Cleaning Strawberry Shortcake Dolls with VDS Damage
by N J Howell
It may seem strange to see an article on cleaning Strawberry Shortcake dolls on a health and wellness library. It is what it is. I love them. They don't make dolls with that kind of character and attention to detail these days. However, when I do come across a vintage SSC, more times than not it has VDS damage, which shows up as blackish spots on the arms and sometimes the face. What to do?
Cleaning VDS damage on SSC or other soft vinyl dolls:
Before I share how I clean my Strawberry Shortcake Dolls, I need to share a warning... You have to take your own risk in cleaning old dolls. The fact that these things have worked for me may not mean they will work on every doll. Start with an inconspicuous area or try it on a doll that is already damaged in some other way.
I went thru a lot of trial and error, trying to figure out the best way to clean the soft vinyl dolls in the Strawberry Shortcake line. I was afraid I might damage the painted on eyes, mouth, freckles and blush by using a regular cleaner so I tried several things before settling on a particular way. First, I tried a natural soap I use called neutralizer. It didn't harm the vinyl but it also didn't take away the old dust and dirt that is often on the faces of old dolls. Then, I tried baby wipes but they didn't work well either.
Finally, I found a product at the dollar store that works better than anything else. It's called Orange Goop Hand Cleaner. I tried it on my Huckleberry Pie doll because the hat was molded and I figured that would affect the price a bit anyway. When I wiped it off about 10 minutes later, the face was just simply shining. The doll looks like new. Unfortunately, it didn't work that well on my Strawberry Shortcake first edition flat hand doll and that may be due to it being older and, perhaps, a different type of vinyl. It did take some of the staining off her too, but not all.
Stopping VDS damage I have several dolls with VDS damage and I've read that it can't be cured but I beg to differ. There is no way I've found that will undo the damage once it's done but bathing the dolls in colloidal silver (naturally antifungal) should stop it from getting worse. I have no proof of that but I believe it, based on what I know about silver as a wellness counselor.
Disclaimer: The info on cleaning soft vinyl dolls on this page is not presented as professional advice. If you have a very valuable doll, always take it to a doll expert for cleaning advice.