If you’ve determined that the cloth doll can withstand the power of a washing machine, toss her in on the gentle cycle and wash in hot water with laundry detergent. If the doll is discolored or extremely dirty, add 2 to 3 cups of distilled vinegar and sprinkle with baking soda. Wash the baby doll in a lingerie bag to keep her hair of yarn in place, or put the cloth doll in a pillowcase and tie securely. Make sure that you remove all clothing, hats and accessories for the doll before placing in a washing machine.
Baby dolls with no buttons or plastic pieces attached can be dried on low, or for safekeeping, hung to dry. Your daughter may even feel better about being able to see her fresh and clean cloth baby doll line-drying versus tossing and turning in a dryer. Eco-Doll warns that not all toys can survive repeated washings in good condition, so if your child’s doll is getting tattered and torn, seek alternatives to the washing machine and dryer.
Once a cloth doll emerges from the dryer or dries completely on a clothesline, you may need to restore her hair or body to appease your little one and maintain the cloth doll’s beauty. Repair loose seams, eyes or buttons with a needle and thread and, if needed, brush any exterior parts that need to be fluffed.
Rid the cloth doll of odors by placing her in a large ziplock plastic bag with baking soda, cornstarch or even baby powder. Shake the bag to coat the cloth doll and leave her in the zipped bag for a few hours so the powder absorbs any odors. Once the cloth doll is revitalized and smelling sweet, take her outside and brush lightly to remove excess powder. A vacuum-cleaner hose or handheld vacuum works well, too, to remove the powder.