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Care and Feeding of your Polly Pockets
 
Many visitors to Only Polly Pocket would like to know how to repair, clean and generally care for their little treasures.  We have certain methods that we use (we have listed a few here and will add more) and we have received suggestions from many visitors so we have compiled that information here.  If you have approaches that you use to keep Polly comfortable and happy, please share them with us!  If you have a question that isn't answered here, please share that with us also!

We are particularly interested in hearing from anyone who has learned to repair non-operational light or music without damage to the sets

 
Repairs
 
  • Polly won't stand up

    • When the connection at Polly's waist has worn and she falls over when you try to stand her up, try fabric glue.  We use Aleene's Flexible Stretchable Fabric Glue which can be purchased at a craft store in the aisle where you find supplies for applying decor to T-shirts.  Bend Polly in half at the waist, apply a TINY amount to the shaft, then bend Polly back and forth a few times to get the glue all around the shaft.  Lie her on a piece of paper until the glue is dry.  The glue dries transparent and flexible!

    • Sometimes, Polly's base has been damaged and she stands crooked or not at all.  Level the base with VERY fine sandpaper (no rougher than 600 grit) and GENTLY smooth the base until your figure will stand properly.  You can also use this method to smooth edges that cause Polly not to bend.  Of course, great care must be used to avoid the paint. We have cut a tiny piece of the sandpaper and Super-Glued it to the end of a plastic toothpick...tends to give more control.

    • A visitor to the site offers another solution to "floppy" Pollys (Thank you!)  I've found a nice solution to my polly that was always falling forward. Just take a sewing needle with a thin thread. Go around the hinge on one side with the thread two or three times (going through Polly's middle opening), then knot it and cut close to the knot. If it's not enough to make her stand straight on her own, do the same on the other side, it will also have her legs more "centered". The thread is compressible enough to allow movement yet will make enough pressure that she stands straight. It's reversible: easy to take off the wire later with a sharp blade if you want

  • Polly's paint is damaged

    • This is tricky and you may even need to be a bit of an artist!  We have purchased a set of model airplane paints. Using a flat piece of hard plastic and a plastic toothpick, mix a color that matches the color to be repaired (how good is your eye?)  You will need to let the paint dry to be certain it is a match to the color to be repaired.  Using a single hair paintbrush (available at art supply stores) dot just a bit on the unpainted area on the shaft where your doll bends or on the unpainted bottom of the base.  (The BEST solution here is if you have a damaged doll that you don't care about...use it to test the color then compare to the doll to be repaired).  Once you have matched the color, use the single hair paintbrush and repair the damage, smoothly applying only the minimum amount of paint necessary.  Repairing a paint-damaged face DOES take a bit of artistry and a steady hand.  This method is also worthy of mention for wear to painted houses and sets also, for example the street edge of Pollyville buildings.

  • Inkpads have dried up (thanks to a visitor for this tip!)

    • Stampin' School, Babysitting Stamper, etc. may just need a couple of drops of water on the inkpads to soften them and renew the ink.  However, should you need to re-ink them, be sure to buy child-safe, washable ink.  You can get different colors at a craft store (where fancy rubber stamps are sold) or, there are stores that specialize in rubber stamps and carry inks.  Be sure to apply a drop at a time until the stamp pad is usable...you don't want it sopping or it will be too messy to make a nice impression with the stampers.  You can also make your own:  Mix 1 tsp. alcohol, 5 Tbsp Glycerin and powdered clothes dye (but, REMEMBER that the clothes dye is probably not washable) Mix dye with alcohol to the consistency of thin cream. Add glycerin. Stir until well blended. This makes enough to replenish a stamp pad several times. Drip ink on the stamp pad until just moist.

    • Hint from a visitor:  When you are going to the store to buy ink, dampen your finger, press it on the ink pad then on a piece of paper.  You will have a sample of the color you want to match!

    • Just got a fun tip from a visitor!  "I just won a school playset on ebay &amp; it was in very good condition. I used a drop of food coloring to reink and scented the colors with peppermint (on the green) and almond (on the red). It turned out beautiful smells great too.<br />
      Going to gift it to my girl for valentines day :)"  Love the idea of putting a scent in the pads!

  • Battery operation not working  (thanks to a visitor for this tip!)

    • I am Angelica. I've bought some Polly sets that use batteries. When they have not worked, my husband has sprayed the cell area with WD40. He says it rids the toy of humidity and any acid that is left on the coils from bleeding batteries. All my lighted PP's are in the best working order.  Thank you so much, Angelica!

  • Turntables won't spin freely (thanks to a visitor for this tip!)

    • When the turntable (spinning footplate, e.g. in the foyer in 1994 Magical Mansion) won't turn freely, dust a tiny amount of talc on it and then blow it gently into the works.  Gently work it a bit and then it should spin just fine.

  • Battery connections rusty or not connecting (possibly why lights won't work?) (more thanks to a visitor for this tip!)

    • Use some very fine sandpaper or an emery board to gently rub the battery connectors

     

  • Creaking hinges

  • Some of the sets have hinges that sound like a haunted house door!  The Pencil Case (1990) and the Starshine Palace (1996) are particularly bad.  We've found that a few little squirts of WD-40 is great for solving this annoying sound.  Spray in and around the hinge.  It is oily so try to use just what you need and then tidy up a bit afterwards.

 
Cleaning
 
  • The flocked figures are soiled

    • Place your figures in the toe of a sheer nylon stocking (pantyhose to you youngsters ).  Using a bowl, put a couple of drops of Woolite, or other gentle soap, in some lukewarm water and swish the figures in it.  Remove the figures from the stocking and CAREFULLY blot dry with a tissue (paper toweling is too rough and will damage the flocking) then set the figure on a paper towel until thoroughly dry.  Depending on how soiled they are, you may need to repeat the process but wait until they have dried and STOP immediately if you notice any flocking damage.

    • Visitor Tip:  Use your own shampoo - apply it, then let it sit for about 20 minutes. Rinse under running water thoroughly. Repeat if necessary. I had some really grody ones that came almost clean by using this method :) Thank you!

  • You purchased a group of sets and they are filthy

    • IF they do not have stickers (wallpaper, rugs, pictures, etc.), music, batteries or other features that can be damaged by water, we have put them in a short cycle in the dishwasher being ABSOLUTELY certain that there is no heat.  For sets that cannot be washed in water, we use a piece of terrycloth with alcohol on the outside of the set.  For those tiny areas that are hard to reach, we use alcohol on a Q-Tip.  Depending on how stuck the dirt is, compressed air is also a good way to get into those tiny places.  One visitor uses a toothpick with a bit of cotton on the end.

    • Rubber stamps that are covered in ink:  Bluebird had the foresight to use washable ink so we just wash these in plain water.  If they are especially bad, we soak them in a bowl of lukewarm water and a mild, non-allergenic dish soap, then rinse thoroughly in lukewarm water.

    • Ink from the stamps pads has gotten all over the inside of the set:  we use an alcohol-soaked Q-Tip to clean all around, then a clean one to sop up the ink-stained alcohol.  You may need to repeat the process until all the ink has been cleaned off.  We haven't found a method for getting the ink off stickers that are in the set, for example, wallpaper!

    • FROM OUR BULLETIN BOARD:  I get a lot of my sets from local car boot sales ( swap meets ) due to this most of the time they are very dirty, I find using a fine painting brush with soapy water cleans them very well, try to place them onto paper towels to dry, its does take some time but worth it in the end. Dawn

    • Another Visitor Tip!:  I've been cleaning quite a few mucky Polly sets of late, and have found the best tools are a cup of water with washing up liquid added, a large supply of cotton wool buds (Q-Tips) and also a toothbrush. The latter works well where there is a textured surface, eg roof or floor - gets in all the little nooks and crannies! Thank you!!

    • A tip of the hat to another Visitor tip:  I have found that baby wipes work really well for cleaning almost anything. They are very gentle and the liquid evaporates quickly eliminating drying time and rubbing things dry.  If the space is small, you can tear off a piece and wrap it around a toothpick and get into almost any corner. mp

    • Here are some more great cleaning tips from a visitor...THANK YOU!!   I have found that using a tiny toothbrush...one of those your dentist gives you for in between your teeth...works the best for cleaning Polly's homes.  To remove sticky labels and things just use warm water and rub gently with a q-tip. I went to a car-boot sale and brought some Pollys in a bag and they were quite gritty so I brought them home and tried to clean them.  The dirt wouldn't come off so I used coke... I put my Pollys in a bottle with coke and shook it, the tiny air bubbles break off the dirt without damaging Polly Pocket, bicarbonate of soda and antacids dropped in coke will make it fizz up more if the Pollys are really dirty.

    • Another visitor figured this one out:  To clean alkaline based battery acid (duracell, energizer, etc, the AAs, AAAs, etc.) I used lemon juice on cotton swabs/q-tips and I wore dishwashing gloves to keep my hands safe. Take out the old batteries and dispose of them, and then if you can scrape any of the acid off easily, like when there are giant flakes, just scrape them off as well into the trash, and don't touch it! Have your gloves on the whole time! Then, take a q-tip with lemon juice on it and swab the acidy areas. I saturated the q-tip quite well to get heavily acid soiled areas, and it took it right off (with some fun fizzing sounds as well!). All of my previously acid-leaked on Polly houses and compacts look practically new now!
       

  • Polly needs a bath

    • You'll want to use great care bathing Polly.  Her paint is very fragile so NO rubbing.  We have found that the safest method is a Q-tip dipped in alcohol, then just let her dry or use a dry Q-tip to dry her off, GENTLY.  We have had dolls that a previous owner has used with Play-Doh and it has gotten into all the indentations.  It takes great patience to clean this.  You will use a pin or needle and VERY carefully scrape it away being extremely careful not to touch the paint.  When you have gotten as much off as possible with the needle, use an alcohol-dipped Q-tip to clean away the rest.  If someone has a faster/better method to do this, we'd love to hear it.

    • Visitor Tip:  I think letting the doll soak for a few hours helped soften it, and it was pretty easy to get off with a wooden toothpick. I wouldn't recommend a needle. The toothpick was touchy enough.  Thank you!  NOTE:  We don't like to soak Polly Pocket, her paint is very fragile...while we agree that a needle is very scary, our wooden toothpick kept breaking!

  • There is a sticker on your set

    • Sometimes well-meaning people put price or name labels on the sets.  These are so hard to remove and scraping them off WILL damage the plastic.  Safe for the plastic, we use a product called B'laster E-Z Take-Away! Sticker Remover.  Put a few drops on the label and gently rub it around to wet the entire sticker.  Let it sit for a few minutes until the label is saturated then rub gently with your terrycloth.  Stubborn labels will require repeating the process.

    • A visitor has recommended a product called Goo Gone and indicates that it is available at most "giant merchandise stores".  Suspect that would be Wal-Mart, Target, etc.

  • A child's name has been put on the bottom of a set in black marker

    • Persistence is the name of the game here   We put alcohol on our terrycloth and rub and rub...it takes time and elbow grease but eventually we get it off.  In fact, most non-invasive marks on sets can be removed this way.  Do NOT use nail polish remover...we tried that

  • The ink from your rubber stamp set (Babysitting Stamper, Stampin' School) has gotten on the wallpaper

    • A Visitor to the site has offered this solution:  I purchased a Polly Pocket from a Garage sale that had been colored in marker. I used WD40 and a Q-tip and gently removed most of the marker off the set. There was a little staining still on the sticker so I used soft scrub (with bleach) and a Q-tip and very gently wiped away the staining. My Polly Pocket House is now marker free . Hope this helps.

    • Another visitor tip for removing those stubborn ink stains:  Reference ink stains to include magic marker, common hair spray is an effective solution to remove ink from objects. Be sure to wash the surface after a treatment to remove the hair spray residue which might be sticky and attract dust or dirt if not removed.

 
Care
 
  • Sunlight

    • Exposure to sunlight is one of Polly's greatest enemies.  All of you have seen the effects of this in badly faded sets.  Many collectors have even been overjoyed to think they have discovered a new variation only to discover that a set has been discolored by the sun.  By the way, to check for this, examine the entire hinge...you will usually find a different color somewhere in that area if the set has been sun-damaged.   Of course, there are many places to check for discoloration.

  • Closing your sets

    • Always make sure that your Polly and her friends, pets and accessories are comfortable and that their arms and legs are inside the set.  This will prevent broken limbs (and the Children's Hospital is so hard to get, you may not have a place to get them well!), chipped paint and Polly "bruises", those unsightly white spots where there is fatigue in the plastic. 

    • NEVER try to force a set closed.  If you feel résistance when you try to close the set, re-arrange your figures or see if a moving piece, such as an arch, is in the way.  A good example is Glitter Island (1995) which will not close properly unless held upside down with the hammock held back toward the hut. 

  • Handling your dolls

    • Always pick up your dolls by the base or the sides of their heads.  The paint on the faces seems to be very fragile so holding your dolls with your fingers on their faces will shorten the life span of their eyes, noses and mouths.

    • Never force a doll to bend at the waist.  If you are having trouble getting her to bend then the plastic at the joint has probably been damaged and you will need to use care to bend her or, if you can see what is causing the problem, use the sandpaper solution under repairs.

  • Keeping your sets dust-free

    • It isn't necessary to wash your sets when they are on display and get dusty.  Most stores like Target or Wal-mart carry compressed air in a spray can.  It comes with a "straw" that can be inserted in the sprayer and gets the dust out of all of the little nooks and crannies.  Be sure to follow the use instructions on the label.

  • Lost Dolls

    • We mitigate doll loss by keeping dolls with each set.  Each set has its own little plastic bag with the number of pieces that should be with the set written on the bag.  When the girls are finished playing, they must be sure that each bag contains the number of pieces that is written on the bag.  They don't necessarily have the right items with the right set but at least we know everything is present.  This helped them with their counting skills when they were very young, as well.

 

Only Polly Pocket images and text are for PERSONAL  use only.  This site is protected  under United States Copyright Laws and may not be copied or  reproduced in ANY  form without express written consent of the site owner.  Due to recent blatant disregard for our rights and efforts, we have retained counsel and WILL pursue violations of our copyright

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Polly Pocket is owned, patented, trademarked and copyrighted by Bluebird Toys, Ltd., Origin Products, Ltd., Mattel, Inc. and Mattel U.K. Limited.  Nothing on this site is intended to infringe on those rights nor is this site affiliated in any manner with those companies.

Please be advised that Polly Pocket toys contain small pieces and may not be appropriate for small children.