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For many people, dolls are not just playthings for girls.  They are items of beauty and historical value, and they are often indicators of the mores of the times when they were made.  Any doll can become a collectible doll, whether it is a French bisque doll, a china doll, a cloth doll, a vintage Barbie or even a modern Bratz doll, as long as it is valued and loved.

If you collect dolls and if you really love your collectible dolls, you should show your love for them by taking very good care of them.  For some people, their concept of caring for dolls involves storing them in a box and putting them away in an attic or in a basement and forgetting all about them.  However, careless handling of dolls can result in their damage and over time, the damage can become irreversible.

How then should you care for your collectible dolls?

1. Light.  Avoid exposing your collectible dolls to light, whether it is natural sunlight or fluorescent lighting.  Natural lighting causes cloth dolls to fade.  It also fades the color away from doll’s clothes.  In addition, the heat from natural lighting and fluorescent lighting can result in vinyl or plastic dolls from getting discolored.  If placing the doll in a bright and sunny room cannot be helped, at least put the doll in a corner where natural sunlight will not shine on it directly.  The same goes for fluorescent lighting on the doll.

2. Storage.  The best way to store your collectible dolls is to put them inside a closet with a glass display.  Such a closet will keep out most of the dirt and dust from your dolls, and it will also protect them from being damaged by pets or by bugs.

3. Dust.  If your collectible dolls are displayed in open cabinets or on table tops, make it a point to clean the dust from your dolls on a regular basis.  Letting the dust accumulate on your dolls can make them turn dark or yellow.  Also, accumulated dust can coat a doll like a thick skin that is hard to peel off.

4. Cigarette smoke.  Keep the area around your collectible dolls free from smoke.  Do not smoke near your dolls and do not let other people smoke near them as well.  It is not just because the smell of smoke can cling to the clothes of your doll and are hard to clean off.  It is also because the chemicals found in cigarette smoke can also cause a great deal of damage to your dolls.

5. Pets.  Get your collectible dolls as far away from your pets as possible.  Pets are adorable creatures, but they can sneak away with the head of one of your dolls or use the entire doll as a chew toy.  If your dolls are of any real value aside from the obvious sentimental value, keep them away from the reach of your pets to prevent them from being damaged.

6. Plastic containers.  Never store your collectible dolls in plastic containers.  Some plastic containers are waterproof and they do not let water in or out of them.  Storing your dolls away in an airtight plastic container can trap whatever moisture is left in your doll and keep it from evaporating.  Excess moisture can later develop into damaging molds that are very difficult, if not impossible, to clean.  If you do have to place your dolls in a plastic container, make sure it has holes where air can freely circulate through.

7. Bugs.  Aside from keeping your collectible dolls dust-free and mold-free, you also need to keep your dolls bug-free.  The cloth in a doll’s hair and costume can attract moths and carpet beetles.  The same can be said of the wood in wooden dolls.  Examine your dolls regularly for any sign of bug damage.

8. Temperature.  Extremes in heat and cold can compromise the integrity of the material from which your collectible doll is made of.  It can make the fibers of the fabric become brittle.  The plastic in dolls can become deformed in heat, while ceramic and papier mache dolls can crack.  The best temperature to store dolls in is room temperature, the temperature that you yourself are most comfortable in.

9. Chemicals.  You may expose your collectible dolls to chemicals, especially acidic chemicals, without you knowing.  The acid can come from the varnish of the wooden cabinet you have stored your dolls in or from the cardboard of your doll box.  To prevent chemical exposure on your dolls, line your storage cabinet or your doll box with acid-free paper before storing your dolls away.

Collectible dolls are precious and can prove to be very valuable later on if you keep them well.  Keeping your dolls well and preventing them from being damaged is simple enough to do, but it will make them last for the years to come.

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