Kids and stuffed animals; they go together like cheese and crackers. Your child’s favorite fluffy friend is a companion, confidante, and playmate. Keeping these treasures clean and cared for is something your child can get into quite easily with a little help from you.
Pookie the piglet or Snowflake the rabbit are going to get soiled and collect dust and your child should know that, just as he needs to take care of his body, his ani-pal’s body needs care as well. Showing him how to do this is not only instructive, but creates a deeper bond between child and stuffed animal.
A simple hand-held vacuum can be used regularly to remove surface dust, and even a young child can do this. Make sure to get into all of Snowflake’s crevices, to vacuum feet, and give the entire body a good overhaul. It might also be good to explain to your child that dust is bad for his pal as well as himself, and that removing dust is good for Pookie’s health. Children imbue their toys with human emotions and needs, and your child will want a happy and healthy stuffed animal.
Every few months it is a good idea to give your child’s stuffed animal a “bath” by putting it in the washing machine. Use cold water and a gentle cycle and follow the cleaning instructions on the animal. While you are doing this you will be teaching your child how to use the washing machine, as well as helping him understand that his ani-pal needs to be clean just as he does.
You can make these tasks fun events for your child, special times for him and his stuffed animal to share together. And they can be instructional as well. This is a time for teaching your child how to care for someone other than himself, and these times of growth are important and precious for everyone, even for you.
Most little girls love to play with their dolls. They imitate their mothers and things that they see portrayed in family TV shows. What little girl hasn’t fed her “dolly” real food and drink, and loved her almost to death? So there is bound to be a certain amount of wear and tear and the occasional stains and grime. Caring for your American Girl doll is not difficult, and if you perform regular maintenance, your doll will stay “healthy” for years.
Caring for the skin
The skin of your American Girl doll is made of a soft, porous vinyl, which will absorb stains, so follow these cleaning tips.
- Cover the doll’s eyes so they do not get wet and remember to protect the soft, fabric body and the hair as well as you can.
- With a damp, lukewarm cloth, wipe down the doll’s skin
- Make a paste with warm water and baking soda and gently apply the paste with your cloth, in a circular motion
- After you have removed the stain or grime use a clean damp cloth to wipe off the paste, and pat the skin dry with a towel.
- NEVER submerge the doll in water.
Caring for the hair
For styling, never use human hair care products such as mousses, shampoos or styling gels, and never use hot rollers, curling irons, hair straightening irons, or blow dryers. Just lightly mist the hair to make it more manageable for styling and, for best results, use our Doll Hairbrush and Sparkly Hair Pick. For a detailed how-to, refer to our earlier blog: How to Wash and Style Your American Girl Doll’s Hair.
Caring for clothes
Know beforehand if the clothes are color fast. As washing machines are not gentle for doll clothes, hand wash them in the sink using either a mild soap or equal parts water and vinegar. Don’t wring the clothes dry, but pat them dry with a towel and then lay them flat to finish drying. For wool clothing always hand wash in cold water and use a wool cleaner like Woolite or a mild baby shampoo.
Caring for your American Girl doll can be a fun activity for you and your child, and with just a little love and care your American Girl doll will last for years.