Staining! Discoloration! Stickiness!
These are dreaded occurrences no collector wants to see on their doll.
Yet, it seems inevitable with PVC dolls.
Is there anything we can do to prevent it from happening
Is there anything we can do to remove it when it happens?
The Definitive Book on the Care and Preservation of Vinyl Dolls and Action Figures written by chemist, Nicholas J. Hill, addresses these questions and several more.
The book is over 200 pages of helpful information.
It covers everything from the history of plastic, the threats to vinyl dolls and steps on how to repair, protect & preserve vinyl dolls.
There’s also image of damaged dolls & their miraculous transformation back to beauty.
Here Are The 5 Things I Didn’t Know About Vinyl Dolls
1. There’s a reason why vinyl dolls stain. It’s because of Plasticizer, a component that makes up vinyl. It absorbs color and gives our plastic friends their beautiful hue.
But plasticizer also adsorbs the markings left by inks, dyes, markers, etc turning them into stains on our dolls.
These stains can spread because plasticizer moves throughout vinyl.
So a stain can appear in one spot and spread over time if it’s not taken care of (scary, right).
Takeaway: Plasticizer is a friend and a foe
2. Ultraviolet (UV) light is not only bad for you but for your dolls too. I’ve always heard how I need to keep my dolls away from the sun to prevent them from “yellowing” or changing color.
I was clueless on why this occurrence happens when plastic dolls play in the sun.
But I’m happy to say that I am no longer clueless.
There’s a scientific reason why plastic changes when exposed to UV light, indoors or outdoors.
It’s like what happens to human skin when it’s overexposed to UV light.
The skin become irritated/damaged and may lead to other serious issues.
When dolls are sun-exposed, the UV light & energy weakens the pigment (color) causing it to fade.
And once that happens, there’s no way to restore the doll’s original color.
Takeaway: Keep dolls out of the sun
3. Mildew and fungi love vinyl dolls. Love is a beautiful thing but when it’s the love microorganisms have for vinyl dolls, it’s not so lovely.
Microbes love carbon, nitrogen and oxygen and these elements are also found in vinyl.
So it’s only natural that microbes find our plastic pals so attractive.
Dolls are like a huge buffet for them (yuck!)
So if your doll smells moldy, her skin looks sticky/sweaty or if there’s discoloration . . . you may have microorganism feasting on your doll.
Takeaway: Dolls do not love microorganisms but microorganisms love dolls
4. Solvents that are toxic for humans are also harmful to dolls. Toxins like acetone, alcohol, lighter fluid are damaging to our plastic friends.
These solutions, extract plasticizer from vinyl. This causes the structure of the doll to weaken & deteriorate.
This section of the book was very eye-opening. Especially since Mr. Hill’s advice is the opposite from what I’ve read.
Some individuals with good intentions, usually offer “harmful” solvents like: bleach, toothpaste, or OXY-10 as a solution to treat stains.
And though the advice may work, it comes at a cost. And that cost is your doll slowly crumbling away.
Takeaway: Be careful with what treatments you apply to your dolls. The wrong treatment can lead to disastrous results.
And use common sense (Mr. Hill repeats this throughout the book). If a solvent is toxic to humans it is harmful to your doll
5. “Always test first then treat.” Every doll in your collection is different even if they’re made by the same company.
According to Mr. Hill, companies will change their vinyl formula within the same year.
So a successful treatment you apply to one doll may not have the same results for another doll.
That’s why it important to test a small spot on the doll before applying a treatment to the entire affected area.
Takeaway: Test then Treat
From the Vinyl Dolls book I shared why:
- dolls stain
- UV light isn’t good for dolls
- microorganisms love vinyl dolls
- you need to say NO to solvents and
- it’s important to test then treat
But there’s so much more in this book like how to repair & restore dolls.
And how to preserve & store dolls so you can enjoy them for many years.
If you geek out over chemistry then you’ll really enjoy this book.
But if chemistry isn’t your thing, that’s okay. Because Mr. Hill does a good job at explaining the topics so that even non-chemist can understand it (though there were a few sections that were a bit challenging for me to grasp).
This is one book I recommend every collector have in their dolly library so it’s within reach for insight and solutions to vinyl problems.
Yes, the book will take a bit out of your dolly fund (it took me several months to convince myself to buy it) but I have no regrets.
Okay, maybe just one . . . . I regret that I waited so long to add it to my library 😉
What issues (stain, mildew, etc) have you experienced on your dolls? Let us know in the comment box below.
Visit here to buy The Definitive Book on the Care and Preservation of Vinyl Dolls and Action Figure from Twin Pines of Maine LLC.