Dolls' hair can get tangled or dirty, both when playing with it and when it is kept in one place for a long time. Most of the time, dolls' hair can be washed and disentangled with fabric softener or baby shampoo. These products soften and detangle the hair. All you have to do is brush your doll's hair regularly to avoid this kind of problem later on. These methods work for most dolls, whether they are plastic or fabric. However, it is best to read the manufacturer's instructions before washing or detangling your doll's hair, to be sure it won't damage it.
Method 1 of 3: Use fabric softener
Step 1. Soak your doll's hair
For the best results, choose a good quality fabric softener. Pour a little into a cup or bowl. The amount of product needed depends on the length and thickness of your doll's hair. You should be able to soak all of your doll's hair.
- To avoid wasting fabric softener, pour in a small amount first, then add enough to completely cover your doll's hair.
- Place the doll's head in the container. Work the fabric softener into your doll's hair by massaging her hair with your fingers until it is fully coated.
- Set the doll aside, where it will not be disturbed. Let it soak in the fabric softener for at least an hour. If the doll's hair is particularly tangled, you can optionally leave it to soak overnight.
Step 2. Brush your doll's hair
Brush the doll's hair without rinsing the fabric softener. After letting the doll's hair soak long enough, brush it with fabric softener, which will act as a detangler and help you smooth out any tangles.
- You can use a coarse-bristled brush, which is more suitable, but a thinner comb will probably be more effective.
- If you are working on a doll with very long hair, untangle larger knots with your fingers before using a brush.
Step 3. Rinse the hair
Once the hair is thoroughly disentangled, rinse off the fabric softener. You can simply place the doll's head under the cold water tap. Be sure to rinse out all the fabric softener, otherwise you may damage the doll's hair. Wring out the hair with your hand from time to time and check that there is no fabric softener left in the flowing water. Rinse until the water flowing from the hair is clear.
- Towel dry the doll's hair or dry it in the sun.
- Never dry doll hair with a blow dryer. They are fragile and may not withstand the heat.
Step 4. Use a tight-toothed comb
Once the hair is almost dry, comb it again, this time with a tight-toothed comb. This will straighten the doll's hair while removing small knots, but also perfect drying.
Method 2 of 3: Try baby shampoo
Step 1. Fill a bowl with lukewarm water
A doll's hair can be softened with baby shampoo. Choose a bowl or salad bowl large enough to hold the doll's hair. Use cold water if the doll has curly hair. Lukewarm or hot water will loosen the doll's curls.
Step 2. Add baby shampoo
Mix a quarter of a teaspoon of baby shampoo with the water in the bowl. Mix well, until the shampoo is completely dissolved.
Do not use standard shampoo, only baby shampoo. Baby shampoo is gentle enough to use on doll hair. If you don't have one, try to get some. Some shampoos can also be used in place of baby shampoo, such as shampoo for sensitive skin or for weakened hair
Step 3. Wash the doll's hair
Once the wash water is prepared, place the doll's hair in the bowl. Twirl the doll's hair in the bowl until it is completely wet. Then massage the hair with your fingertips to lather the shampoo.
Step 4. Soak the doll's hair in the bowl for 10 minutes
Once the hair is washed, let it soak for 10 minutes, to allow the shampoo to soften it. This will finish detangling the hair and leaving it soft and shiny. Leave the doll out of the way, in a place where it will not be disturbed.
Step 5. Rinse the hair three times
After soaking for 10 minutes, rinse the doll's hair. Empty the bowl, rinse it and fill it with clean water. Rinse the doll's hair in the bowl until the shampoo foams on the surface of the water. Empty and rinse the bowl again and repeat this process twice.
Make sure you've removed all traces of shampoo. If the water from the third rinse still feels soapy, rinse the doll's hair directly under the faucet. You could damage your doll's hair by leaving shampoo on it
Step 6. Lightly dry the hair
Do not brush hair while it is still wet, wait until it is just damp. You can hang the doll upside down to let her hair air dry for a while, or you can pat it dry with a towel. Do not use a hairdryer, you may damage your doll's hair.
Step 7. Brush the hair
Once the hair is partially dry, you can start brushing it. For a large doll, use a wig brush or other brush with the spikes apart.
- Gently brush the doll's hair to avoid breaking or damaging it.
- If your doll has long hair, untangle it with your fingers for the first time.
Method 3 of 3: Avoid the pitfalls
Step 1. Remove all accessories from the doll
Before washing her hair, remove all accessories from the doll. Dolls are sometimes worn with barrettes, scarves, ribbons or other accessories.
When a doll has been in a box for a long time, it can happen that small objects get trapped in her hair. If this is the case, take the time to check that nothing is in your doll's hair before cleaning it
Step 2. Regularly brush your doll's hair
To prevent your doll's hair from tangling, brush it regularly. When you or your child is done playing with your doll, brush her hair before putting her away.
Brush your doll's hair the same way you would brush your own. Start by untangling the ends then go up towards the roots to eliminate the knots
Step 3. Avoid over styling your doll
It can be fun to change your doll's hairstyle, but it can end up tangling and damaging her hair. Stick to simple hairstyles, like quilts or a ponytail, and forgo elaborate hairstyles that you may have seen on TV or in the movies. This way your doll's hair will remain supple and soft.
Step 4. Consult the manufacturer's instructions
If possible, read the manufacturer's instructions for maintaining the doll. Some dolls must be washed and styled using a particular technique. American Girl brand dolls, for example, should be professionally cleaned. If the doll's hair is damaged, do not try to wash it yourself, instead call the customer service number on the package.
Step 5. Take care if the doll has mechanical parts
If the doll whose hair you want to wash has mechanical parts, be careful to clean her hair. Water can damage this kind of doll. In this case, you can optionally remove the doll's head or hair before washing it, if possible. Another solution is to wrap the doll's body in cling film to protect her when washing her hair.