odor. It comes from a breakdown of the plastic.

To store dolls that are not in use or on display, wrap them in fabric. Never store dolls in plastic bags or tissue paper.

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About the Author

Aline Lindemann is a health, food and travel writer. She has also worked as a social worker, preschool teacher and art educator. Lindemann holds a Master of Liberal Studies in culture, health and creative nonfiction writing from Arizona State University.

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