Body / Doll Care and Repairs

How to Remove Stains from your Vinyl Doll

A few weeks ago Michelle, and I headed into the city to pick up a secondhand Taryn Maplelea doll.  We were excited to get her, but when I got her home I discovered she had quite a stain on her forehead.

taryn stain_Fotor

As I bought this doll from a girl in her late teens and this Taryn is a 2007-7 generation, I assumed this was a fairly old stain.  Good luck removing it, right?

So I turned to my friends at The Savage Dolls for help.  I tried the baking soda, and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser they recommended, no luck.  So my next step was the acne medication.       I headed to Walmart to see what they had.  The Savage Dolls recommend acne medication with at least 10% benzoyl peroxide, but all I could find was this:


I spoke to the pharmacist at the counter and asked about higher concentration of benzoyl peroxide.  She informed me that in order to purchase a concentration of benzoyl peroxide higher than 5% a prescription was required.  I briefly considered taking Taryn to the walk-in clinic and stating our case, however I chose the more sane option of trying the 5% benzoyl peroxide.

So I took the Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 5 home, and applied it quite liberally to the affected area.

spot remove

I then placed Taryn in my west facing window for about a week.  I did check on her forehead from time to time, but I was never really pleased with the result.  So I just kept reapplying the acne medication and putting her back in the window.  (Can you believe in all that time, none of my neighbours asked what was up with the doll?)

Then after that week was up…


…I got this amazing result!  No trace whatsoever of the stain, that had probably been there for years!

Thank you so much Savage Dolls!

UPDATE:  Look at what I found on!

Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10!!!  So you can get 10% benzoyl peroxide acne medication in Canada without a prescription!  The price isn’t too bad either.  I will be ordering some right away!

Since I wrote this article I have fixed several dolls using both 5% and 10% benzoyl peroxide, and I haven’t seen much difference in the results.  I honestly wouldn’t even say that one works faster than the other, due to the higher price of the 10%, not to mention the inconvenience of having to import it to Canada, I am going to stick with the 5%.

I have also come to learn that there is no need to cover the acne cream site with plastic wrap.  The acne cream works wet or dry… it’s pretty amazing stuff!  Here are couple before, and after photos of the work I have done with 5% benzoyl peroxide:


These are the arms of my Newberry Katie doll, these stains were awful and did take months to fade, but it worked!



This is my American Girl doll Truly Me #40.  Her ears were quite stained but I got these great results in 10 days with the 5% benzoyl peroxide.

This will work on any brand of modern vinyl doll, just be careful with your antiques!

Questions?  Comment below!


69 thoughts on “How to Remove Stains from your Vinyl Doll

  1. And she has no zits now either! LOL I need to get some of this and see if it will take the mark off Cassandra’s hand, it’s been there since I got her. It’s small so it’s not noticeable, but it would be nice to be rid of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey thanks for mentioning us on your blog! I got some amazing results using this method. A Bitty Baby doll had some pretty significant marker ink on her forehead and it worked! Glad to know the 5% solution works too. I will add a note to our care & cleaning post for those who can’t get a 10% solution.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for this! I followed your link and ordered some of the 10% formula right away. It just came, and now my poor Kit who came used and needing TLC with a couple of pen dots on her face is out in the sun wrapped up in saran wrap and towels. 🙂 Crossing my fingers!! I had to tighten her legs up too. Soon she will be good as new!! I hope this works!

    ginnie /

    Liked by 1 person

  4. EEEE!!!! It’s already working!!! 🙂 Just a few more hours! I definitely recommend using the 10% and the saran wrap works to keep the cream from drying out. 🙂 I will post the final results on my blog!

    ginnie /

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Just took a black DreamWorld Collecions hat off of my American Girl doll to discover a black stain on her forehead, too. I’m out and about today and will be picking up that acne medication to try and remove the stain ASAP as I have a stopmotion production including her that needs to be done by a certain date. 😬 Thank you so much for posting this! You guys were the first site I thought of when looking for how to remove stains from vinyl dolls. May I ask a few questions? Did you apply a large amount of the medication, leave your doll in the sun, and then the medication seeped in and you applied more as the day went on or about once every day? Do you suggest wrapping her in Saran Wrap? Did The Savage Dolls suggest you leave her in the window for a week, or was that just when you noticed the stain was gone since you only used the 5%? And will leaving the doll in the sunny window fade her cloth body or hair at all? I’ll be traveling the week of Valentine’s Day and am considering leaving my doll in the window with the medication on while I’m gone, but if I need to apply more every day, that might not work.

    Thank you so much again for posting this! Can’t wait to pick up the medication today and remove that awful stain!

    Liked by 1 person

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  11. My sister found a Disney Animator’s doll at a thrift store who has a pretty bad stain all around her head and neck from a red hair ribbon. Will this work on her?


    -Clara ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. Such great advice you offer. You had me laughing out loud, literally, when you hinted at taking the doll to the doctor’s office for a prescription. You have a great writing style and humour.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thank you so much! I have had to take a break from writing the past couple of months to get things in my house in order, but you are making want to get back to it.


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