Friday, March 24, 2017

Cleaning Soft Vinyl Toys

If you have ever had tried to clean one of these soft vinyl toys you know what a challenge they can be!

I purchased these Rody Jr. vinyl toys while living in Japan they are made of a soft flexible vinyl very similar to the popular smooth rubber playground balls and they sat on a shelf in my doll collection for the past 10 years and in that time they collected a bit of dirt and household dust.These toys can also feel a bit sticky when they are dirty which makes cleaning them even more of a challenge but I was determined to find a way to get them clean before I listed them in my store. 
First I tried a magic eraser which is normally the clean all miracle worker but it didn't work on these, then I tried spraying them with an all purpose cleaner I think it might have been 409 nope that didn't work either, then I tried some dish detergent on a kitchen scrubber sponge and water and that still didn't work. Hmm! These guys were a challenge! 
Here's what did work: 
I got some vegetable oil and rubbed it all over them and let it sit for a minute to penetrate into the vinyl then I took that kitchen sponge with a scrubby side and put a little bit of dish detergent on it to remove the excess oil, scrubbed and then rinsed. The vegetable oil loosed up all the dirt and conditioned the vinyl so that it felt smooth and clean and no longer sticky. Baby oil or other types of oil like olive would probably also work but vegetable oil was what I had available so that is what I used and it came out smooth, clean and shiny!
I have also found this works well on dolls with soft rubber faces like the large interactive Baby Alive dolls.

Please keep in mind that this method might not work for every soft vinyl toy and that these methods are to be used at your discretion.

Happy toy cleaning adventures! :)

Cleaning Stuffed Animals

When I first started selling stuffed animals on eBay I wanted to make sure I was properly cleaning them so I did an internet search on how to clean stuffed animals. Here are a few of the ideas that I ran across and why you should avoid them!

Washing Machine
The washing machine is probably what comes to mind first when thinking about how to get that dirty stuffed friend clean and fresh again.This could potentially be very bad depending upon the age of the plush, trimming and what the inside is stuffed with. The peach colored bunny in the picture above is a vintage bunny made in Taiwan and is stuffed with shredded clippings. I don't even want to imagine what throwing that little guy into the washing machine would do to him.
I don't want to say that this can't ever be done as there are stuffed animals that are made to go in the washing machine. The Fisher Price Doodle Bear, Babies and Friends are a great example of stuffed animals that are perfectly safe to go in the washer and dryer just be sure to check your tag. If it says Surface Washable Only I wouldn't risk it.

Dryer Damage:

This adorable pink plush is a 1989 Kenner Jellybean Bunny from their Yum Yum Collection of scented stuffed animals and is the perfect example of a dryer victim. This poor little guy used to have fluffy soft tuffs of fur on his head and tail but a trip through the dryer left them dry and frizzy. It also robbed him of his original sweet jellybean scent. :(

 Baking Soda Nightmare
 I ran across several You Tube videos and blog posts advising people to put stuffed animals in a large bag, pour in some baking soda and then just vigorously shake the bag and when you pull them out they will be fresh and clean. Sounds simple enough what could go wrong?
Reality: Although they do come out smelling fresh you will be shaking baking soda out of those stuffed animals forever! I had a large lot of stuffed Care Bears that I tried this method with and I spent a great deal of time trying to shake all of the baking soda back out of them. I even tried vacuuming all of the baking soda out and it still did not get it all! While baking soda is non toxic it is rather annoying to find little white flakes of it everywhere the stuffed animal goes.

So what's a dirty Stuffed Animal to do?

Build a Bear Stuffed Animal Cleaner to the Rescue!
Sorry if I sound like a corny commercial but this stuff is seriously the best product I have found so far. If you have a vintage stuffed animal you may want to check the tag before using but I haven't run across a stuffed animal that I couldn't use their product on yet. All you do is spray it on, give it a minute to work then give the little guy a scrub with a clean dry wash cloth and viola you have a fresh clean stuffed friend ready for more fun and adventure!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Hey Doll Fans,

You may have been wondering what happened to me and why I have stayed away from my blog for so long. I must apologize for this. I have tried to restart this blog a couple of times now and every time I did it just didn't feel right. Not to mention I have had major changes going on in my life. I got a job as a virtual real estate assistant which didn't work out, got divorced after 15 years, started a second store, recently closed my second store, got a business office and recently have had to move my office back to my home. I didn't really have a goal or a clear image that I wanted my blog to be about since I don't really have time to sew much anymore until recently.
Doll Whispers on eBay is where I sell hard to find dolls, retro toys, books and other fun items. Sending items that are clean is very important to me and what I hope is one of the things that makes me stand out from other sellers. This has finally given me the inspiration for what I would like this blog to be about. I have found there are some right and wrong ways to clean toys and want to share what I have learned so that other people wouldn't make the same mistakes that I have in the past that may result in absolute heartbreak of a ruined collectible. 

Thank you for visiting!
Marianne Apple