Porcelain dolls are meant to be enjoyed, usually by displaying them, though some are sturdy enough for play. However, there are also some good reasons why you may need to store your collection. Because porcelain dolls must be kept out of direct sunlight and away from fluorescent lights, self storage is a great place to keep them safe.
Porcelain dolls are delicate by nature, so read the following before storing them.
Dust your porcelain dolls regularly with a feather duster or a large, soft paint brush. Handle collectible dolls with white cotton gloves. Skin oil can stain the porcelain and even the clothing. You can then clean the porcelain bodies with a soft, dry cloth. If there are stains, it’s all right to use a tiny amount of a gentle cleaner mixed with plenty of water, and to dip the cloth into it then carefully work it over the stain.
For clothing, carefully strip the doll and make sure you can wash the clothes. One way to test this is putting a small drop of a gentle liquid laundry detergent on a hidden spot. After it dries, if you can no longer see it, then the clothing can be washed. Put the clothes in a laundry bag, add a little bit of the detergent to the washing machine, and run them through a cold, gentle wash. Do not run the clothes through the drier. Instead, hang them on a clothesline or place them on a towel to dry. Otherwise, the clothes may shrink.
Detangle hair with a detangling comb. You can also use a wire hair brush to style the hair. Do not brush curly doll hair, as this can ruin it. If the doll has a removable wig, you can wash the hair. Remove the wig, which may be glued to the head, very carefully. Next, wash a wig made of human hair in water with gentle detergent. If the wig is synthetic, use a bit of glass cleaner and water.
Gently clean the doll’s head as you would the body, with gentle detergent and water. Let everything dry thoroughly. Then, put the wig on the doll, and use Krazy Glue along the edges of the cap portion to secure the hair in place.
Once your dolls are clean and dry, you can get them packed for storage.
We highly recommend getting a unit with climate control. While in storage, two things can cause damage to your dolls: humidity and temperature. By that, we mean extremes in either. Moisture can damage the paint and cause mold to grow. Dryness can damage hair, fabrics, and more. Extremes in heat or cold can cause figures to crack. Climate control protects your dolls from these issues.
You’ll want to pack them safely. Don’t store clothed, porcelain dolls in airtight containers. It’s important that the cloth is able to breathe. Instead use sturdy, acid-free cardboard boxes. We recommend small sized storage boxes, which are sturdy and easy to cary. You should be able to pack two to four dolls per box, depending on the size of the doll.
Wrap each doll in plenty of acid-free packing paper to cushion and keep them from bumping into each other, then place them in their boxes. Label each box, and create an inventory. On a sheet of paper, write down which doll is in which box. Also, write “Fragile” on each box, especially if anyone else is going to handle them. Once this is done, you can put them away in a safe place at home, or bring them to your self storage unit.
With all these steps done properly, your dolls should remain in good condition while in storage, waiting for you to retrieve them when you’re ready.