Kids & Parenting

How to take care of American Girl dolls

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Rebecca American Girl Doll
Keeping your American Girl doll like new is easy with these tips
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Know how to take care of American Girl dolls from hair to clothes to accessories

Dolls have been a favorite toy for generations, but since 1986 the American Girl Doll company has taken the doll to a new level. These beautiful dolls have introduced countless little girls to history and diverse cultures through the stories and accessories that go with each doll. These are not just playthings...they are heirlooms in the making.

Learning how to take care of American Girl dolls is important if you want your doll to last, and to be passed down to generations to come. Fortunately, the company offers the tools, advice and services you need to keep your dolls beautiful.

Taking care of an AG doll's hair

The hair is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to taking care of an American Girl doll.  Each historical doll comes with a hair style and color appropriate to her story. And even the modern My American Girl dolls each features beautiful and carefully styled hair.

But when little fingers take down braids, or sticky kisses lead to tangles, it can seem impossible to get the hair back to its original style.

Fear not!  The American Girl website offers a series of video tutorials covering everything from removing tangles (a light misting with water and a wire-bristle doll brush should do the trick) to re-doing original hairstyles like braids and buns.

The site also includes doll hair care tips like avoid plastic and natural bristle brushes and all combs to prevent the doll's hair from getting frizzy and dull.  They also caution that washing the doll's hair is not recommended, but if it is unavoidable, the staff at their Doll Hospital will walk you through the steps via telephone or e-mail.

Removing stains from an AG doll

Dolls are toys and sometimes that means things like crayons, markers or just this morning's grape juice can end up on the doll and cause a stain.

While some major stains might require the help of one of their on-call Doll Hospital specialists, many simple stains can be removed with a damp washcloth and a paste of baking soda and water. 

No matter how soiled a doll may become, never get water in a doll's eyes, and of course, never submerge an American Girl doll in water.

Caring for doll clothes and accessories

One of the most exciting things about American Girl dolls is the collection of accessories that goes with each doll. These clothes, shoes, furnishings and other items bring historic periods to life, or draw girls into their favorite activities or sports.

Taking care of these accessories is an important part of how to take care of American Girl dolls.  Using a doll clothing and accessory cabinet to organize and protect everything from shoes to the doll's own toys will ensure that everything is available when playtime begins.

When playtime is over

Of course, there will be times when an American Girl doll needs to sleep with her special little girl or attend a slumber party or head out for a long road trip. But when your dolls are spending time on a dresser or bookshelf, using a doll stand will help keep the doll's hair, clothing and even skin clean and neat.

A doll case is another option, especially if your doll is traveling or if your home is often dusty. Just make sure the case is large enough to keep the doll upright without being crowded or crushed.

Never store an American Girl doll in a toy box or under other toys and books.  And never leave your doll in a hot car or in direct sunlight.  The heat can permanently damage the doll's skin and hair, and can fade lovely clothes.

When it's time for the hospital

Sometimes an American Girl doll can become so damaged that at-home care isn't enough. When major cleaning or "surgery" are needed, admission to the official American Girl Hospital may be the only option.

Each doll admitted to the hospital will be returned well, and dressed in a hospital gown as a sign of her new health.

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