Where and how should you store vintage Barbie dolls?

I have an original 1959 Barbie and Ken with original cases (not boxes). They are in relatively good shape, kept in a finished basement with heat and air conditioning. I just looked at them and they appeared to be "sweaty" and a little sticky. How do I clean them and is their current location suitable for storage? Do you recommend moving them?

You can clean them with mild soap and water - or any mild cleaner. Some of the earlier Barbies have a "greasy" look. I would recommend keeping them in a climate controlled area - if they are in their plastic cases - you may want to keep them in a different box - like cardboard, that allows for better circulation. Keep away from sunlight. A dryer sheet in with the dolls will help keep odor away. Don't store them wearing clothes or shoes - the colors can fade on the dolls and of course earrings, which can turn Barbie's ears green.

Comments for Where and how should you store vintage Barbie dolls?

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Baking soda tea bags for storage.
by: Anonymous

Laying your doll and doll clothes in the sun before storing will break up any musty smells and release them into the atmosphere. That is why the outdoors does not smell musty or moldy. Do not spray the clothing with Fabreese, or use scented dryer sheets to store, as these ad allergens, and toxic chemicals to the clothing that will not come out. Dryer sheets also leave an oily residue on clothing. To remove lingering natural smalls for short term storage of a doll, you can purchase some empty tea bags from a tea shop, and fill them with baking soda to store with your doll. This would help absorb a natural odor, rather than adding an un-natural one.
These are less expensive than dryer-sheets, and do not harm the environment.

Dryer sheets are harmful
by: Anonymous

Dryer sheets do not remove odors, they add perfumes to cover up, and those are chemicals that can be harmful to people with breathing problem and allergies. I don't like buying dolls on ebay that have a funny perfume smell. It is likely the chemicals could combine with the plastic and cause some chemical reaction over time that could harm the plastic as well. If a seller won't disclose fabric softener smells and won't refund the doll. I leave negative feedback. That is only time I ever leave negative feedback. Damage is damage and fabric softener smell can not be removed. You can try a vinegar soak, but often that will not help. Baking soda will not help. I won't store a doll contaminated with frebreeze with other dolls, as the smell will carry over to other items. I normally discard such dolls, unless I can give them away.

storing your dolls
by: Becky

I have most of my dolls stored, unfortunately, because I don't have enough room to display them, and they were getting dusty and too much light exposure. I work in a library/archives/museum. I bought archival acid free boxes. I undressed my dolls, wrapped them loosely in acid free tissue and I keep the boxes in the main house, not in a damp or cold basement or garage, or a too-hot or dry attic. If I were worried about too much moisture I would also get some of those archival desiccant packets, like you sometimes find packed with new shoes. (They absorb extra moisture.) I packed all the clothes loosely in layers in acid free tissue, so as not to crush or flatten them. I put the accessories in small boxes, tucked in with the clothes. I have too much invested to fool around with cheap or half-baked storage ideas. Most of these materials are available online, and are not that expensive if you compare them to your investment or the sentimental value of your dolls.

Re;Dryer Sheets and Storage
by: Chelseaboiz

Hi, This is for the storage question person. I certainly don't want to contradict Suzanne. (I read & appreciate this blog very much!) But I've have bought vintage dolls that were stained with yellow marks when the dryer sheets they were stored with had come in contact with the dolls. I don't know if this was a particular brand or what. If you don't have a damp basement & don't live where there is a danger of flooding, I personally wouldn't put any scented items with the dolls & case at all. This has just been my personal experience & I don't mean to undermine Suzanne at all! I hope this helps!

(That is a good point - make sure if you do use a dryer sheet that it is not in contact with the doll! Suzanne)

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