How To Properly Store Antique German Porcelain Dolls

If you are a collector of porcelain dolls that were produced in Germany in the late 1800's through the early 1900's, it is important to understand the correct way to clean, pack and store them before placing them in a storage unit. These fragile antique dolls can be easily broken if extreme care is not taken when preparing them for storage.  

Preparing The Dolls

An important first step of preparing the dolls for storage is to clean them before packing them up. Dust and dirt on the surface of antique German porcelain dolls can turn into stains when left on porcelain for an extended amount of time.

To remove dust from the porcelain body, clothes and hair, use a can of compressed air to blow off the dust. Place the nozzle of the can three inches from the doll and depress the spray button in successive, short motions.

After blowing off the dust, use a soft, dampened cloth to wipe off the porcelain surfaces of the doll. If there are smudges of dirt and grime on the porcelain, use a small amount of water, mild soap and a cotton ball to clean them off. Do not saturate the cotton ball with water, as it could easily run or drip into the hair and damage the glue that attaches the hair.

Place the cleaned dolls in a safe area where they can air dry. Make sure the doll is completely dry before proceeding to the next step.

Packing The Dolls

Purchase acid-free tissue paper for packing up collectible German dolls. As regular tissue paper ages, it becomes weakened and acidic. If the acid comes into contact with the dolls, it can leave a stain. During production, manufacturers of acid-free tissue paper eliminate the substances that cause the acidity.

Wrap a sheet of acid-free tissue paper around the body of each doll and then wrap a separate piece around the head and hair. Before placing the wrapping around each doll, smooth out the clothing so the fabric does not wrinkle while in storage.

Place each tissue-wrapped doll with its head facing down in its own box. Storing porcelain dolls facing upward can cause the eyes to fall down into the head due to the weight of the eyes and gravity.

After placing each doll in a separate box, carefully position all of the boxes in a larger box. Double boxing the dolls adds to the safety of the dolls and the convenience of transporting and storing the dolls.  

Refrain from using plastic totes to store antique German porcelain dolls. These containers can trap moisture and cause mold and mildew growth on the dolls.

Storing The Dolls

Never place the box that is holding the porcelain dolls directly on the floor of the storage unit. The dampness of the floor can damage the bottom of the box, and ultimately, the dolls. Place the box of porcelain dolls on top of a sturdy box, on a durable shelf or on the top of a wooden or plastic pallet on the floor.

Do not put any other boxes or stored items on top of the box that contains the antique porcelain dolls. The weight of the contents of another box can easily crush the box and break the dolls.

Consider renting a climate controlled storage unit for your antique porcelain dolls. These types of units remain a constant temperature throughout the year and they have low humidity. Prolonged exposure to fluctuating temperatures and high humidity can cause fragile porcelain to crack.

By following the steps above, you can keep your antique German porcelain doll collection safe from damage while in storage. Contact a company that offers self storage units, like North Star Mini Storage, to ask about their available unit sizes and rates.