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How to Get Stains Off of Dolls' Faces

By Helen Holzer ; Updated April 18, 2017
"Hello Dolly." Keep your child's doll in tip-top shape.

Nothing brings a smile to a youngster’s face quicker than a new toy. Little girls love to play mommy with their dolls, but too much wear and tear on a doll takes its toll. As the doll becomes more and more loved, it also becomes dirty. Grease, dirt, markers and ink have a way of working into a doll’s face over time, causing stains. Cleaning your child’s doll properly and quickly is important because it is well-loved, but you also must also take care not expose your child to unsafe cleaning ingredients.

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Wash the doll's face with mild soap and warm water. Use a washcloth to gently remove dirt and grime. Rinse thoroughly with water and pat dry with a clean towel.

Remove ink from a vinyl doll by using a 10 percent benzoyl peroxide cream. Remove the doll’s clothing. Apply the cream liberally to the stained area. Put the doll outside in the sun. This cleaning process can take several hours or several days. Reapply if necessary. Since peroxide is a chemical that can bleach, do not use it over any painted surface of the doll’s face such as the lips, as it can also take off the doll’s coloring. Remove all traces of the chemicals by washing with soap and water as explained in Step 1.

Put baking soda on a washcloth to remove crayon stains. Remove the baking soda by washing with soap and water.

Apply rubbing alcohol for stubborn stains. Soak a cotton-tipped swab and carefully blot the stain. If alcohol doesn't work, try nail polish remover. The acetone in nail polish remover is strong and could remove the doll's face coloring as well as the stain. Remove all traces of the chemicals by washing with soap and water.

Things You Will Need

  • Mild soap
  • Washcloth
  • Towel
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Baking soda
  • Alcohol
  • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton-tipped swab


Test each cleaner first on a small portion of the doll's face to be sure it will not ruin the surface.

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About the Author

Helen Holzer is a veteran journalist who began writing in 1972 and has lived all over the country. She has written and edited on nearly every topic for major daily newspapers and other publications. She has also been a book reviewer and currently lives in the Pacific Northwest. She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Minnesota.

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