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How to Clean Vintage Barbie Dolls

By James Clark ; Updated April 18, 2017
Solo In The Spotlight Barbie, 1964.

Created in 1959, Mattel's Barbie has provided many children countless hours of entertainment. In the 50 years since she was introduced, Barbie has also become one of the most highly prized collectibles. And since these toys been around for half a century, they can get a little grimy. Whether you have one or 100 dolls, you can clean and care for your vintage Barbie collection.

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Clean the doll, using a wet wipe or baby wipe. (This may be the only method required. However, if the doll remains dirty, continue to Step 2.)

Gently disrobe your Barbie and rinse the doll in warm, soapy water.

Use a soft cloth or towel and a circling motion to remove any dirt.

Scrub stubborn build up, using a soapy toothbrush. If the doll has been cleaned to your satisfaction, let it dry for 24 to 48. (If there are further stains, continue to Step 5.)

Using a damp Q-tip dipped in a tiny amount of diluted bleach, touch stains gently. Rinse carefully and allow to dry.

Things You Will Need

  • Soapy water
  • Clean cloth
  • Cleaning wipes (such as baby wipes)
  • Soap
  • Bleach (optional)


Often, the hair does not need washing. If it does, use a small amount of baby shampoo, rinse and allow to dry.


Do not use a blow dryer on Barbie's hair.

Do not leave a Barbie in the sun to dry, as you do not want her coloring to fade.

Be careful with the bleach, only use if absolutely necessary and test an inconspicuous area first.

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About the Author

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.

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