How to Clean Old Cabbage Patch Dolls and Dolls/barbies with Nylon Type Hair

Updated on March 13, 2012
A.F. asks from Allentown, PA
9 answers

Hi Moms!
My son and I took some of my old dolls and barbies out of my parents attic over the weekend. Unfortunately, they were not stored away with a lot of love! Some of the cabbage patch dolls appear to have mold or some kind of aging on the soft body part. It says to not wash them in the washing machine. Suugestions on what to use to attempt to clean them? Also, the my little ponies, barbies and one doll have that fake nylon type hair. It is a matted mess! Suggestions? Any hope for dolls with dirty yarn type hair too? Thanks for any suggestions! I would hate to think I ruined them by not taking care to store them properly:-( My son has many of Daddy's toys to play with. He was excited to have some of Mommy's toys too:-)

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answers from Dallas on

I've washed cabbage patch dolls in the washing machine with no issues. Just hang it by it's head to dry (water collects in the head if you don't).

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answers from Norfolk on

Warnings to not wash in the washing machine are to alleviate the maker of any liability. If it is a choice between throwing out because they're ruined or ruining further in the washing machine, I would have rather given it a chance. Put the Cabbage Patch Dolls in a pillowcase and throw in the washer on a gentle cycle. If that doesn't do the job, make a mixture of baking soda and vinegar and give the dolls a bath in that. You can tumble dry in your dryer and line dry, but no heat.

For the Barbies and My Little Ponies, soap and water. no bleach. Johnson & Johnson No More Tears is fairly astringent (despite the name.) Again, baking soda and vinegar for anything really difficult.

Last-ditch effort is bleach. You could very likely ruin the toy with too much bleach, but I would want something like that horribly ruined before I threw it out anyway. :-)

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answers from St. Louis on

yep, the washing machine. I do it regularly for my daycare.

& Bethyskids is right....hang them by the head to dry!

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answers from San Francisco on

Cabbage Patch dolls can go in the washer.

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answers from Portland on

I agree with Leslie M's suggestions.

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answers from Boston on

For American Girls dolls with the nylon hair you can find YouTube videos advising a "Downy Dunk" which basically means they lay the doll hair in a bowl of Downy Fabric Softener. This link has pictures.

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answers from Allentown on

Yep the older dolls are supposed to be spot clean only but I would still try throwing them in the wash inside a pillowcase, on sanitize. It should work and not cause much damage, as they are it sounds like they are unusable. So just run them thru the washer. If you have a rack for shoes for your dryer use that, or keep them inside the pillowcase for a short tumble before air drying the rest of the way. I agree with downy dunk for the hair.



answers from Lake Charles on

I think if there's mold on the cabbage patch bodies you can't do much... but don't quote me. As far as the hair on the barbies and stuff.. go get some mane 'n tail shampoo/conditioner a lot of that stuff is made of horse hair (or similar) and i used to wash the hair with that, comb it out and let it air dry.. it's been a while since I've done it but it used to work like a charm. But on second thought if you have one of those nifty whirlpool washers that has a steam cycle that will sanitize the mold... althought I don't think it'll do much for the stain.


answers from Los Angeles on

Not sure about the matted nylon hair, hers were all yarn-type but I threw my daughter's CP dolls in the washer for years...I put them in a pillow case, secured it with a large rubber band or ponytail holder, sent them through the wash, dried them slightly in the dryer and air-dried them the rest of the way. I got ink and marker off them this way so I recommend you give it a try.

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