Back in the early 1980's, J. Shin created a line of dolls called Ice Cream dolls. These dolls came in three soft body sizes and one plastic body size. Today, collectors around the world strive to get their hands on these adorable boys and girls to include them in their collections. Unfortunately, when the dolls aren't stored properly, they become damaged and are no longer as valuable or wanted. The dolls can be restored, and if stored properly, will go many years in storage without suffering any further damage.
These are not the kind of dolls that you want to tie up in a pillow case and send through the washing machine. The cleaning process must be completed by hand to prevent the bodies from becoming misshaped, the hair from unraveling and the heads and hands from becoming infested with mold inside.
Body Cleaning – To clean the soft body dolls, get a mixture of equal parts of water and white vinegar. Use a white cloth to clean away any dirt spots on the body. It may take several attempts before it comes clean, but eventually, the white vinegar will remove nearly any stain that the doll has on it.
Head and Hands – The plastic head and hands must be cleaned as well, but they are a little more durable than the soft body. You can wipe the surface with the vinegar and water mixture first to see what will come off easily. Spots and marks that don't come off with that mixture will likely come off with a bit of Goo-Gone on a cotton ball. Leave the Goo-Gone to sit on the spot for twenty minutes or so and then wipe it off. Dark spots that don't come off with either product may come off with a bit of zit cream and sitting out in the sun. The only thing to be aware of is that you should never put the zit cream on the doll's pink cheeks or the cream will bleach the color right off of her skin.
Hair – The hair can be kind of tricky to get clean since it is made of yarn. You want it clean, but you don't want it to unravel. The best method of cleaning it is the white vinegar and water mixture and a clean cloth. Hold one strand at the end and wipe the hair starting from the scalp and working towards your finger. Going over it a few times should get it clean. Follow up with a clean water towel to rinse the vinegar out and when you're done, the hair will be clean and ready to go.
Clothing – The clothing can become discolored and stained after so many years. Pour three parts white vinegar and one part water into a bucket or bowl. Place the clothes in the mixture and let it sit for a day. Then, put them in a laundry bag or pillow case and send them through the gentle cycle on your washing machine. Line dry them and fluff them for a few minutes in your low-heat dryer.
Storing the Dolls
Now that you have restored the dolls, you want to be sure that they are stored properly to avoid having to go through all of this work again in the future. If you don't plan on displaying the dolls, find a cool, dry, dark place to store them. The area in which you store the dolls must be low in humidity and temperature and must be out of the sun.
If you don't have a place in your home to store them safely, consider renting a climate-controlled storage unit for these and the other collectibles in your home. Climate-controlled storage units are the solution to many storage issues and will keep the dolls and all of your other delicate items in perfect condition until you are ready to display, sell or pass them down.
Contact a service like AA All American Airborne Self-Storage for more help.