I was recently asked how to clean a porcelain doll’s hair. A porcelain doll requires special care. Porcelain is a ceramic that is made by heating the raw material (clay) to an extremely high temperature in an oven and are generally a collector’s item. The hair of a porcelain doll is a wig that is glued on and is made with a synthetic material or with real human hair. Hair cleaning is not complicated but it is a process that will require patience and gentle handling.
Here is what you will need to do:
For dolls with synthetic hair:
Using only your fingers remove the wig base from the doll. Using a tool will scratch the porcelain. Slowly remove the wig from your head. Take it slowly and carefully, sprinkling some water as needed. Once the wig is removed, wet it with cold water.
Once your hair is completely wet, use a “glass cleaner” which will remove the dirt. Gently work on the hair and rinse thoroughly.
Next, use a hair conditioner and work it gently into your hair. Rinse thoroughly.
A pet brush is a good choice as metal teeth are less likely to damage the base. A wide-toothed comb will work too.
Let your hair dry well.
You will need to paint on a thin layer of white glue and gently put the wig on the doll. Make sure it is in place and hold until you feel the glue go tacky. Remove any glue you can see. Set aside and let the glue solidify.
For wigs made of human hair:
Remove the wig in the same way; using your fingers and gently remove the wig. If you get to a stubborn spot, spray it with water and keep moving away from the head. Be patient and work slowly.
Once removed, use a toothpick or wide-toothed comb to work the hair. If you have a hard time combing your hair, you can use a detangling spray. Again, be nice.
Leave the wig to soak in detergent for about 10 minutes (preferably one for the delicates).
Remove the wig and set it aside on a towel.
With cool, cold water in the sink, add the cap filled with white vinegar and gently rinse the wig. The vinegar will help remove all the detergent.
Move the wig to a towel to dry it. Use a towel large enough that you can fold the sides / ends up and dry as much water as possible. Transfer the wig to a dry towel. I like to gently run a wide-toothed comb through the wig before hanging it out to dry completely.
Once the wig is completely dry, you will need to glue it back to the doll. Using the white glue, paint a little on the dolls’ head being careful to apply the glue only when the hair will cover it. Slide the wig over your head and hold it in place until you feel the glue go tacky. Remove any excess glue that may be visible. Set aside and let the glue dry thoroughly.
You won’t have to do this often, but good maintenance will ensure the longevity of your precious porcelain doll.