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Quick Guide to Cleaning Your Collectible Toys


Like any collectibles, your toy's condition is a significant reflection of its value. And one of the best ways to preserve its integrity is to avoid taking it out of its original packaging. For kids, this is a very heartbreaking thing to do. Remember when you couldn't stop yourself from ripping the package off so you could get your hands on a Hans Solo action figure? Well, the same thing can't be said to avid toy collectors whose satisfaction lies only on seeing their precious items stuck in their little cardboard boxes, like forever...

However, if you stumble upon a rare, loose item in your treasure chest or got a great deal at a thrift shop, you would wonder how you can salvage it from doom. There's dirt and grime build-up in between its crevices, some strange gunk glued in random cavities, and heaps of dust on the surface- all screaming in your face to get cleaned up stat! Surely, this collectible item has seen better days.

Worry not, my friend!

Rocket science isn't necessary to clean collectible toys. All you need are some basic cleaning stuff that can be found in your household, and you're good to go!

Feel like your Funko pops and action figures need some serious bath? Here's a quick guide to cleaning your collectible toys:

Action Figures

Fighting against evil droids is no easy feat and requires dirty work. If you're up for it, all you need is to dunk your action figure in a bowl of lukewarm water and dish soap. Others may tell you to use hot water as it's likely the most sensible thing to do, but don't you dare do it. Remember that hot water is the archenemy of plastic, which your space alien and flame-throwing pterodactyl are made of.

After 5 minutes in total submersion, grab a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush off the dirt and gunk from its joints slowly and gently so as not to scratch the paint off in the process. Look for major problem areas like crayon lines and stuck gum, and apply something like Goo Gone using a Q-tip. Rinse the action figure in cold water, and carefully pat dry using a paper towel.

Stuffed Animal

If you think your stuffed bear toy needs some serious grooming, use a lint brush. Getting rid of loose dirt is as easy as ABC. Just stretch a panty hose over a vacuum's nozzle, then run it over your furry friend. To finish the process, brush the fur with a soft brush that has well-spaced bristles.

You may have accidentally poured a portion of your lunch on your teddy's belly. Stain problems might be bothersome, but you can easily use a multipurpose stain remover and warm water to spot clean your stuffed animal. Remove as much of excess stains as possible first, then apply the stain remover mixture. Rub the area and wait for 10 minutes. Finally, rinse it with clean water and blot until dry.

Machine wash is also a great option! However, you must first check the label for instructions and warnings. For stains, treat it with a mild laundry detergent before putting your stuffed toy in the washing machine. Then, put your toy in a zippered pillow case along with the rest of the laundry, and use gentle cycle. To make the toy soft and more cuddly, use a fabric conditioner. After washing, don't place it in a dryer as it may lose its original shape. Instead, hang it up on a clothesline and wait for it to dry.

Barbie Dolls 

With her luscious golden locks and stick-thin figure, Barbie is every modern girl's epitome of perfection. But a neglected Barbie is far from desirable, and may even be the next haunted Annabelle and the nefarious Chuckie doll.

That said, it's important to concentrate on primping and cleaning your Barbie dolls every once in a while. Of course, patience is required in the process, especially if you're dealing with a tangled, matted hair that's very hard to tame with a simple hair brush.

Start the primping process by putting a mixture of shampoo, a little clear dish washing liquid, and warm water to Barbie's flowing locks. Don't blow up her hair as it may melt. If she gets Bob Marley dreadlocks, soak them in hair conditioner overnight, then untangle the knots gently with a fine-toothed comb to the tune of No Woman, No Cry. Dry the doll off with a towel and avoid rubbing the hair; instead, simply squeeze the excess water from it.

If you think your Barbie doll is far from having the shiny, flawless skin, you can easily clean it with a citrus-based household cleaner and a cotton ball. For major problem areas like pesky ink stains, you can clear it up with benzoyl peroxide. Dab it on and let your posh, plastic friend sunbathe in a window for a day, making sure the unaffected areas are covered.

Vinyl Dolls

Have you been over-caressing and manhandling your Funko pop vinyl? If your vinyl dolls get played with very often, our hands' natural oils may cause dirt and debris to stick. If you have a little kid around, he might be guilty of tattooing your beloved Star Wars vinyl with a Sharpie. All these cause dread to doll aficionados! Fortunately, vinyl is one of the easiest materials to clean and restore.

For the most part, you are going to deal with a lot of skin issues. Got a grungy-looking doll that's spattered with grime? You can clean the skin up with baby wipes. Do it carefully as using too much elbow grease can ruin your doll's painting. For tough looking stains and smudges, you can use a damp washcloth and gently apply a drop of dishwashing liquid or all purpose household cleaner. Gently wipe the problem areas so as not damage your vinyl doll's skin.

Hard to reach areas like nostrils, ears, and in between the fingers and toes can be cleaned with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a bit of soapy water. If this doesn't work, coating the brush with a bit of baking soda can do the trick! Another cleaning tool that's sure to save your beloved vinyl doll is the ever-reliable whitening toothpaste. Apply it directly to the tarnished area of the doll's skin, and gently rub away the stain using a wet cloth that has been dipped in warm water.

Just like your action figure collection, you can be a superhero to your toys, too. While bringing them back to their good-as-new look is not all peaches, the satisfaction you get after the cleaning process is priceless, especially if your toy has been with you growing up.


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