Note: This article was written many years ago. There may be new, better products available now.
I have a great, vintage Barbie® doll in a red swimsuit and her original box, complete with stand. However, Barbie had green spots–stains in (not just on) the plastic–where her earrings used to be. It was a developing tragedy as the green spread a little more each year.
Then, I read that Extra Strength Clearasil will remove most of the green (but sometimes the skin dye, too) by leaching out the color. To the best of my knowledge, nothing will remove all of the green discoloration. The active ingredient is Clearasil’s organic peroxide.
The cleaning process can be slow, taking up to a month, sometimes longer. First, I scanned Barbie’s head so that I’d have a permanent record.
I changed the Clearasil every few hours, after each application had dried. I don’t know if this makes any difference. The most dramatic reduction of green appeared after the first application, in about two hours.
I’ve heard that the green may get worse before it gets better, as the green inside Barbie’s head is leached out, and becomes visible. We’ll see.
And, before you choose one approach to the ‘green ear’ problem, it’s not wise to mix treatments if one doesn’t work. (The plastic can turn brown.)
Because the Clearasil may leach out dyes as well, I was advised to apply the Clearasil with a toothpick or Q-Tip, just to the stain and avoiding any painted areas, or “just fine” skin-colored areas.
But remember, most doll restorers say that the green stains cannot be fully removed from most dolls.
Important: I accept no responsibility for results you may have, so please test the Clearasil on a not-important part of any stained doll (or other vinyl item) that you want to clean. This is strictly for items where the staining is so severe, you have nothing to lose, and safer choices haven’t worked.
Also, Twin Pines of Maine makes “Remove-Zit”, a product with organic peroxide that is intended specifically for treating plastics safely.
I would not consider selling this Barbie, and I’m delighted to be able to (mostly) restore her so that I can display and enjoy her!
Disclaimer: This information is provided as a guideline, not as specific advice for your dolls. The author assumes no responsibility for your repair & restoration efforts, and speaks only from personal experience, providing opinions about repairs.
If you have any questions, please consult a qualified doll hospital.
Related Links: (From the original article – links may not be current.)
- Special Tips for Restoration of Barbie Dolls (an About.com article)
- Tips from doll artists – restyling and customizing your Barbie dolls.
And, if you want to customize your Barbie–new hair, different makeup, rebend her arms, and more–there are the books on this subject, listed at right.
Remember that the BarbieTM name has been trademarked and is very protected by the Mattel company. Instead, use the phrase “fashion doll” when you’re searching for more information.
This website has no connection with the Mattel Corporation.
Advice about fashion dolls, including BarbieTM, is provided as personal opinion. When restoring valuable dolls, always consult a professional before attempting any repair.
The name “Barbie” is a registered trademark of the Mattel Corporation.
Let’s see… did I say enough about trademarks, Barbies and green ear to protect myself..? *LOL*