How to Clean and Care for Antique Doll Clothes

Do you collect antique doll clothes? If you do, you may come to a point where you will have to clean them.

Cleaning Antique Doll Clothes with Distilled Water
First and foremost, be very, very careful when you handle your doll's clothes, particularly if your they are fragile. The last thing that you want to have to do is repair or throw away damaged clothing. Do not use bleach on the clothing, as bleach weakens fabrics. Finally, starch can attract bugs over time, so leave the spray on the shelf.

Using a Q-tip, rub some distilled water on a seam on the wrong side of the clothing. If any color runs, you won't be able to wash your doll clothing in water. Put the clothing aside.

As with regular laundry, you should not mix fabric colors if you are washing more than one piece of clothing at a time. Even if the fabrics seem to be colorfast, they still may bleed a little in the washing process.

If the colors don't run, remove decorations, particularly if the decorations are a different color than the fabric, and any fasteners that the clothing has. Put the clothing in a bowl with a mix of half vinegar and half cool, distilled water for about an hour. Then, rinse in distilled water.

Next, mix a very mild soap detergent and distilled water together in a bowl. Place the clothing in the bowl for an hour, stirring once or twice to make sure that there is not any color bleeding. If you notice color in the water/detergent mix, pull the clothing out and rinse with distilled water right away. After an hour, rinse the clothes thoroughly in distilled water.

Mix distilled water and an enzyme brightener according to directions. Soak the clothes again for an hour, followed by a good rinsing.

Soak the clothes in another a 50/50 mix of distilled water and vinegar for a few minutes, followed by a final water rinse. Air dry the clothes. Roll the clothes in a white towel to remove excess water and then let the clothing air dry.

If you plan to iron your clothing, set the iron to a cool steam setting. Use the steam rather than the iron itself to smooth out your clothing.

Cleaning Antique Doll Clothes that Bleed
Use a spray carpet cleaner on the clothes and brush with a soft brush when the carpet cleaner is dry.

Handling Antique Doll Clothes
While it may be tempting to handle your doll clothing, even clean hands can leave an oil residue on fabric. This residue can attract dust and dirt. Therefore touch your dolls' clothing as infrequently as possible.

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