Die 70er Jahre roten Puppenhaus

(According to BK, the title says “The Red Dollhouse [from the 1970s]”. No wonder I ended up taking French in high school! This makes no sense to me at all!!!)

After gaping drooling taking inventory of my newest vintage acquirement (did I use that correctly? Hope so) – and after sleeping poorly during the night because I couldn’t stop coughing – I pretty much knew what I need to do in the next couple of days.

That’s right folks – das roten Puppenhaus (as BK suggested I use if I want to use German) is gonna get a cleaning. At least to give me an idea of the overall condition of the house. Plus, it felt like I was kicking up a cloud of dust when it was being unpacked last night.

To begin, I started with the furniture. And in true fashion….this village idiot forgot to take pictures until near the end. But hopefully the following paragraphs will give an idea of what I did.

Batch 1 cleaned and drying...

Batch 1 cleaned and drying…

For starters, I split up the furniture into two groups. Batch 01 consisted of furniture that was entirely made of plastic. Or in the case of the living room chairs – majority of the parts were plastic and the rest was something that I could salvage somewhat easily. The second group (Batch 02) were furniture that had something that I absolutely must not allow to get wet. An example would be the master bedroom’s white wardrobe – the front and sides are plastic, but the back uses some kind of particleboard. Which I was afraid would fall apart if it ever comes to contact to water….

With the furniture split into the groups, I began to work on Batch 01. In terms of materials, I tried to use just warm water, some dish washing soap, and paper towels (yay for my grocery store having a crazy sale on these – I loaded up big time). But the dust was so thick, it seemed like I was simply wiping the topmost layer and pressing the bottom layer into the plastic.

So as a solution, I mix a small amount of baking soda, dish soap, and warm water to make a paste. Then with some paper towels, cotton swaps, and a nail brush I got at the dollar store (these suckers are really useful), I started to rub a little bit of the paste. And it worked like charm!I was pretty happy to see the dust/grime get scrubbed off.

Once all the pieces were rubbed down, all (except the living room chairs) got dunked into a bowl of warm water to rinse the baking soda paste, and rubbed down with an old towel. Then I used one of my dish drying mats to set them all down to air dry.

In the case of the living room chairs….since I didn’t want to soak the fabric, I just used a wet paper towel and slowly wiped off the baking soda/soap paste off the plastic as much as possible. I ended up cutting up a new kitchen sponge and using that instead (was going through my paper towels quickly). 😦

I did notice that the drawers had a bit of a musty scent to them. I ended up tossing them back into a plastic bin, filling it up with warm water, and tossing a bunch of denture cleaning tablets in it. Once the fizziness disspiated, I rinsed the pieces and air-dried them once. No more funky smells.

(Got this tip from a coworker actually – but it was more on how to remove the food smells you notice after cleaning your tupperware containers…)


Woot! Nice and clean!

I did the same with Batch 02, except I didn’t soak/rinse anything under water. I had to painstakingly wipe each piece down of the cleaning paste before letting them air-dry.

Once the furniture was done and drying on top of my stove and counter, I turned my attention to the house itself. At first, I thought a quick wipe down with some damp paper towels would do the trick. But I had more leftover baking soda/soap paste, so I figured why not try it on the dollhouse floors. Especially since whoever built it, used contact paper for the flooring and walls.

I’m not gonna lie, I was partly horrified/fascinated when I tried the cleaning paste on the hallway/staircase area first.

Well this was totally unexpected.

Well this was totally unexpected.

I thought the darkish brown floor was the color of the contact paper. Not contact paper + god knows how many years of accumulated dust  and grime.

With a long sigh, I donned a new face mask and starting cleaning. I used a damp paper towel to apply/lightly scrub the cleaning paste on the floors. Then used a dampened kitchen sponge to wipe away the residue until the floors didn’t feel gritty to the touch. Think this took about a good 2 hours…but all the floors are now clean.

Man...yeah, TOTALLY unexpected.

Man…yeah, TOTALLY unexpected.

As for the walls and ceiling, I did do a wipe down with damp paper towels (then followed with a wipe down with dry ones). I’m a little nervous about the walls because actual wallpaper was used. And there was a little part of me that was worried about damaging them. Which would mean figuring out how to replace the wallpaper. Not like I can find exact matches at my local stores and what not. 😦

The good news though is that it looks like the first floor walls are okay. I might need to trim or reglue any corners that are not sticking to the walls. But that’s not a big deal. The upper bedrooms however, were pretty grimy. And the wirings for the lights are so damaged, I’m starting to consider removing them and opting not attempting to restore them.

Anyone have any advice on vintage dollhouses? Should I look at replacing wallpaper and possibly flooring? Or just leave it as is, torn wallpaper and all? Given this is my first “vintage” dollhouse, I’m seriously torn.