Are you ready to tackle the tiny messes that can creep into your miniature wonderland? Well, grab your little vacuum (or maybe a magnifying glass) because we’re about to take you on a journey on how to clean a dollhouse and make it shine brighter than a lighthouse on a foggy night.
Let’s dive straight into things!
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How to clean a dollhouse: some preventive measures and keep your minis in perfect condition
To avoid having to clean your dollhouses or dollhouse kits too often, you can do some preventive stuff, like for example:
- Do some Routine Dusting:
You’re working on something, but need a few minutes before you go on, have a soft and non-used paintbrush always there by your side, and gently remove some dust from the exterior of your dollhouse or touch up your ceilings, etc..
Doing this here and there once in a while, avoids you the biggest chores.
- Checking for Loose Parts:
Regularly inspect the dollhouse for any loose or broken parts, such as doors, windows, or miniature accessories. Glue or repair any damaged components to maintain the structural integrity of the dollhouse straight away and don’t leave it like that for too long.
- Preventing Fading:
Over time, direct sunlight can cause colors to fade. If your dollhouse is displayed in a sunny area, consider using UV-protective window film or curtains to shield it from excessive sunlight.
- Monitoring Humidity Levels:
Fluctuations in humidity can affect the materials in your dollhouse. Use a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels and, if necessary, place a small humidity control device within the display area to maintain stable conditions.
- Addressing Stains and Spills:
Accidental spills or stains need to be addressed promptly with miniature-sized cleaning tools, such as tiny brushes, sponges, and mild soap. Be gentle to avoid damaging the miniatures.
- Rotating Miniatures:
If your dollhouse features movable miniatures or scenes, consider changing the arrangements periodically to prevent excessive wear and tear on specific areas.
- Documentation and Inventory:
If you have a very expensive dollhouse, a large collection, or a vintage piece to take care of; a detailed inventory (including pictures) of your dollhouse miniatures and accessories is an absolute necessity. This can help you keep track of items and ensure that nothing goes missing.
- A small and finished miniature kit can be kept behind glass in a display case behind glass, or why not just store in it your bookcase, but cover it with a thin, see-through plastic sheet, attached to the bookcase with velcro if you don’t want to use glass?
In this case, no dust can come through in the first place.
By incorporating these regular maintenance practices into your dollhouse care routine, you can keep your miniature masterpiece in top condition and enjoy it for years to come.
How to clean a dollhouse: explanation for the different scales and materials.
We are splitting up the different scales for dollhouses and miniatures and how to clean them because this can have other things to consider.
1: Cleaning 1:6 and 1:12 Scale Dollhouses
But some basics are quite the same, my way:
- Step 1: Remove dust or even cobwebs from the exterior walls and rooftops.
I don’t know if this is the correct first step to take, but it is what I do myself.
If shingles are very dusty, I tend to not rub on them hard with a cloth, but rather a dry paintbrush and brush off the dust gently.
Microfiber cleaning cloths work very well as well to remove dust but tend to not reach corners that very well, so a very soft paintbrush it is.
- Step 2: Take All Furniture and accessories Out of the House and clean them.
I take out the furniture one by one and tend to clean them at the same time. Others take everything out and then clean all one by one. I don’t think the one method is better than the order, it is just a matter of preference.
For wooden pieces, I dust off with a soft cloth or in combination with a soft paintbrush, for plastic pieces, you could even use wet wipes for babies or glass lens- cleaners.
If your house is very elaborate with miniature furniture and you wouldn’t know anymore where everything goes after you cleaned all of it, you can take pictures beforehand, so you can visually see where everything was.
Now is the time for any cleaning of rugs, tablecloths, curtains, and fabrics attached to dollhouse furniture, like upholstery, etc.
I tend to not use soap, just plain water to get rid of the dust, but only if by doing this you don’t damage the fabrics!
Cleaning upholstery can be slightly done with a light wet soft cloth, but not to wet or drown the fabric in it, it will start to deform, shrink, or even get moldy. It needs to be able to dry out easily!
- Step 3: clean the interior roof and walls.
Now, depending on the materials used, this part can get a bit tricky. If it is totally wooden or plastic, you can easily just wipe it off with a damp cloth or brush it down.
If however there is wallpaper, I wouldn’t use anything wet at all, as you might wipe off pieces of the wallpaper. If getting in corners seems too hard with a cloth, or using a paintbrush takes too long, you could try using a very soft toothbrush to brush off the walls, so you can reach those corners more easily.
- step 4: Remove any hard to dust lighting
If removing the dust from miniature lights like chandeliers, is hard to do like that, because it moves too much, for example, it is time to remove it, if you still can, and clean it with a paintbrush step by step.
Now is the time to also dust off any other hard-to-reach spots in the dollhouse.
- Step 5: Clean the floors.
If you would have cleaned the floors first, and only the the ceilings, any dust or debris might get back on the floors, so keep those latter for the last step, this includes any staircases in the dollhouse.
- 6. Place everything back in the dollhouse!
Here’s the fun part, just put everything back and who knows, you might find out that the way you place your furniture and decorations back, looks much better than before!
Hints and tricks on how to clean a dollhouse.
- Dust Furniture & Accessories With Microfiber Lens Cleaner Cleaning Cloths
These cloths help grab dust particles more effectively.
- Use Paint Brushes to Dust Hard-to-Reach Spots
Paint brushes, available in various sizes, are invaluable for detailed cleaning and reach small spaces that your hands can’t.
- Cleaning the Landscaping
For dollhouses with landscaping, consider using compressed air or a light-duty vacuum with a hose attachment to remove dust and debris. There are even tiny vacuum toys for keyboards, how cute haha!
- Consider Whether You Should Add Protective Sealants
Depending on how easy cleaning was, you might consider applying a clear finishing wax or lemon/orange oil to protect wood surfaces from future dust accumulation. (only possible for wooden dollhouses)
Personal preference and the materials used should guide your decision.
- Address Any Musty or Mildew Smells Immediately!
Deal with unusual smells promptly to prevent them from worsening.
Ensure your dollhouse is not in a place prone to moisture damage.
Use odor-absorbing charcoal packs to reduce and prevent smells.
- Consider buying a Protective Case
To reduce dust in your dollhouse, consider placing it inside a large display case or attaching a plexiglass door to protect interior items from collecting dust. This is especially helpful if you prefer not to frequently clean items due to redecorating.
- Cleaning Windows and Glass Surfaces:
If your dollhouse has miniature windows or glass surfaces, use a tiny amount of glass cleaner and a soft, lint-free cloth to clean them. Avoid using excessive moisture to prevent damage to the dollhouse materials.
- How to clean a miniature rug?
The way that I would personally clean a mini rug is exactly the same as I would clean a large one, meaning:
– Start by vacuuming the miniature rug or blowing the dust from it with an air-duster for keyboards.
– slightly moisturize a piece of cloth and wipe off the miniature rug gently.
==> some people drench their miniature rugs in water and soap, but it is up to you to do that, I don’t think it would be worth it, as it can get deformed, but thats my opinion only.
Challenges regarding cleaning 1:24 scale dollhouses, 1:48 scale dollhouses and smaller.
In 1:24 scale and tiny scales, spaces become even more confined, making it challenging to access nooks and crannies where dust can accumulate. Using very fine and delicate cleaning tools is crucial.
Miniatures in these scales often have incredibly intricate details that can be easily damaged and are fragile. Cleaning them requires extreme care and attention to prevent breakage or distortion.
Excessive cleaning and handling of these can lead to wear and tear. Minimize the need for frequent cleaning by implementing preventive measures like display cases or protective barriers, as explained above.
Consider using specialized tools like microbrushes and compressed air for precision cleaning. Other ideas for tools to use to clean these tiny miniature kits and minis are keyboard cleaning tools, pipe cleaners, or just regular cotton swabs.
I have seen people say that they just use a hairblower, you might give that a try!
Patience and a steady hand are your best allies! Especially for extremely small miniatures, like on a scale of 1:144. Take your time to ensure thorough cleaning without causing harm to the miniatures.
How to clean a very dirty dollhouse that has been stached somewhere in a garage or moldy area?
Now, for a very dirty dollhouse that has been somewhere in a moldy and dusty place for a long time, you should take some more precautions, like using gloves and a facemask, to protect yourself from bacteria, etc.
But BEWARE: if mold is already too deep into the structure of the dollhouse, please do not try to save it, as mold particles are a health hazard for you and for your child!
The way to do this is explained in the video below by DIrty Dolls House Den (what’s in a name haha)
How often should you clean your dollhouse?
Personally, I remove a little bit of dust once a week or in between when I’m crafting. A very thorough cleaning up like described above, I try not to do all too often, as this might damage very small scale furniture or delicate furniture like my fairy chairs and fairy kitchen for my treehouse.
A deep clean happens about once every three months, where I remove everything, take off the lights that are removable, lightly blow the roof, etc..
I try to use as little water or damp clots as possible, except when it somehow gets stained.
I have read that curators from museums dust off the dollhouses once a week or once every ten days.
My Final Conclusion
I hope that you found everything you wanted to know about how to clean a dollhouse, but if you have any more questions, please feel free to ask them down below in the comment section.
You can also join (one of) my social media channels below and share your work (if you want to) or ask the community any questions in my cozy Facebook group.
I wish you happy crafting!
My name is Lizzy, and I am an amateur miniaturist obsessed with everything in the dollhouse and miniature world, ever since I was a teenager.
I love to write as well about all things happening in the miniature world, hence the reason why I created this blog!
I wish you happy reading and crafting!