Aug. 19 2017 Conservation Techniques for Doll Clothes and Wigs by Deanna P.

Photos and synopsis by Pat D.

      Deanna had a wonderful display to show the ability of cleaning products, special tools and techniques for antique and vintage dolls and their clothing. She even had live demonstrations of cleaning clothing and showed us the best way to clean wigs, doll bodies and so on. Then there were the beautiful dolls upon which she had already worked her magic.

Cleaning Dolls and Doll Clothes

      Twin Pines of Maine – All of the products by Twin Pines were made specifically for dolls as there were no safe, effective, commercial products available. Nicholas “Nick” Hill was a chemist whose wife had an extensive collection of dolls and was frustrated with the lack of cleaning products for her dolls. So Nick created new products over the years developed to help with each cleaning problem. Nick has sold the company but it continues making fine cleaning products such as:

Perk is an ultra-concentrated and reusable cold water cleaner for antique and vintage clothing, doll clothes, christening gowns, stuffed animals and toys, quilts, lace, silk and virtually any other fabric. It will remove brown age stains, water marks, and most other difficult stains from about any fabric. Even taffeta retains most of its original crispness. It’s completely biodegradable.

Boost can be used when Perk needs a safe, non-bleach boost to remove those really stubborn fabric stains and browned areas.

Remove-Zit removes stains from ink, marker, mildew, mold, fungus, lipstick, food and dye. Can be used on most hard and soft plastic dolls, fired bisque and porcelain. Not for celluloid, poly, compo or papier mache.

D-Stinker eliminates odors from mold and mildew, leaving neutral odor. It’s been used successfully to eliminate animal odors, fish, fungus, garbage, mildew, mold, mothballs, nicotine, pet waste, smoke, soot, even smelly footwear.


Other ways to clean doll clothes: Use 40% Peroxide (find at Sally Beauty) – Use a very fine screen to hold antique clothing as the weight of the fabric can disintegrate the outfit. – Use tall liquor bottle to hold the clothing while drying.

Once clean and if the garment needs pressing you can use a tiny ironing board – Deanna recommends Maryellen’s Best Press found at Joann’s.

Cleaning Papier Mache can be safely done using Ponds Cold Cream, white with no additives.

Renaissance Cream from England can be also used on wood, marble, glass, etc.

Cleaning Wigs

      Deanna recommends buying the Heads Up! Hair Care Kit from Twin Pines. This includes shampoo, conditioner, detangler, brush and other tools, and instructions.

Before washing the wig, get all the rats out first, using a needle. Place a round Styrofoam ball on a rod and wrap it in plastic. Place the wig on the ball, cover with tulle, then gently wash the wig. Swish rinse in water. Set the wig in curlers and air dry a couple days. You can make curlers from a cut up drinking straw. Place a pipe cleaner piece into the straw piece and pinch closed over the wet hair on the curler.

When dry you can use a tiny curling iron on Mohair and Human Hair wigs. Never use heat on Dynel, Saran or Plastic hair as used on vintage dolls.

Storing Clothing and Paper Products

      Lavender, Cloves and Cedar discourages bug pests. Place little sachets of these with your dolls.

Regular tissue paper, cardboard doll boxes and frames are wood based and therefore acidic. The acid will fade, discolor and break down the dolls and their clothing. Deanna recommends using only archival products for storing dolls, clothing and paper products. Gaylord Archival has a multitude of products such as archival tissue paper, clear plastic sleeves and so on. Deanna had contacted Gaylord and they sent enough samples for all of us.

And finally, a place to display our dolls in our cabinets. Deanna recommended Invisible Glass by Stoner which can be found at Marcs, Lowes, car care places, etc. Use a micro fiber cloth with this product and the glass will shine.

      Thank you Deanna for such a wonderful, informative and fun program on caring for our dolls.


Before the program we had the induction of the Cleveland Doll Club 2017-2019 officers in a lovely UFDC Miss Unity ceremony by outgoing president Sandy P. Thank you so much Sandy and V.P. Becky for all the hard work of caring for our club and for the wonderful programs we enjoyed. Inducted were President Pat D., Vice-President Carol N., Treasurer Carol E., Recording Secretary Linda C. and Corresponding Secretary Becky U.

And a big Thanks go out to Pam Judd for the travel doll favors. Her Back to School display and miniature chalkboard favors were delightful.

Note to CDC Members: Please log onto our Shutterfly website so you may see all the photos of the doll display and show & share and travel dolls, plus pictures of our members enjoying the day.




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