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Doll Cleaning Tips
Doll Hair Care

doll hair
Rooted doll hair and wig tips. Cleaning, styling, conditioning, curling and more.

I am often asked how I wash and set the dolls hair. This is my favorite part of dolly cleaning and I find it very relaxing and rewarding. It can take time, practice and patience but can be allot of fun too.

As for styling that is something that is a matter of taste and takes a little practice. Having old doll catalogs and pictures are a great reference when wanting to capture the original look.

Sometimes hair cannot be saved and for those dolls removing the hair and adding a wig is a GREAT solution.


** Cleaner
** A Good Brush, Combs and Picks
** Child Detangler
** Son of A Gun (spray vinyl protectant - can be found in the Automotive section)
** Bobby Pins
** Rollers
** Latex Bands
** Hair Scissors
** Curling Iron

** Knee High Nylon Stockings ~ For making homemade wig caps and flattening Hair

Cleaning Doll Hair

For several years I cleaned my dolls hair with Windex, 409 or Fantastic. Any of these these products work fine and will do the job but if you want really SUPER clean doll hair I highly recommend our doll & wig cleaner. It is the BEST and the only thing I use now...

These methods can be used on rooted hair, doll wigs, synthtic hair and human hair. I have never tried them on mohair so can not recommend.

First wet dolls hair with warm water. Add cleaner to hair and gently work through the hair. Rinse in warm water and repeat if neccessary. Blot dry with towel.

If washing a glued on wig then be carful not to saturate too much as it may loosen the wig. You may want to let dry for a day before styling. If the wig does loosen around the edges let dry and add some wig glue to secure again.


While hair is still wet I spray in a Child detangler. I prefer the detangler but you can also use any liquid fabric softner. I use a comb or bush and work though the hair. ** If the hair is brittle skip the brushing and go straight to conditioning.

I use a product called "Son of a Gun" which is a vinyl spray protectant that can be found in the Automotive section of any store. I swear by this stuff and it can also be used on the body after cleaning.

You are now ready to style or can let dry and style at another time.

If the dolls hair is really dry, frizzy or brittle I saturate the hair with the Son of a Gun and put a plastic bag over the head. Put a rubber band over the head and around the neck to keep moist and secure. Let set for a day or two. Take the bag off and let dry. Once dry, rinse in hot water and repeat the process if neccessary.

I find that patience is a must for doll hair. The more patient you are the better the dolls hair will turn out.


Is your dolly having a really bad hair day with hair sticking out everywhere and you can't seem to tame it down ??

This is a little trick I found that works great. After the hair is washed, conditioned, brushed but still wet put a nylon stocking over the head and leave on for a couple days. Knee highs work best and come in many colors. ** Knee high nylons also make GREAT wig cape. The finished edge of the stocking will be your cap opening. Tie a knot several inches above the this at desired length. Then cut above the knot ... put over dolly's head and you have a wig cap...

This is very helpful when you are rewigging a wintage doll who has short hair and you do not want to cut the hair it. Also helps if the wig color is different the original hair stubbles left.



For most hair styles I use vintage metal rollers. I have a variety of sizes from teeny tiny to larger ones. You can also use small perm rods or small curlers. For really small hair some girls use straws or toothpicks to roll.

Some people also like to use the papers whne rolling the hair. I have never used them but it may helps the ends to roll better.

I like to study pictures of vintage doll hair in original styles but I also take into concideration the type of doll hair, length and other factors.

... After the dolls hair has been set in curlers you can start checking the curl by removing a curler. Somes doll hair will set really quick, and others will need several hours or even a day. It is best to check occasionally.

If the hair is still wet after removing the curlers let completely dry before styling. You may also want to put on a hair net to keep the curls from weighing down.


This methods works best on the better quality dolls with Saran hair. After you have the dolls hair in rollers heat some water to near boiling. Then pour over the dolls hair.

Some prefer to plunge the hair in cold ... I do not but instead let the dolls head rest over the sink and drain for a few minutes. I then blot dry with a towel and lay the doll down on the towel. After about 15 minutes I remove a curler and follow the same instructions as above ...

WARNING: ** Please note that the boiling water is not recommend for all doll hair. I find the cheaper knock off dolls hair can frizz badly with this method.

I use this method on almost ALL my Ideal Revlon and American Character Toni/SSS dolls.

** I Do NOT use this method on HORSMAN dolls. Horsman doll hair will curl very nicely without this treatment.

** Do NOT use this on Crissy doll base hair... you can use it on the tails but I had a disaster using it on the a Crissy's base hair (not a pretty site).

I DO use this on the Crissy tails "WITH or WITHOUT curlers.


I do not recommend this method for all doll hair. You may want to experiment on a small section first. I have found it can do wonders for restoring certain hair (especially straight hair).

While the dolls hair is wet spray in the "Son of A Gun" but do NOT rinse.

I take a small rod curling iron on the LOWEST setting and start working in sections. Place iron on the hair( like you would if curling your own hair) and gently pull down. This method can take some time but the results can be amazing !! This method works best on strait hair or restoring frizzy hair.

Well this is a start !! I have many other tips for doll hair care and will be adding them soon :o)