Author Topic: Getting moldy/old smells out of dolls?  (Read 7686 times)

Offline Lilybet85

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Getting moldy/old smells out of dolls?
« on: October 14, 2011, 09:56:37 AM »
A few months ago I bought 60 dolls for $15. They belonged to this guys mother and he said they had been sitting the in basement for years. And BOY DO THEY SMELL IT! They have this really gross moldy smell to them. When I first bought them, I soaked them and washed the bodies and hair with warm water and antibacterial dishsoap, so I'm pretty sure they're clean (although their hair is still a huge mess, lol). But they still have this awful smell coming from them, not just the hair, but their bodies as well. Does anyone have tips as to how to get this smell out?
"I'm glad you've got an absolute definition of life in the universe, but perhaps the universe has got ideas of its own." The Doctor

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Offline security16

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Re: Getting moldy/old smells out of dolls?
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2011, 10:36:49 AM »
If you've got a large amount i suggest putting them in a big plastic box that you can seal up with an open box of bi carb soda for a few weeks to absorb the smell

Offline Cyndrome

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Re: Getting moldy/old smells out of dolls?
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2011, 02:51:07 PM »
Maybe a freshen up clothing spray? Bag of uncooked rice?

Offline Valkyrie

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Re: Getting moldy/old smells out of dolls?
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2011, 03:14:34 PM »
A few months ago I bought 60 dolls for $15. They belonged to this guys mother and he said they had been sitting the in basement for years. And BOY DO THEY SMELL IT! They have this really gross moldy smell to them. When I first bought them, I soaked them and washed the bodies and hair with warm water and antibacterial dishsoap, so I'm pretty sure they're clean (although their hair is still a huge mess, lol). But they still have this awful smell coming from them, not just the hair, but their bodies as well. Does anyone have tips as to how to get this smell out?

WELL! - there's this:
http://www.dolls-n-daggers.com/Dolls/Forum/index.php?topic=502.msg5133#msg5133

With 60 dolls with the same problem, you can do them in batches with different methods and let us know which one works best for you! :grin1:

You might have yourself a different problem altogether though... the thing about a 'mold' smell, is it's quite likely there IS mold.  Inside the head, inside the body cavity... it's very insidious stuff!

If *I* were you - I'd pop the heads (CAREFULLY!! - older dolls tend to get brittle around the neck nobs! - USE boiling water to soften the vinyl!!) and then soak body and head in a diluted bleach mix (what 1/2 cup bleach to gallon of water or so) for - say 30 minutes give or take.  Rinse, soap, rinse again - dry THOROUGHLY.  See if they still whiff - if they do, back to the deodorizing thread... - and only after they STOP smelling re-attach the heads.
That which does not kill me - has made a grave tactical error - Jerry Pournelle

Offline Lilybet85

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Re: Getting moldy/old smells out of dolls?
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2011, 04:00:14 PM »
A few months ago I bought 60 dolls for $15. They belonged to this guys mother and he said they had been sitting the in basement for years. And BOY DO THEY SMELL IT! They have this really gross moldy smell to them. When I first bought them, I soaked them and washed the bodies and hair with warm water and antibacterial dishsoap, so I'm pretty sure they're clean (although their hair is still a huge mess, lol). But they still have this awful smell coming from them, not just the hair, but their bodies as well. Does anyone have tips as to how to get this smell out?

WELL! - there's this:
http://www.dolls-n-daggers.com/Dolls/Forum/index.php?topic=502.msg5133#msg5133

With 60 dolls with the same problem, you can do them in batches with different methods and let us know which one works best for you! :grin1:

You might have yourself a different problem altogether though... the thing about a 'mold' smell, is it's quite likely there IS mold.  Inside the head, inside the body cavity... it's very insidious stuff!

If *I* were you - I'd pop the heads (CAREFULLY!! - older dolls tend to get brittle around the neck nobs! - USE boiling water to soften the vinyl!!) and then soak body and head in a diluted bleach mix (what 1/2 cup bleach to gallon of water or so) for - say 30 minutes give or take.  Rinse, soap, rinse again - dry THOROUGHLY.  See if they still whiff - if they do, back to the deodorizing thread... - and only after they STOP smelling re-attach the heads.


I knew I had seen a post on it and I couldn't find it! 

Oh dear. Okay, I'm going to try the bleach thing first then. They were quite dirty on the outside and I had a sneaky feeling they would be on the inside as well. I was hoping the soap was enough. The bleach won't ruin any of the paint or the hair?
"I'm glad you've got an absolute definition of life in the universe, but perhaps the universe has got ideas of its own." The Doctor

"It is possible to commit no mistake and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life." Captain Picard

Offline Valkyrie

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Re: Getting moldy/old smells out of dolls?
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2011, 06:44:31 PM »

I knew I had seen a post on it and I couldn't find it! 

Oh dear. Okay, I'm going to try the bleach thing first then. They were quite dirty on the outside and I had a sneaky feeling they would be on the inside as well. I was hoping the soap was enough. The bleach won't ruin any of the paint or the hair?

It's just like using bleach in your laundry... it's not GOOD for anything mind you - but diluted, limited soak time, and well washed and rinsed afterwards and everything should be fine - OH - wait - put some vinegar in the first rinse (after soap, before final rinse) just to make EXTREMELY sure.

The thing is... I don't know of anything else that will truly kill mold, that wouldn't be a great deal WORSE for your girls!

That which does not kill me - has made a grave tactical error - Jerry Pournelle

Offline Lilybet85

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Re: Getting moldy/old smells out of dolls?
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2011, 06:54:44 PM »

I knew I had seen a post on it and I couldn't find it! 

Oh dear. Okay, I'm going to try the bleach thing first then. They were quite dirty on the outside and I had a sneaky feeling they would be on the inside as well. I was hoping the soap was enough. The bleach won't ruin any of the paint or the hair?

It's just like using bleach in your laundry... it's not GOOD for anything mind you - but diluted, limited soak time, and well washed and rinsed afterwards and everything should be fine - OH - wait - put some vinegar in the first rinse (after soap, before final rinse) just to make EXTREMELY sure.

The thing is... I don't know of anything else that will truly kill mold, that wouldn't be a great deal WORSE for your girls!



Would you believe that I never used bleach in my laundry? I have... bad reactions... to bleach (fumes or whatever closes up  my lungs). Ususally hubby only handles it and that was to clean the toilet, lol. But I'll try it and see! Thanks Tanya! :pouncehug:
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"It is possible to commit no mistake and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life." Captain Picard


Cynthia

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Re: Getting moldy/old smells out of dolls?
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2011, 11:19:54 PM »
The smell might be the plastic or vinyl itself that is deteriorating, not anything that is on it. In that case, cleaning and treating with deodorizers will help, but never completely remove the odor from some of softer vinyls. 
I am very interested in the product that Maywong posted the link to. I have contacted them to ask if the product nuetralizes the odor of deteriorating vinyl since they never really said that. They only claimed nuetralizing mold, mildew & "storage" smell.  If they reply that it does, I will be giving it a try.

In the mean time, a few weeks ago I slighly modified Tanya's post about using coffee and put small containers of ground coffee inside the boxes the dolls are in and all around the doll room and that has worked best for keeping the odor out of the air and permiating the whole room and house.

So what kind of dolls are they?????????? Dying of curiousity now!!!!!!!!Dish!!

Offline Lilybet85

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Re: Getting moldy/old smells out of dolls?
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2011, 07:27:45 AM »
The smell might be the plastic or vinyl itself that is deteriorating, not anything that is on it. In that case, cleaning and treating with deodorizers will help, but never completely remove the odor from some of softer vinyls. 
I am very interested in the product that Maywong posted the link to. I have contacted them to ask if the product nuetralizes the odor of deteriorating vinyl since they never really said that. They only claimed nuetralizing mold, mildew & "storage" smell.  If they reply that it does, I will be giving it a try.

In the mean time, a few weeks ago I slighly modified Tanya's post about using coffee and put small containers of ground coffee inside the boxes the dolls are in and all around the doll room and that has worked best for keeping the odor out of the air and permiating the whole room and house.

So what kind of dolls are they?????????? Dying of curiousity now!!!!!!!!Dish!!

Lol, I wish I could say they were these amazing dolls, but sadly, they're not. A majority of them are Barbies from the 80's and 90's. I did get the Spice girl dolls and a Britney doll (which won't remain these since I don't like either of them, lol) as well as an Esmeralda and a Mulan doll (that are both in REALLY rough shape).

Last year I made a few Christmas tree toppers out of Barbies and got a lot of positive feedback, so I thought that these would be really good to use for that since they only cost about 25cents per doll. -- As long as I can get the nasty smell out!!
"I'm glad you've got an absolute definition of life in the universe, but perhaps the universe has got ideas of its own." The Doctor

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Offline Ms. Whovian

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Re: Getting moldy/old smells out of dolls?
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2011, 10:39:26 AM »
you could try charcoal in the bottom of a box layered with paper  and put the dolls in there. we did that for mildew and mold in dh mom's trailer when she would leave to go to florida 
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Cynthia

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Re: Getting moldy/old smells out of dolls?
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2011, 12:46:42 PM »

Last year I made a few Christmas tree toppers out of Barbies and got a lot of positive feedback, so I thought that these would be really good to use for that since they only cost about 25cents per doll. -- As long as I can get the nasty smell out!!

Then I suggest you toss the legs NOW of the ones you know you want to use as toppers - legs is where the smell tends to be the very worse! :vamp: Then you also have less parts to continue trying to save.

Offline Cyndrome

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Re: Getting moldy/old smells out of dolls?
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2011, 02:11:23 PM »
Maybe alcohol? Oh and maybe painting them, or papiermaché-ing them (if you use them for toppers).

Cynthia

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Re: Getting moldy/old smells out of dolls?
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2011, 09:16:36 PM »
I never got a reply to my email to the company that makes the Stink Out product for dolls - which is always good indication not to pursue.
In the mean time here is the best method I have used to clean years of grime and smell out of old thrift store dolls & clothes--- highly concentrated Oxyclean! A few years back I searched the internet for solutions to get smoke smell out of a plastic dress form I bought and Oxyclean showed up the most often with rave results for eliminating smoke, mildew and other smells from plastic toys, lawn chairs---- anything that could be soaked for a long period of time.  (A paste was made for items too big to soak.)  So this is what I do: This method is rough on hair, so don't soak good hairdos!!. Fill the bathtub or a plastic bin with enough hot water for the dolls to be submerged, add a quarter cup or more of laundry detergent - preferrably one with enzyme action like Era or Wisk, but definatly not one with bleach, and about 20 scoops (or more) of the Oxyclean. You just have to judge how much according to how many dolls you are cleaning. I am basing this on at least one layer of dolls in a bathtub with about 4 inches of water. This solution will not hurt the dolls, but it will eat the metalic paint off of plastic earrings and crowns. I use a generic Oxy product called Sun Oxygen Cleaner because it is cheaper and has more fragrance added. I soak the dolls for several hours or overnight. Most of the dolls come sparkly clean this way without me even having to scrub them.
 If the dolls are particularly stinky, I pour  a cup of Febrease in the water about 30 minutes before I am ready to rinse & dry. Drain the tub and spray the dolls off with water from the shower head then fill the tub again to give them a good rinse and drain again. Now you have to make sure all the water is out of the insides of the dolls. I take the heads off of the ones that I can and dry them upside down. If heads have to stay on you have to squeeze the water out. I shake the hair to dry it some, then stand the dolls in boxes in the garage to dry. I turn them every few hours to check for any water accumulations. And of course make sure they are 100% dry before storing. I don't do anything with the hair at this time. When I am ready to fix up any of these dolls, I then soak the hair in fabric softener and rinse before combing and styling. 
   I have also put a couple of dolls that had badly stained sewn on costumes in that same soaking solution -clothes still on doll and all, swished them around a little, then rinsed and put on a stand with the costume fluffed out to dry.  The stains came out and the costumes looked great.  Again - no gaureentees ever so only do as a last resort and if it is okay if the costume gets ruined.

Offline Lilybet85

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Re: Getting moldy/old smells out of dolls?
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2011, 09:39:22 PM »
Cynthia, thanks for the tips! I actually got bleach to try Tanya's way because I'm afraid that there might be mold growing inside them and I want to kill it! If it doesn't get the smell out, I will definitely try your method! How bad is it for the hair? Does it just make it messy or does it actually damage it?
"I'm glad you've got an absolute definition of life in the universe, but perhaps the universe has got ideas of its own." The Doctor

"It is possible to commit no mistake and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life." Captain Picard