Protecting Your Children's Health by Cleaning Their Dolls

Protecting Your Children's Health by Cleaning Their Dolls

If washing your kid’s hands is a ‘first line of defense,’ then keeping their dolls clean is an additional line of defense against allergens, dust mites, germs and viruses.

You probably already know that soap molecules actually break up and kill virus molecules, it’s why you see instructions to ‘wash your hands often and thoroughly’ everywhere you look these days.

Washing your children’s dolls in soap and water works the same way, but here are a few extra tips we’ve learned from our 20 years as ‘The Pattycake Doll Company.’

Rag Dolls and Teddy Bears - Washing
• Almost every cloth doll can be washed and dried. It may not come out as well as when it went in... colors can run, cloth can shrink. So you want to tie it up into a dark tee shirt or towel, and air dry it after you wash it in the gentle cycle. All of our HABA rag dolls are machine washable.

Rag Dolls and Teddy Bears - The Microwave
• You can kill 99% of the food bacteria and germs in your kitchen sponge if you cook it in the microwave for a few minutes! You can get some of the same results by putting Dolls and Teddy Bears into the microwave. It kills many types of bacteria. As we tell our ‘Microwavable Plush’ customers. “Test it!” Give it 30 seconds at a time. You cook in plastic containers, and they can get pretty hot right? So test it. And don’t put it in if it has metal in it - weights for open-close eyes or zippers for example.

Rag Dolls and Teddy Bears - The Freezer
• Almost any cloth doll can be frozen, and although freezing does not kill bacteria or viruses, it does kill house mites and many allergens. So, not effective for the novel coronavirus, but effective for a lot of the allergens that bother children. And doesn’t ruin the doll!

Cloth bodied ‘Baby Dolls’ with vinyl heads, hands and feet:
• 90% of the soft bodied baby dolls we sell are machine washable and have removable clothes. Especially the baby dolls from Adora, Corolle and JC Toys - definitely so.
• Vinyl heads, hands and feet can be sanitized with mild bleach (4 teaspoons to a quart of water per the CDC), or disinfecting wipes.

All Plastic and Vinyl dolls or Dolls with Vinyl heads, hands and feet
• Plastic and Vinyl dolls can be washed in hot soapy water, as well as sanitized with a diluted bleach solution. 
• Those disinfecting wipes? Yep, they’ll work on the plastic dolls and on the heads and hands and feet of the soft bodied dolls.

‘Plastic’ Doll Hair
• Most doll hair is made of plastic, but is so ‘thin’ that it will melt at pretty low temperatures, so wipes work best for that. Or you can soak dolls in soapy water... washing the dolls is like washing your hands - you can wash the germs off with the dirt. We have a whole article on doll hair here.

*Disclaimers: We’re not Doctors nor Scientists specializing in germs, bacteria or viruses. We're simply a doll store selling Dolls and Plush for two decades and have studied doll cleanliness and germ prevention. Call this ‘experience,’ or kitchen table wisdom, but yes... these are suggestions we think you can consider to help protect your family’s health.
These are our suggestions based on our experience only...we can't guarantee that these tips won't ruin your dolls.

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