The Muppet Collectibles Hospital
Check the washing instructions on the label. If there is no label, do not immerse in water. Immersion can cause clumping and shifting of the filling. Use a piece of damp, clean, white terry cloth to blot at spots. If no color rubs off onto the white cloth, a little more water can be used.
If the item safely can be immersed, a mild shampoo is a good choice. Choose something without excess perfume, colors or conditioners. Tresemme has been useful.
Simple Green cleaner works well for removing stubborn spots. Always test in an inconspicious area for color fading. Simple Green can remove color on painted plastic items. Again, test first and follow directions on the manufacturer container.
If an item is overly saturated and wet for more than 1 or 2 days, it can mildew. Set the plush item on a clean towel to dry in a 70F room. Do not dry in direct sunlight. This can cause fading.
Never put plush in a dryer, not even inside a pillowcase! The heat and tumbling action can ruin foam, shift the stuffing, scratch the eyes and melt plastic parts.
Glazed ceramic items can be washed by hand with lukewarm 80F water. Be sure there are no unglazed areas, or cracks. A mild shampoo is good for cleaning ceramics. Place a clean terry cloth towel in the bottom of the sink to cushion the item. Do not put in the dishwasher.
If it is not safe to wash the item, it can be wiped with a clean, damp white cloth, and gently rubbed dry.
A camel hair artist brush is useful for removing dust from crevices, if you do not want to get water on your ceramic item.
Porcelain (unglazed ceramic)
Porcelain items should NOT be immersed in water. It is porous. Do not put in the dishwasher.
They can be wiped with a clean, barely damp white cloth, and gently rubbed dry.
A camel hair artist brush is useful for removing dust from crevices.
Examples of porcelain Muppet items are: some Sigma ornaments, Enesco figurines and dolls.
If there are no decals, paper, stickers or other non-washable items on the toys, these can be washed in a mild solution of shampoo, or plain water. Rinse thoroughly, and dry on a clean, white towel.
Simple Green is useful for removing some spots, but it can remove surface paint from plastics.
The worst enemy of metal toys is humidity, which causes rust. Store items in a dry location. If items are damaged, seek professional advice.
Store paper items in a dry location, with acid free, white tissue paper between items. Acid free boxes are available from museum and restoration supply services. Photos and posters should be double matted in acid free matts, to prevent pictures from touching the glass. Humidity between the photo and the glass can cause the picture to stick to the glass.
Many miscellaneous category items were produced: fragile ornaments, costume jewelry, music boxes, electronics, records, telephones, and wind-up toys.
None of these should be cleaned by a beginner. Definitely keep water away from them! A small camel hair artist brush is useful for removing dust. A canister of compressed air works well for dusting telephones, music boxes and other delicate items.
Smoke or mildew smells
Wrap the object in plain white, acid free tissue paper. Change the tissue paper frequently, as the smells go into the tissue paper. This may take several changes during a one week time period. This works well for unwashable plush, fabric, and ceramics. For paper items, place sheets of plain white, acid free paper between the pages of a book or magazine. Change paper frequently.
If the object can be immersed safely in water, 1 Tablespoon of borax (not Boraxo the hand cleaner), OR 1 Tablespoon of baking soda can be added to 1 gallon of lukewarm 80F water. Soak for 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly in clean water. Blot out excess water with a clean white towel. Set the item on a dry towel in a 70F room to air dry.
Disclaimer: These tips are for suggestions only. The Muppets Site! does not repair, or restore items via mail order. Please proceed on any project with caution. If you have any doubts, please take your item to a professional restoration service.
c. 2000 The Muppets Site! Permission to reprint not granted without written permission from copyright holder. Tresemme, Simple Green and Boraxo are registered trademarks of their respective companies. The Muppets Site! does not represent these companies, nor is this an endorsement for their products.