Green Ear Tips

Green ear can be treated but is rarely totally removed. Bubblecut dolls tend to respond better than Ponytail dolls. Swirl Ponytails and Fashion Queens have been the most resistant to treatment. 

It is best to buy a doll that only has a minimal amount around the earring holes. This will allow you to treat the doll and hide any remaining issues with a safe, replacement earring. Dolls that have had the green spread to their chins, lips, neck are always going to show some discoloration.

Please keep in mind that there are no guarantees and some collectors have experienced issues using some of the treatments detailed on this page. Please proceed with caution when using any products on your dolls.

The most effective treatment we have used is CLR. CLR can be bought at Wal-mart, Target, Kmart and many grocery stores and is sold with the other household cleaners. It is great at reducing the amount of green ear. It is a good idea to first clean the ear both from inside and outside the head with rubbing alcohol. This will take off any surface green and dirt.  

Then, use a q-tip to apply CLR to the ear at least twice a day. Remove the head so you can also apply the treatment inside the head. You may have to do the treatments for weeks (or even months in some cases) but you will see an improvement within days. You can also choose to immerse the head in CLR. You just need to fill a plastic or glass container which has a lid (like a pickle jar) with enough CLR to cover the area and close the container. Every few days, check on the progress and add additional CLR if needed. After you are done with treatment, you can clean the area with soap and water.

You can also buy Remove-Zit from Twin Pines. This product will also lighten the green but must be used with great care. If it applied to an area with paint, it will remove the paint. To learn more about the product, please visit:

Some people have used other products like Tarn-X. We do not recommend the use of Tarn-X as it does tend to discolor the ear after treatment. It leave the area a dark color which is very difficult to remove but can be lightened with Remove-Zit.

Others use acne medicine (with benzoyl peroxide) and sunlight. This treatment is not as successful as CLR in our experience. You apply the acne medicine to the ear for a day or so and expose the area to sunlight. After repeated treatments, it can lighten green ear.

Caution:  It is not recommended that you mix treatments. It can cause chemical reactions.

Clothing Repairs

Vintage clothing should be handled with great care. The dyes used were not made to be washed and if water is applied the colors may run. The value of any item that has been washed or repaired is reduced.

The easiest issue to fix is totally white clothes that have yellowed, like wedding gowns and Ken shirts. We have had great success using a Clorox Bleach Pen to treat small areas which have yellowed. Allow the bleach to stay on the area for 1-2 hours hours and then hand wash thoroughly with warm water. You need to monitor the clothing carefully as some fabrics are more fragile than others and need the bleach removed more quickly.

We recommend you place clothing items on a mannequin or doll body while drying so they keep their shape.

Hair Styling

Sometimes even Barbie has a bad hair day. You can help her restore her beauty. Frizzy hair can be fixed with a shampoo and conditioning treatment. We use Dove or Pantene products to clean and condition the hair. You many need to do multiple treatments to repair frizziness or to get out the styling gel Mattel uses to hold hairstyles in place.

The best hairbrush for Barbie actually belongs to your pet. Use a cat or dog flea comb to brush her hair after the treatment when the hair is still wet. You will be amazed how soft and smooth the hair is once it dries.

Want curls? You can use perm rods or cut up straws to curl Barbies hair. Once you have it set the way you like, dip her head in boiling hot water to set the curls. Before you dip, please remember to remove the pot from the burner once it reaches the correct temperature.

This doll had totally straight hair before curls were added using small perm rods. A little hairspray was added after the styling to hold the curls in place. The best elastics to use to hold styles are actually dental bands.

Want straight hair instead of curls or waves? Boiling water works for this too. Insert the head in the boiling temperature water for 1-2 minutes and then brush it straight using a pet comb.

Hair Color

How about a new color? Maurine Atkinson has provided a tutorial for customizing Barbie's hair color and given us permission to to post her instructions.


  • Doll with light colored hair
  • Plastic bag
  • 1 packet of RIT powder dye
  • Paintbrush
  • Shallow Plastic Container
  • Rags
  • Instructions:

    1. Rinse hair in water and allow to dry completely.

    2. Enclose nude doll in a plastic bag up to neck. Tie with knot around neck and by feet.

    3. Cover area where you will be working and have rags handy. I also suggest wearing an apron and gloves.

    4. Add 1 packet of RIT dye to 1 cup of boiling water. Stir to dissolve dye.

    5. Holding doll upside down, dip hair into dye bath. Be careful not to dip doll too far in or forehead will be dyed. If you get dye on doll, wipe clean with a rag.

    6. Use a paintbrush to "paint" dye onto hair, particularly near scalp.

    7. Continue until hair is desired color.

    8. Rest doll on countertop with head hanging over sink. Place empty plastic container under head to catch drips. Allow hair to dry.

    9. Once hair is dry, rinse in cool water. Allow to dry.

    10. If you have color on forehead, try removing with acetone-free nail polish remover.

    Enjoy your "new" doll


    Before picture:After pictures:


    Cleaning Bodies and Removing Marks

    Many times vintage dolls have been discolored by dirt. You can remove even the thoughest dirt using the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Some people also soak dolls in a mixture of Dawn and water and then use a soft toothbrush to remove the remaining dirt. You can also make a paste with Ajax or Comet to clean dolls. 

    Acne treatment with benzoyl peroxide can also be used to remove marks on the doll from dye transfer from the clothes or shoes. Apply the cream and let the doll sit in the sun for one to two days. Then wash off the dried cream and reapply. Continue treatment until the mark has faded.

    Remove-Zit works well at removing marks that are too stubborn for Mr. Clean. Dye transfer is easily removed using the product. It may take several treatments but it does a good job of removing stray marks. It has also successfully removed staining from where improper red paint was used to redo the lips on a vintage doll and bled into the vinyl. You have to be very careful to avoid areas with paint as it will remove the paint. We have also heard that some collectors had issues when using the product on TNT bodies and the vintage Taiwan bodies. It tends to work best on the harder Barbie or Barbie/Midge bodies of Ponytails, Bubblecuts and Fashion Queens.