My tone of preference seems to be medium, and my Mom's collection of dolls consists of 90% dark-skinned Addy-molds. We get a lot of TLC dolls (either for our own collections or to restore and give away to little girls who need a doll), so I've had the opportunity to use oxy-cream on so many dolls that I can't count them anymore. The various photos in this entry have been taken over the last year or more, since I've been trying to collect pictures from various treatments to use in this entry. These will show the effects of oxy-cream on multiple dolls and shades of vinyl -- not just from one doll or one treatment.
Wash Before You Cream
If you choose to purchase the regular Magic Eraser sponges, be sure not to mistakenly pick up the box of "added Dawn" detergent sponges. Did that once, and those things make a foamy mess and don't help your doll! Stick to the plain ones.
Choosing the Right Oxy-Cream
Now that your doll is cleaned, it's time to talk about cream. First, you want to select your Oxy Cream. I use two different kinds -- Dollar General store brand and Kroger store brand. (Kroger is our local grocery chain.) I like to have both on hand, because the DG cream is very thick and the Kroger cream is very runny. Sometimes, when you need to cream an area very close to an eye or on the tip of finger, it's easier and safer to use the thick cream. If you're working on a larger area, the thinner stuff is better, since you can spread out an even layer.
Believe it or not, since starting to write this entry, the Dollar General brand has gotten very hard to find in our area. Hopefully, that's just do to poor shipments. However, in the meantime, all of the DG stores are now carrying a brand called Natureplex (shown in photo at left). This is $1.75 to $2.00 a tube at all of our local stores, which makes it a really great deal. It's the thinner consistency, just like the Kroger brand. To give it a fair try, I have used it on the TM #45 head shown in the following paragraph, and it worked fabulously. You can't beat the price, either!
How to Treat a Doll with Oxy-Cream
If you have any warm weather with some sun, it will work fastest to place the doll/limbs outside in the sun. I usually take an empty box out, lay the limbs on a towel on the box. If your doll is still all in one piece, then be sure to cover all areas of her that don't have cream with another light-coloured towel. If you have her head on (or are working with a head that still has the wig on it), you want to make sure to cover any areas of her face and hair that are not being creamed. If this is a real TLC head, or a large area of the face is being creamed, then you may not be able to cover the hair. I've had to do this many times and not had any trouble with wigs being ruined . . . but I always cover them in the plastic wrap, as well as the face.
If you live somewhere where it is cold or has already cooled off for the season, you can also try laying your doll in a window where sun comes in. This could take longer, but I've been successful with that method as well! Just wrap the cream in the plastic wrap and leave it on for three or four days, putting your doll in the window as much of the day as possible. If your weather is already cool enough (or not sunny enough) to put the doll outside, then you won't have to worry about her heating up too much inside in a window. You can just leave her there all day for several days.
When you're ready to take the cream off, you will just remove the plastic wrap. The cream will have dried on there a bit, so I always need warm water to get it off. It's also good to wash the area that had the cream with a little baking soda paste, as you want to get it all off. (As I mentioned before, there will be a "pale" area under the cream. Don't freak out. Keep reading to find out more about this and see photos.)
If the stain is not totally gone, you can always repeat this process. If there is only the faint hint of a stain, you might consider leaving it alone for a week or so. Often, the cream will continue its work down in the vinyl, and the stain will fade away on its own. My sister and I creamed Mom's Nellie doll who had been put in a red dress by her previous owner. Consequently, her arms had what looked like a bad case of sunburn. We were able to put her outside for a couple of hours on two consecutive afternoons, but then a nine-day rainy season arrived, so Nellie was inside the house. We had washed the cream off, and there was still red on her arms. We decided to wait for a sunny day, but after the nine days --- when we went back to put more cream on Nellie --- those arms looked perfect! That cream had continued its work, and she's never needed anything more.
What's that bleached spot under the oxy-cream?!
Some STUBBORN Stains
The first photo shows the original stain, after I had washed the leg. Then, you can see the oxy-cream applied to the leg and covered in plastic wrap (that's a thick layer of cream). The third picture shows it after more than ten hours in the sun over the course of a week. I kept putting this leg in the sun for more than three months in the Summer, and by October there was a faint bruise left. We don't get a lot of sun here and very cold Winter weather, so I waited until last Spring to put it out again. It took another week of cream treatments before it finally gave up and disappeared! So, just keep on at it!