Restoring And Storing Your Vintage Strawberry Shortcake Dolls
Strawberry Shortcake dolls made back in the late 70's and 80's must be done properly. If you aren't storing your collection correctly, you will destroy the dolls. The plastic used to make these dolls is known to suffer from what is sometimes referred to as "black cancer."
What is black cancer?
This occurs when the plastic begins to break-down or grow mold. The body, as well as the head can become covered with tiny black specks or even large black spots. Once these spots begin to grow, the dolls around the "sick" doll can also become infected.
Can you remove the black spots?
In many cases, the spots are permanent and cannot be removed, but if you catch the problem early, before it spreads, you may be able to stop it from spreading, and possibly reverse the damage.
How to Undo the Damage
Remove all of the dolls clothing and place it in warm water with a small amount of vinegar. Be careful as you do this as the colors will bleed out of the clothing and stain each other, so separate the colors to prevent damage.
Inspect every inch of the dolls – lift the hair to check for spots on the scalp and on the back of the head. If you find spots, remove the dolls head and set it aside.
If the spots are present on the body, soak the body in a bowl of hot water with bleach mixed in with it – about 1/3 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water. This will kill the mold spores and prevent them from spreading.
The heads will take a little more attention as you don't want to fill the heads with water and make a difficult situation worse. Get a bottle nipple brush and apply a bit of peroxide gel to the end of it. Send it through the neck hole and try to scrub the inside of the dolls head paying special attention to the areas with the black spots.
Once the doll head is treated from the inside and the bodies have been cleaned and dried, cover any black spots with zit cream and set them out in the sun for a few days. Continue doing this for several days to see if the spots will lighten. In some cases, you will be able to undo the damage, but other times, the stains are set in and will not come out.
Store the Collection Properly
Dolls that have black cancer should never be stored in the same box as those that have not been affected. Place each doll in a plastic bag that has a hole or two poked into it. The bag will protect them from dust, while the hole allows moisture to escape.
Never store your collection in a basement or attic. You need somewhere that is climate-controlled and out of direct sunlight. If you don't have anywhere in your home, consider leasing a climate-controlled storage unit for this collection as well as any others that you have around your home that you want to remain in good condition. Go here for more information on storage.