There are many Cabbage
Patch collector sites that give information into every aspect
of cleaning, restoring and even giving new heads of hair (re
rooting) for these dollies. The hints and tips shown here are
not aimed at expert CPK restorers who know all the tricks of
the trade. These cleaning suggestions are aimed at people, who
are trying to restore and clean up a Cabbage Patch Kid for the
first time, either for personal enjoyment, or before passing
the doll on to a child.
I enjoy cleaning up the latest mass market arrivals by hand
rather than putting them into a washing machine. The washing
machine has a role to play but with the smaller vinyl head CPK's
I prefer to do the main job of work by hand. This is completely
opposite to the large, all cloth soft sculpture Cabbage Patch
XR Originals where the doll absorbs much more water and is really
heavy to handle so jeopardising the integrity of the fibre fill
to a much greater extent.
Cleaning Your New Arrival
Remove the head from the
cloth body by snipping the plastic tie or cutting the cloth
tie (as in the case of a Jesmar) The cutie shown in the pictures
is a Jesmar who at some time in her life has had some alterations
- maybe a 'body swap' but whoever did the work has fixed her
head back with a plastic tie rather than a cord. Separating
the two sections of the doll means you can pop the body into
a 40 degree wash in the machine after getting most of the dirt
out by hand. Add some fabric conditioner to last last rinse
so your new arrival smells fresh and delicate after her bath.
Add a little bio washing
powder to hand warm water. Immerse the body of the doll and
let it soak for 10 minutes or so. Next gently squeeze the doll
all over to make sure you've got all the fibre fill cleaned
through. Rub any stubborn stains or dirty areas with a soft
toothbrush or a nail brush. When the basic clean is completed,
thread some fine string or strong yarn back through the neck
opening, (a large eyed darning needle is ideal for this job)
pull gently to close the opening and secure. This ensures the
fibre fill will not come out during the machine wash. The body
of the doll is now ready to go into the washing machine. Once
spun, with all water removed, you can either dry the doll in
the tumbler on low heat, or place in an airing cupboard.
Before cleaning the head,
remove the plastic plug from the neck. Removing this plug allows
all the water to come out of the head during the washing process.
Then, using warm water with a mild liquid detergent (rather
than a bio washing powder) gently clean the hair making sure
to rinse thoroughly. Add a little fabric conditioner to the
final rinse of the doll's hair.
A little Ciff bathroom cleaner dabbed onto a soft damp cloth
and gently applied to the face will usually get most marks and
dirt off the vinyl face. (To remove fibre pen marks see suggestions
below) Clean the whole face rather than just dirty areas to
make sure you don't get a blotchy complexion. Rinse the vinyl
face really well with cold water.
Next wrap a thick duster or cloth of
some kind around the vinyl face and head and secure with an
elastic band or tie with string, anything will do as long as
it keeps the cloth secure around the face and head area. You
want to protect the vinyl from scuffs and damage during the
spin cycle. The little nose tips are particularly prone to getting
damaged. Keeping the yarn hair smoothed out and tidy helps to
keep it from fraying and makes restyling much easier.
Your doll's hair and face
should now be as clean as you can make it.
Once the yarn hair is properly dried you can trim off all the
fuzzies, snip off any
rogue strands and free up all those loops so they are untangled
and laying smoothly.
the doll's head to dry in an airing cupboard or outside
in the shade if the weather is good. Tumble drying a vinyl
faced doll can be a little risky.
Trimming off any fuzzy bits from the yarn hair once it is
dry will bring the hair up almost like new. Your patience
will be rewarded :)
happy rescued CPK - I've attached her head to her body using
a double strand of acrylic yarn.
She had a few broken stitches on the backs of her legs and on
one foot. Those stitches have been replaced using cotton as
close to the original thread used as I could find. It's a good
idea to take the doll with you when you want to match the thread.
Body fabric colours do vary slightly so one thread shade will
not suit all CPK's
All her fuzzies have been removed and a couple of ribbons addded
to make her feel pretty again.
Adding Extra Fibre Fill
Sometimes, when a doll has
been played with and cuddled a lot, the fibre fill in the upper
chest, neck area becomes very compressed leaving the doll's
head sagging because there isn't enough support to hold the
head in position.
The picture below, for example, shows a doll that has just been
washed and had her final rinse. You can clearly see how the
fibre fill has 'settled' leaving the dolls head unsupported
and the fibre fill in the neck/torso area limp and lumpy. A
full wash cycle would have made this infinitely worse. After
over thirty years of play or being in store, you can expect
some wear and tear signs but this particular problem is very
easy to solve.
Adding extra fibre fill to the neck and chest area will make
a vast difference to the whole posture of this little dolly.
Unless your Cabbage Patch Kid is a Jesmar (made in Spain) Kid,
then the head will be attached to the body with a plastic tie.
Jesmar Kids have the head attached by a cord.
To add extra fill, remove the head by either untying the thread
or carefully snipping through the plastic tie. Once that is
done and the head is removed you will be able to get in there
and sort out that fibre fill by either adding more, or pulling
out the existing fill and separating it, fluffing it out and
replacing it and adding extra if you feel it's needed. Make
sure you fill the cavity to just a little above the top of the
neck opening - take the filling right across the chest and over
toward each shoulder.
Once you are happy that the amount of filling is correct, replace
the head and attach either with a new plastic tie or just use
strong thread pulled tight enough to secure the head but with
enough give for the head to be able to turn.
To Remove Marker Pen or
Human Acne/pimple cream,
Oxy for example, smoothed on to any marker pen or ink on the
doll's cleaned face, and the doll then placed outside in direct
sunlight will gradually see those marks fade. You may need to
apply the cream a few times but it will work. Wipe off the old
application of cream with a damp cloth each time you want to
apply a new layer. In the absence of sunlight (the sunshine
speeds up the bleaching process) pop dolly into a warm airing
cupboard. You do need to be patient with this process it takes
time but it's worth the effort. Any pimple/spot cream that contains
benzoyl peroxide will do, it's the bleach in the cream that
does the job and like I say, it's effect is speeded up by direct
Restoring Cornsilk Hair
The easiest way to clean a Kid with cornsilk hair to to remove
the head and treat as two separate projects. The body can be
cleaned in the same way as a regular CPK as shown above. The
hair can now be dealt with as a special cleaning task without
fear of making greasy stains on the cloth body.
hair takes a little longer than just washing yarn hair.
Here's the way I tackle tangled or messy cornsilk hair.
1) Using hand warm
water - not too hot - wet the hair throughly. If hair is dirty
use a small amount of human hair shampoo for dry / damaged hair.
Make sure you rinse off till water runs clear.
2) Pat off excess water with an absorbent cloth or towel. Don't
be tempted to rub the fibres dry, it'll make things worse!
3) Using a good quality, thick and creamy human hair conditioner,
work the condition into the cornsilk fibres. You will feel the
fibres 'relaxing' as you add the conditioner.
Leave the conditioner on the hair. Do not rinse off.
4) Take a poly food bag or length of cling film and wrap it
around the dolls head. Try to wrap just the hair leaving the
face clear. Wipe off any soap or conditioner from the dolls
face leaving the poly wrapped aroung the head. Place the doll
to one side ( an airing cupboard where there is a gentle warmth
is ideal ) and leave her for a couple of days.
5) Next, using tepid water, rinse off all traces of conditioner,
making sure that you tease through the strands of hair with
your fingers as you rinse. Once again - pat hair dry (do not
rub dry otherwise you will be back where you started!) remove
as much excess water as you can with an absorbent cloth. The
hair should now be ready to restyle. If you have some small,
old fashioned rollers - the ones that don't need pins to hold
them, then they are perfect for putting curls back. Or if the
hair is a long style, gently smooth it out and tie into preferred
style. Pop dolly back into the airing cupboard so the hair can
dry off and set into the style you have created...