When it comes to cleansing the hair, soak the wig in a mild shampoo and cold water mixture. A few drops of shampoo in a pint of water is generally sufficient. Let it soak for 10-15
minutes then rinse the shampoo out of the hair by running cool water through the wig base and letting it run down the hair. It is important that at NO TIME do you ever “massage” the wig or attempt to lather the hair.
Doing so will only cause knotting and matting of the hair.
Follow the shampoo bath with another cool water soak in cool water with a few drops of vinegar in it. This will make the hair shiny. After letting the hair soak for 5 minutes in the
vinegar bath, remove the wig carefully and lay it on a clean, thirsty towel and spread the hair carefully out into a circular fan-shape, and press with another towel to remove as much moisture as you can manage. Once
you’ve removed as much moisture as you can, move the wig to a third towel and allow it to dry in a warm place.
Once dry, you can re-glue the wig to the doll’s head. If the doll wig has stretched, feel free to carefully stitch the wig base to tighten the fit. If the wig has shrunk, look for
threads in the base that can be cut to loosen the fit a little. Be careful not to cut into the hair, as this could result in gaps in the look when the hair is back onto the doll.
The act of cleaning synthetic doll hair has only one extra step if the doll in question has its hair attached to a wig base. In this case, you carefully remove the wig from the doll,
then proceed to cleaning.
To clean the doll wig or rooted synthetic hair, you will want to use an all-purpose household cleaner, or a weak solution of ammonia and water. This is recommended over shampoo because
shampoo would tend to make the hair “fluff up” and become hard to manage. Work the cleanser through the hair with your fingers, generating a light suds, and then rinse the hair thoroughly.
When the hair is clean, you want to detangle the hair using a lightweight conditioner or a small amount of liquid fabric softener, then a second rinse. At this point you need a metal
tined brush such as a pet-hair brush since these brushes will be less destructive to the wig base. As usual, work from the ends of the hair to the wig base (or doll’s head), until all of the tangles are removed. You never
want to use a brush that has been used on human hair since the oils in a human’s hair would be passed to the synthetic hair and only serve to accumulate dirt faster.
Blot the hair with a clean dry towel, in order to remove excess moisture, and allow the hair to dry completely by laying the wig or doll on a clean dry towel until all the moisture
evaporates. Once the wig is dry, you can reattach it using glue.
Since yarn hair is usually glued to a plastic doll’s head, or stitched to a fabric doll head, you can clean it by simply sipping the hair into a solution of “hand-wash” laundry
product or stain pre-treater with water. Gently massage the hair with the fingers and rinse the hair carefully. Be doubly careful when dealing with fabric-type dolls that don’t use synthetic fiberfill inside.
Highly-absorbent fibers like cotton filling can retain moisture long enough to breed mildew. The best method is to open a seam if possible and remove the filling before washing the
hair, or do your best to keep the doll inverted and avoid allowing the head itself to be dipped into the cleaning solution.
Pat the hair to dry it using a clean, soft towel, and allow the hair to finish drying in a warm, dry place. Once the hair is dry, you can re-stuff the head of your fabric doll if
needed, and then fluff the hair of either type of doll using your fingers. You should NEVER attempt to brush yarn hair, as the fibers of the yarn can unravel and the doll will look tattered.